“Writers write what they can. The act of writing is a function that becomes effective only if it allows one to express one’s inner self. A writer feels several kinds of constraints—literary constraints such as the number of lines in a sonnet or the rules of classical tragedy. These are part of the structure of the work within which the personality of the writer is free to express itself. But then there are social constraints such as religious, ethical, philosophical, and political duties. These cannot be imposed directly on the work but must be filtered through the writer’s inner self. Only if they are part of the innermost personality of the writer can they find their place in the work without suffocating it.”
—Italo Calvino, The Art of Fiction No. 130
Photo Credit Sophie Bassouls/Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis

“Writers write what they can. The act of writing is a function that becomes effective only if it allows one to express one’s inner self. A writer feels several kinds of constraints—literary constraints such as the number of lines in a sonnet or the rules of classical tragedy. These are part of the structure of the work within which the personality of the writer is free to express itself. But then there are social constraints such as religious, ethical, philosophical, and political duties. These cannot be imposed directly on the work but must be filtered through the writer’s inner self. Only if they are part of the innermost personality of the writer can they find their place in the work without suffocating it.”

Italo Calvino, The Art of Fiction No. 130

Photo Credit Sophie Bassouls/Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis

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