Quotes by Laura Z. Hobson on Writing and Humanity

Laura Z. Hobson

Laura Z. Hobson grew up on Long Island raised by parents who fled czarist Russia. She started her career writing for Time, Life and Fortune magazines until she became a full-time novelist with the publication of Gentlemen’s Agreement, the classic novel of “polite” antisemitism in post-World War II America. Hobson studied at Cornell University, was a single mother of two sons, and wrote novels based on her life experiences and observations. Here’s a selection of quotes by Laura Z. Hobson, displaying her wisdom on humanity in general and her writing life in particular.

“I grew up in an agnostic broad-minded family. I think of myself as a plain human being who happens to be an American.”

“Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.”

“I think of myself as a plain human being who happens to be an American.”

“I think that, in almost all human beings, there is buried a profound tribal instinct that makes us very susceptible to being aroused to patriotic fervor.”

“Someday, I have no doubt, the dead from today’s wars will be seen with a similar sense of sorrow at needless loss and folly as those millions of men who lie in the cemeteries of France and Belgium – and tens of millions of Americans will feel a similar revulsion for the politicians and generals who were so spendthrift with others’ lives.”

“I rewrite everything, almost idiotically. I rewrite and work and work, and rewrite and rewrite some more.”

Laura Z. Hobson

Learn more about Laura Z. Hobson

“I’ve told youngsters not to write their autobiographical novel at the age of twenty-one; to save it for the time when they’re fifty-one or sixty-one. They should write other novels first, to learn their craft; they shouldn’t cut their teeth on the valuable material of childhood because they’ll never have better material, ever, to work with.”

“Why didn’t children ever see that they could damage and harm their parents as much as parents could damage and harm children?”

“Writers talk about the agony of writing; I talk about the agony of not writing.”

“I’ve often heard it said that to a novelist, nothing is ever lost, that every scrap of his or her past life somehow finds its way to a future use, large or small, in some piece or work,  perhaps half a century in the future.”

“The Z is for Zametkin, my maiden name, and I have clung to it through all my years, because it held my identity in tact before that Anglo-Saxon married name of Hobson.”

Gentleman's Agreement 1947 movie poster

Hobson’s most famous book, Gentleman’s Agreement,
was made into the even more famous 1947 film

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