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Martin Amis

Geburtstag: 25. August 1949
Andere Namen: Martin Louis Amis

Martin Louis Amis ist ein englischer Schriftsteller. Amis’ Werke setzen sich mit den Exzessen der spätkapitalistischen westlichen Gesellschaften auseinander. Die von ihm erlebte Absurdität überspitzt er häufig in grotesker Karikatur. Die New York Times hat Amis als einen Meister der Neuen Widerwärtigkeit bezeichnet. Zu den Autoren, die Amis beeinflussten, zählen Saul Bellow, Vladimir Nabokov und James Joyce. Amis selber beeinflusste eine Reihe erfolgreicher britischer Autoren, darunter Will Self und Zadie Smith.Zu seinen bekanntesten Werken gehört der Roman Gierig und London Fields . Für seinen ersten Roman The Rachel Papers erhielt er den Somerset Maugham Award. Der Roman wurde unter dem Titel Er? Will! Sie Nicht? von Regisseur Damian Harris mit Dexter Fletcher in der Hauptrolle verfilmt. Für seine Erinnerungen Die Hauptsachen , in denen er sich unter anderem mit der Beziehung zu seinem berühmten Vater, dem Romancier Kingsley Amis auseinandersetzt, wurde er mit dem James Tait Black Memorial Prize ausgezeichnet. Zwei seiner Werke waren für den Booker Prize nominiert – 1991 der Roman Pfeil der Zeit und 2003 der Roman Yellow Dog. 2013 wurde Amis zum Mitglied der American Academy of Arts and Sciences gewählt. Von 2007 bis 2011 hatte er eine Professur für Kreatives Schreiben an der University of Manchester inne. Das US-amerikanische Magazine Time wählte 2005 seinen Roman Gierig zu den besten englischsprachigen Romanen, die zwischen 1923 und 2005 erschienen sind und die britische Zeitung The Times zählte ihn 2008 zu den 50 herausragendsten britischen Schriftstellern seit 1945.In Großbritannien ist Martin Amis auch einem nicht an Literatur interessierten Publikum bekannt: Klatschspalten der britischen Presse beschäftigten sich unter anderem mit dem schwierigen Verhältnis zu seinem Vater Kingsley Amis, der sich nach einer von Martin Amis selbst verbreiteten Anekdote weigerte, den Roman Gierig – immerhin eines seiner erfolgreichsten Werke – zu Ende zu lesen. Die kontroverse Streichung von London Fields von der Liste der Finalisten für den Booker Prize war nach Aussagen von Komitee-Mitglieds David Lodge darauf zurückzuführen, dass zwei Mitglieder des Auswahlkomitees die Darstellung der weiblichen Figuren dieses Romanes entschieden ablehnten. 2008 wurde bekannt, dass Amis für seine Lehrtätigkeit an der University of Manchester ein Jahresgehalt von 80.000 Britischen Pfund bezog – wie von mehreren Zeitungen kommentiert wurde, entsprach dies angesichts der Verpflichtung, 28 Stunden pro Jahr zu unterrichten, einem Stundenlohn von 3000 Britischen Pfund, eine Tatsache, die in einer Reihe von britischen Zeitungen aufgegriffen wurde. Die University of Manchester wehrte sich gegen die Vorwürfe mit dem Hinweis, dass Amis wie jedes andere Mitglied des Lehrkörpers der Universität weitaus mehr Verpflichtungen als reine Lehrtätigkeit hätte. Wikipedia

Werk

Zitate Martin Amis

„Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.“

—  Martin Amis, buch Einstein's Monsters

"Introduction: Thinkability"
Einstein's Monsters (1987)

„Style is not neutral; it gives moral directions.“

—  Martin Amis

Novelists in Interview (1985) edited by John Haffenden

„It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment.“

—  Martin Amis

"Fear and loathing" (2001)
Kontext: It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment. Until then, America thought she was witnessing nothing more serious than the worst aviation disaster in history; now she had a sense of the fantastic vehemence ranged against her.

