Wood: “Have you felt a kind of religious ecstasy in your life?”
Knausgaard: “No, but they say one of the main things about religious ecstasy is a feeling of selflessness–that you yourself disappear. I feel that when I read Dostoyevsky. I can have that feeling. I can just disappear. I don’t know why, and I don’t know what it means. It’s the same thing looking at art. I feel so moved by it, but I don’t know why. And what is that? Is it just emotions? And why should emotions be important, a little movement in your soul? For me, I think I’ve just substituted literature and art for religion. Yes, that is a very conservative, Romantic part of this project. Most contemporary art is completely without that dimension. Anselm Kiefer has it very much. Some do, but I think most art is playing with words and concepts.”
–From an exchange between James Wood and Karl Ove Knausgaard printed in the Paris Review (issue 211)
Have you ever had the experience of losing yourself in a book, yet feeling connected to an invisible otherworldly essence that speaks to your very core?