Dining out is a vice, a dissipation of spirit punished by remorse. We eat, drink, and talk a little too much, abuse all our friends, belch out our literary preferences and are egged on by accomplices in the audience to acts of mental exhibitionism. Such evenings cannot fail to diminish those who take part in them. They end on Monkey Hill.
The refractory pupil of Socrates, Aristippus the Cyrene, who believed happiness to be the sum of particular pleasures and golden moments and not, as Epicurus, a prolonged intermediary state between ecstasy and pain.
Flaubert spoke true: to succeed a great artist must have both character and fanaticism and few in this country are willing to pay the price. Our writers have either no personality and therefore no style or a false personality and therefore a bad style; they mistake prejudice for energy and accept the sensation of material well-being as a system of thought.
A writer is in danger of allowing his talent to dull who lets more than a year go past without finding himself in his rightful place of composition, the small single unluxurious retreat of the twentieth century, the hotel bedroom.