Allan Gurganus

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  • Born: June 11, 1947
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Novelist

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After a sound public education, I attended Penn and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. After being drafted into the military and studying Indonesian, I emerged as a writer, not a painter. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Collections collect collectors. It doesn't work the other way around. A certain object misses its own kind and communicates that to some person who surrounds it with rhyming items; these become at first a quorum, then a selective, addictive madness. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
For anybody living out their twenties, Sex and Career remain major topics: being sexy can help give you a career, and having a career can make others finally find you sexier.
Having great friends in New York is like having great friends on an expedition into Darkest Africa in the early 19th century. You need them. And you need sponsorship on a daily basis. I have a painter friend here who says, 'I need two compliments a day just to break even.' And we gave them to each other, and we got them - and honestly got them.
I don't think anybody who has any wisdom regrets a minute of their life, as long as it takes you to the next minute, when things get a little better, and even when it doesn't. Life
I rise at 6. Strong coffee helps me face the paper edition of 'The New York Times.' It daily challenges my own capacity for faking anything deranged enough to sound true. I work till 2 P.M. unless I am in the throes of finishing something. I rewrite to be reread. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I think it's a false distinction to say that conversation and composition are separate. Because even as we speak, I'm seeing. Every interview is different, and I'm finding new ways to talk about ancient preoccupations. And I sometimes come on something that's immensely helpful and valuable. Plus I like the sensation of conversation.
I was 16 before I met another passionate collector. One summer, I visited England; a new friend took me calling on his dotty, brilliant old aunt. She occupied a quaint house in Kent. Its walls were lined with glass-fronted cases full of what? Ancient shoe buckles.
I was born in Rocky Mount, NC. The town of 24,000 proved a great place to spend the first 17 years of life. But, after that, onward, outward. Life
I'm a great admirer of Primo Levi's work. It's always mind-boggling, the idea of how much pain people can endure and still come back from the edge with a sense of humor, with this tremendous animal desire we have to get on with life. Life ;Humor ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
It was 1981. I was working on a novel. And I put that novel aside one day after I read a newspaper article. The story said there were 19 women still on the pension payroll who were Confederate war widows. They were women who very early in their lives had married very old men. Women ;War & Peace
Living in Manhattan opened me to whole new sets of things to envy, study, gather and imagine stealing. A full-size 1809 German harp, beautifully painted with three goddesses, covered in a pea-green coat of great silvery refinement: mine for $180. Though all its strings were broken, its beauty let it claim a quarter of my one - bedroom.
My mother had a master's degree and had been a schoolteacher before she started having kids at 30. But my father's family were landowners, farmer-merchants. Moneymaking was extremely important, like one of those semi-rapacious families in Lillian Hellman, where they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Families, Children & Parenting
People have asked me about the 19th century and how I knew so much about it. And the fact is I really grew up in the 19th century, because North Carolina in the 1950s, the early years of my childhood, was exactly synchronous with North Carolina in the 1850s. And I used every scrap of knowledge that I had. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
People rich enough to redecorate every 10 months are certainly careless with antique furniture. I found four 1760 French side chairs, tapestry seats intact. Claiming them proved easier than persuading any cabdriver to transport the things.
Sometimes the books most restrained about sex, even deeply scandalized by it, can whisper to us with the greatest hidden force. I am a huge admirer of the recently deceased, always underranked Evan S. Connell.
The luckiest person in the world is somebody who is born into a small, shabby-genteel town on a major railway connection with 24,000 souls and a bird sanctuary and whose grandfather owns a farm and whose father owns a business -whose family is mildly prosperous but not rich, which means you can leave the town. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Families, Children & Parenting
'The Practical Heart' was published one week before the World Trade towers collapsed. Book reviewing and all else in our culture stopped dead-still for half a year. I went on the book tour anyway. But I felt like the apostle Paul going unto the catacombs where scared believers hid and prayed.
To shy away from human extremes and human sensuality makes for bone-dry fiction. A world parched of our sexual releases and our tumultuous daily emotional lives is deeply impoverished. It is not lifelike, at least life as I remember living it. Life
When I grew up, there were locked cabinets in public libraries. You needed parental permission if you were under eighteen. I was let down by the overblown reputations of some hardcore fictional works.