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Matthew Cheney

Matthew Cheney's Public Library

Apr 17, 16

A writer can’t help being political, even if she simply goes along with the uninterrogated cultural assumptions of her day. Obviously I think it’s better to be consciously aware of the political origin of your ingrained attitudes; but I also think this core material should be handled with some restraint by the text. Your arguments shouldn’t appear on the surface but infect the whole, from setting to characterisation to imagery and on. Your logic should be poetic, ironic, quietly self-aware. Your metaphors should underlie, they should be the geomorphology that constructs every textual landform. They should emerge organically from the events you describe, like the product of relations at an earlier level. Above all, your politics must intricate themselves with the product of your deep imagination–your own deepest strata–because unless fantasy and science fiction originate down there, they are worthless as social, imaginative or even entertainment product. That’s my feeling. The best work neither shows nor tells: it says by being, not by saying.

Mar 22, 16

The Moroccan ambassador to Elizabethan London who has striking similarities to Shakespeare’s noble Moor

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