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- "The writer probably knows what he meant when he wrote a book, but he should immediately forget what he meant when he's written it."
- Simple: A writer should forget what he meant in a book after he writes it.
- About the quote: Quoted in John Haffenden, ed., Novelists in Interview, (1985)
- "Basically I'm an optimist. Intellectually I can see man's balance is about fifty-fifty, and his chances of blowing himself up are about one to one. I can't see this any way but intellectually. I'm just emotionally unable to believe that he will do this. This means that I am by nature an optimist and by intellectual conviction a pessimist, I suppose."
- About the quote: Interview with James Keating, Purdue University, 1962-05-10, printed in Lord of the Flies: The Casebook Edition (1964)