I once asked a distinguished artist what place he gave to labor in art. "Labor," he in effect said, "is the beginning, the middle, and the end of art." Turning then to another--"And you," I inquired, "what do you consider as the great force in art?" "Love," he replied. In their two answers I found but one truth.
If today's arts love the machine, technology and organization, if they aspire to precision and reject anything vague and dreamy, this implies an instinctive repudiation of chaos and a longing to find the form appropriate to our times.
THE NAME OF THE WIND has everything fantasy readers like, magic and mysteries and ancient evil, but it's also humorous and terrifying and completely believable. As with all the very best books in our field, it's not the fantasy trappings (wonderful as they are) that make this novel so good, but what the author has to say about true, common things, about ambition and failure, art, love, and loss.
Like art, love, and pornography, noir is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. For the purposes of the book and my longtime working understanding and definition of it, noir stories are bleak, existential, alienated, pessimistic tales about losers--people who are so morally challenged that they cannot help but bring about their own ruin.
Feelings aroused by the touch of someones hand, the sound of music, the smell of a flower, a beautiful sunset, a work of art, love, laughter, hope and faith - all work on both the unconscious and the conscious aspects of the self, and they have physiological consequences as well.
That is what is wrong with cold people. Not that they have ice in their souls - we all have a bit of that - but that they insist every word and deed mirror that ice. They never learn the beauty or value of gesture. The emotional necessity. For them, it is all honesty before kindness, truth before art. Love is art, not truth. It's like painting scenery.
When all my endeavor is turned toward Thee because all Thy endeavor is turned toward me; when I look unto Thee alone with all my attention, nor ever turn aside the eyes of my mind, because thou dost enfold me with Thy constant regard; when I direct my love toward Thee alone because Thou, who art Love’s self hast turned Thee toward me alone. And what, Lord, is my life, save that embrace wherein Thy delightsome sweetness doth so lovingly enfold me?