„A joke is by definition politically incorrect — it assumes a butt, and a certain superiority in the teller. The culture won't put up with that for much longer.“

—  Martin Amis

"Off the Page: Martin Amis" (2003)
Kontext: I'd like to be remembered as someone who kept the comic novel going for another generation or so. I fear the comic novel is in retreat. A joke is by definition politically incorrect — it assumes a butt, and a certain superiority in the teller. The culture won't put up with that for much longer.

„Philip Larkin, a big, fat, bald librarian at the University of Hull, was unquestionably England's unofficial laureate: our best-loved poet since the war“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: Philip Larkin, a big, fat, bald librarian at the University of Hull, was unquestionably England's unofficial laureate: our best-loved poet since the war; better loved for our poet than John Betjeman, who was loved also for his charm, his famous beagle, his patrician Bohemianism and his televisual charisma, all of which Larkin notably lacked.
Ten years later, Larkin is now something like a pariah, or an untouchable.

„The reaction against Larkin has been unprecedentedly violent as well as unprecedentedly hypocritical, tendentious and smug. Its energy does not, could not derive from literature — it derives from ideology, or from the vaguer promptings of a new ethos.“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: The reaction against Larkin has been unprecedentedly violent as well as unprecedentedly hypocritical, tendentious and smug. Its energy does not, could not derive from literature — it derives from ideology, or from the vaguer promptings of a new ethos. … This is critical revisionism in an eye-catching new outfit. The reaction, like most reactions, is just an overreaction, and to get an overreaction you need plenty of overreactors — somebody has to do it. … I remember thinking when I saw the fiery Tom Paulin's opening shot, We're not really going to do this, are we? But the new ethos was already in place, and yes, we really were going to do this — on Paulin's terms, too. His language set the tone for the final assault and mop-up, which came with the publication of Andrew Motion's, Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life. Revolting. Sewer. Such language is essentially unstable. It calls for a contest of the passions and hopes that the fight will get dirty.

„I gave a school speech in which I rejected all belief as an affront to common sense. I was an atheist, and I was 12: it seemed open-and-shut.“

—  Martin Amis

"The voice of the lonely crowd" (2002)
Kontext: My apostasy, at the age of nine, was vehement. Clearly, I didn't want the shared words, the shared identity. I forswore chapel; those Bibles were scribbled on and otherwise desecrated, and two or three of them were taken into the back garden and quietly torched.
Later — we were now in Cambridge — I gave a school speech in which I rejected all belief as an affront to common sense. I was an atheist, and I was 12: it seemed open-and-shut. I had not pondered Kant's rather lenient remark about the crooked timber of humanity, out of which nothing straight is ever built. Nor was I aware that the soul had legitimate needs.
Much more recently I reclassified myself as an agnostic. Atheism, it turns out, is not quite rational either. The sketchiest acquaintance with cosmology will tell you that the universe is not, or is not yet, decipherable by human beings. It will also tell you that the universe is far more bizarre, prodigious and chillingly grand than any doctrine, and that spiritual needs can be met by its contemplation. Belief is otiose; reality is sufficiently awesome as it stands.

„There are two rules of war that have not yet been invalidated by the new world order. The first rule is that the belligerent nation must be fairly sure that its actions will make things better; the second rule is that the belligerent nation must be more or less certain that its actions won't make things worse.“

—  Martin Amis

"The Palace of the End" (2003)
Kontext: There are two rules of war that have not yet been invalidated by the new world order. The first rule is that the belligerent nation must be fairly sure that its actions will make things better; the second rule is that the belligerent nation must be more or less certain that its actions won't make things worse. America could perhaps claim to be satisfying the first rule (while admitting that the improvement may be only local and short term). It cannot begin to satisfy the second.

„Terrorism undermines morality. Then, too, it undermines reason.“

—  Martin Amis

"The Palace of the End" (2003)
Kontext: Like all "acts of terrorism" (easily and unsubjectively defined as organised violence against civilians), September 11 was an attack on morality: we felt a general deficit. Who, on September 10, was expecting by Christmastime to be reading unscandalised editorials in the Herald Tribune about the pros and cons of using torture on captured "enemy combatants"? Who expected Britain to renounce the doctrine of nuclear no-first-use? Terrorism undermines morality. Then, too, it undermines reason. … No, you wouldn't expect such a massive world-historical jolt, which will reverberate for centuries, to be effortlessly absorbed. But the suspicion remains that America is not behaving rationally — that America is behaving like someone still in shock.

