Jonathan Franzen Quotes

Enjoy the top 376 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Jonathan Franzen.

Jonathan Franzen Quotes

Once there are good sentences on the page, I can feel a loyalty to them and start following their logic, and take refuge from myself.
— Jonathan Franzen —

And when the event, the big change in your life, is simply an insight-isn't that a strange thing? That absolutely nothing changes except that you see things differently and you're less fearful and less anxious and generally stronger as a result: isn't it amazing that a completely invisible thing in your head can feel realer than anything you've experienced before? You see things more clearly and you know that you're seeing them more clearly. And it comes to you that this is what it means to love life, this is all anybody who talks seriously about God is ever talking about. Moments like this.

— Jonathan Franzen

Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart's revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self's own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.

— Jonathan Franzen

She had all day every day to figure out some decent and satisfying way to live, and yet all she ever seemed to get for all her choices and all her freedom was more miserable. The autobiographer is almost forced to the conclusion that she pitied herself for being so free.

— Jonathan Franzen

Our visual cortexes are wired to quickly recognize faces and then quickly subtract massive amounts of detail from them, zeroing in on their essential message: Is this person happy? Angry? Fearful? Individual faces may vary greatly, but a smirk on one is a lot like a smirk on another. Smirks are conceptual, not pictorial. Our brains are like cartoonists - and cartoonists are like our brains, simplifying and exaggerating, subordinating facial detail to abstract comic concepts.

— Jonathan Franzen

My chances with moral vanity," Stephen interrupted, "when the alternative is

— Jonathan Franzen

Google and Accurint can make you feel very smart, but the best stories come when you're out in the field.

— Jonathan Franzen

I think the mission for the writer is to tell stories in a compelling way about the stuff that cannot be talked about, that cannot be gotten at with shallow media.

— Jonathan Franzen

Once there are good sentences on the page, I can feel a loyalty to them and start following their logic, and take refuge from myself.

— Jonathan Franzen

Depression, when it's clinical, is not a metaphor. It runs in families, and it's known to respond to medication and to counseling. However truly you believe there's a sickness to existence that can never be cured, if you're depressed you will sooner or later surrender and say: I just don't want to feel bad anymore. The shift from depressive realism to tragic realism, from being immobilized by darkness to being sustained by it, thus strangely seems to require believing in the possibility of a cure ...

— Jonathan Franzen

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