“Reason is a fine thing, but it is not the only thing available to a writer. It's just part of the arsenal of many things available to a storyteller. Revelation, for example.” – Mark Helprin
Born on this date in 1947 (my own birth year), Helprin has a broad resume’. He is not only a novelist and journalist but also a conservative commentator, Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. While Helprin's fictional works straddle a number of disparate genres and styles, he has stated that he "belongs to no literary school, movement, tendency, or trend.”
The child of two artists – his father was a well-known film industry leader and his mother a stage actress – Helprin was born in Manhattan, studied at both Harvard and Princeton, and simultaneously became a statesman and writer with his non-fiction writing
focused on conservative causes. His commentary has been called “biting,” and in debates he often gains the upper hand by not saying anything. “Well-timed silence,” he noted, “is the most commanding expression.”
On the “creative” side, he has won numerous awards and his book Winter’s Tale has often been cited as “the single best work published in the past 25 years.”
As writers, he said, “We create nothing new—no one has ever imagined a new color—so what you are doing is revitalizing. You are remembering, then combining, altering. Artists who think they're creating new worlds are simply creating tiny versions of this world."
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