Without art, he insists, shirking no personal or collective horrors, we do not know ourselves or anyone else. Only art penetrates what pride, passion, intelligence and habit erect on all sides - the seeming realities of this world. There is another reality, the genuine one, which we lose sight of. This other reality is always sending us hints, which, without art, we can't receive. Proust calls these hints our "true impressions." The true impressions, our persistent intuitions, will, without art, be hidden from us and we will be left with nothing but a "terminology for practical ends which we falsely call life." Tolstoy put the matter in much the same way. A book like his Ivan Ilyitch also describes these same "practical ends" which conceal both life and death from us. In his final sufferings Ivan Ilyitch becomes an individual, a "character", by tearing down the concealments, by seeing through the "practical ends."
—Saul Bellow, Nobel Laureate Speech, p. -1