Men everywhere were living as he had lived. People got their notions of life, if only at second- or third-hand, from books, precisely as he had done. Even Amrou [= 'Amr ibn al-'As] had derived his disastrous notions as to the unimportance of books, from a book. Men pretended laboriously that their own lives were like the purposeful and clearly motived life of book-land. In secret, the more perspicacious cherished the reflection that, anyhow, their lives would begin to be like that to-morrow. The purblind majority quite honestly believed that literature was meant to mimic human life, and that it did so. And in consequence, their love-affairs, their maxims, their passions, their ethics, their conversations, their so-called natural ties and instincts, and above all, their wickedness, became just so many bungling plagiarisms from something they had read, in a novel or a Bible or a poem or a newspaper.
People progressed from the kindergarten to the cemetery assuming that their emotion at every crisis was what books taught them was the appropriate emotion, and without noticing that it was in reality something quite different. Human life was a distorting tarnished mirror held up to literature: this much at least of Wilde's old paradox - that life mimicked art - was indisputable. Human life, very clumsily, tried to reproduce the printed word.
(См. также цитату, которую я приводил раньше.)