„People don't change or improve much, but they do evolve. It is very slow.“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: Feminists have often claimed a moral equivalence for sexual and racial prejudice. There are certain affinities and one or two of these affinities are mildly and paradoxically encouraging. Sexism is like racism: we all feel such impulses. Our parents feel them more strongly than we feel them; our children, we trust, will feel them less strongly than we feel them. People don't change or improve much, but they do evolve. It is very slow.

„Ten years later, Larkin is now something like a pariah, or an untouchable.“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: Philip Larkin, a big, fat, bald librarian at the University of Hull, was unquestionably England's unofficial laureate: our best-loved poet since the war; better loved for our poet than John Betjeman, who was loved also for his charm, his famous beagle, his patrician Bohemianism and his televisual charisma, all of which Larkin notably lacked.
Ten years later, Larkin is now something like a pariah, or an untouchable.

„Larkin the man is separated from us historically by changes in the self. For his generation, you were what you were and that was that. It made you unswervable and adamantine. My father had this quality. I don't. None of us do. There are too many forces at work, there are too many fronts to cover.“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: Larkin the man is separated from us historically by changes in the self. For his generation, you were what you were and that was that. It made you unswervable and adamantine. My father had this quality. I don't. None of us do. There are too many forces at work, there are too many fronts to cover.
Still, a price has to be paid for not caring what others think of you, and Larkin paid it. He couldn't change the cards he was dealt. What poor hands we hold, when we face each other honestly. His poems insist on this helplessness...

„I'd like to be remembered as someone who kept the comic novel going for another generation or so.“

—  Martin Amis

"Off the Page: Martin Amis" (2003)
Kontext: I'd like to be remembered as someone who kept the comic novel going for another generation or so. I fear the comic novel is in retreat. A joke is by definition politically incorrect — it assumes a butt, and a certain superiority in the teller. The culture won't put up with that for much longer.

„His indivisibility judges their hedging and trimming. His honesty judges their watchfulness.“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: A life is one kind of biography and the letters are another kind of life, but the internal story, the true story is in the Collected Poems. The recent attempts by Motion and others to pass judgement on Larkin look awfully green and pale, compared with the self-examinations of the poetry. They think they judge him? No, he judges them. His indivisibility judges their hedging and trimming. His honesty judges their watchfulness.

„It's been said that happiness writes white. It doesn't show up on the page.“

—  Martin Amis

"The Sadistic Muse" - an interview with Laura Miller at salon.com (10 February 1998) http://web.archive.org/web/20000110052318/http://www.salon.com/books/int/1998/02/cov_si_10int.html
Kontext: It's been said that happiness writes white. It doesn't show up on the page. When you're on holiday and writing a letter home to a friend, no one wants a letter that says the food is good and the weather is charming and the accommodations comfortable. You want to hear about lost passports and rat-filled shacks.

„I once wrote, in The Information, that an Englishman wouldn't bother to attend a reading even if the author in question was his favorite living writer, and also his long-lost brother — even if the reading was taking place next door.“

—  Martin Amis

"Off the Page: Martin Amis" (2003)
Kontext: I once wrote, in The Information, that an Englishman wouldn't bother to attend a reading even if the author in question was his favorite living writer, and also his long-lost brother — even if the reading was taking place next door. Whereas Americans go out and do things. But Meeting the Author, for me, is Meeting the Reader. Some of the little exchanges that take place over the signing table I find very fortifying: they make up for some of the other stuff you get.

„In Andrew Motion's book, we have the constant sense that Larkin is somehow falling short of the cloudless emotional health enjoyed by, for instance, Andrew Motion.“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: In Andrew Motion's book, we have the constant sense that Larkin is somehow falling short of the cloudless emotional health enjoyed by, for instance, Andrew Motion. Also the sense, as Motion invokes his like-minded contemporaries, that Larkin is being judged by a newer, cleaner, braver, saner world. … Motion is extremely irritated by Larkin's extreme irritability. He's always complaining that Larkin is always complaining.

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