Tag Archives: Stacy Schiff

The knowability of the human heart

One of my Ten Commandments for biographers in This Long Pursuit is ‘Thou shalt be Humble about it, for it demonstrates that we can never know, or write, the Last Word about the Human Heart’.

Richard Holmes , interview in The Paris Review, Winter 2017

Biography is not systematic. It doesn’t always  qualify as art and never qualifies as science. At its centre is something unknowable and inaccessible, the human heart.

Stacy Schiff, interview in The Paris Review, Winter 2017

Henry James’ words “Never say you know the last word about any human heart” . . .  is the antidote to any tendency we might have to think we can really know other people, that we can sum them up, define them, be certain about who or what they are. They are always more than we know. Just as we are always more than we know. For we are more than our means to know gives us to know. Howard Cooper  (from here)

Leave a Comment

Filed under the unknown