Writers On Writing: Dorothea Brande

‘For most of my adult life I have been engaged in the writing, the editing, or the criticizing of fiction. I took, and still take, the writing of fiction seriously. The importance of novels and short stories in our society is great. Fiction supplies the only philosophy that many readers know; it establishes their ethical, social, and material standards; it confirms them in their prejudices or opens their minds to a wider world. The influence of any widely read book can hardly be overestimated. If it is sensational, shoddy or vulgar our lives are the poorer for the cheap ideals which it sets in circulation; if, as so rarely happens, it is a thoroughly good book, honestly conceived and honestly executed, we are all indebted to it. The movies have not undermined the influence of fiction. On the contrary, they have extended its field, carrying the ideas which are already current among readers to those too young, too impatient, or too uneducated to read.’

Dorothea Brande, Becoming a Writer, pp.19-20, Penguin Putnam, New York, 1981 (1934)