Quotations From SALMAN RUSHDIE


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  • One of the extraordinary things about human events is that the unthinkable becomes thinkable.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1948), Indian-born-British author. Interview in Guardian (London, November 8, 1990).
  • The only privilege literature deserves—and this privilege it requires in order to exist—is the privilege of being in the arena of discourse, the place where the struggle of our languages can be acted out.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1947), Indian-born British author. Herbert Reade Memorial Lecture, February 6, 1990. "Is Nothing Sacred?"
  • Such is the miraculous nature of the future of exiles: what is first uttered in the impotence of an overheated apartment becomes the fate of nations.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1948), Indian-born-British author. "Ayesha," The Satanic Verses (1988). Of the Imam exiled in London.

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  • Names, once they are in common use, quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth's marvels, beneath the dust of habit.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1947), Indian-born British author. "Ayesha," The Satanic Verses (1988).
  • Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems—but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems incredible.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1948), Indian-born British author. "All-India Radio," bk. 2, Midnight's Children (1981).

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  • The acceptance that all that is solid has melted into the air, that reality and morality are not givens but imperfect human constructs, is the point from which fiction begins.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1947), Indian-born-British author. lecture, Feb. 6, 1990, Herbert Reade Memorial. "Is Nothing Sacred?"
  • Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1948), Indian-born-British author. interview in Guardian (London, Nov. 8, 1990).

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  • Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1948), Indian-born-British author. "In Good Faith," Independent on Sunday (London, Feb. 4, 1990).

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  • I make no complaint. I am a writer. I do not accept my condition; I will strive to change it; but I inhabit it, I am trying to learn from it.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1947), Indian-born British author. Independent on Sunday (London, Feb. 4, 1990).

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  • We must conclude that it is not only a particular political ideology that has failed, but the idea that men and women could ever define themselves in terms that exclude their spiritual needs.
    Salman Rushdie (b. 1948), Indian-born British author. Independent (London, Feb. 7, 1990). Said of the changes in Eastern Europe.

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