There are events which are so great that if a writer has participated in them his obligation is to write truly rather than assume the presumption of altering them with invention.
Best Quotes about Literature
Literature flourishes best when it is half trade and half an art.
Inge, Dean William R.
Nothing could be more inappropriate to American literature than its English source since the Americans are not British in sensibility.
Literature is the orchestration of platitudes.
The party of God and the party of Literature have more in common than either will admit; their texts may conflict, but their bigotries coincide. Both insist on being the sole custodians of the true word and its only interpreters.
Literature is a toil and a snare, a curse that bites deep.
Lawrence, D. H.
The truth is that literature, particularly fiction, is not the pure medium we sometimes assume it to be. Response to it is affected by things other than its own intrinsic quality; by a curiosity or lack of it about the people it deals with, their outlook, their way of life.
A losing trade, I assure you, sir: literature is a drug.
A great number of the disappointments and mishaps of the troubled world are the direct result of literature and the allied arts. It is our belief that no human being who devotes his life and energy to the manufacture of fantasies can be anything but fundamentally inadequate
The art of letters will come to an end before A.D. 2000. I shall survive as a curiosity.
The atmosphere of orthodoxy is always damaging to prose, and above all it is completely ruinous to the novel, the most anarchical of all forms of literature.
Literature, as a field of glory, is an arena where a tomb may be more easily found than laurels; and as a means of support, it is the chance of chances.
Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason.
Literature could be said to be a sort of disciplined technique for arousing certain emotions.
As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible.
Only two classes of books are of universal appeal. The very best and the very worst.
Ford, Ford Madox
By and large the literature of a democracy will never exhibit the order, regularity, skill, and art characteristic of aristocratic literature; formal qualities will be neglected or actually despised. The style will often be strange, incorrect, overburdened, and loose, and almost always strong and bold. Writers will be more anxious to work quickly than to perfect details. Short works will be commoner than long books, wit than erudition, imagination than depth. There will be a rude and untutored vigor of thought with great variety and singular fecundity. Authors will strive to astonish more than to please, and to stir passions rather than to charm taste.
Tocqueville, Alexis De
The thing that teases the mind over and over for years, and at last gets itself put down rightly on paper -- whether little or great, it belongs to Literature.
Jewett, Sarah Orne
All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.
A people's literature is the great textbook for real knowledge of them. The writings of the day show the quality of the people as no historical reconstruction can.
When politicians and politically minded people pay too much attention to literature, it is a bad sign -- a bad sign mostly for literature. But it is also a bad sign when they don't want to hear the word mentioned.
In literature, as in love, we are astonished at the choice made by other people.
There is an incompatibility between literary creation and political activity.
Llosa, Mario Vargas
The decline in literature indicates a decline in the nation. The two keep pace in their downward tendency.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von
Of course the illusion of art is to make one believe that great literature is very close to life, but exactly the opposite is true. Life is amorphous, literature is formal.
What is not in the open street is false, derived, that is to say, literature.
English literature is a kind of training in social ethics. English trains you to handle a body of information in a way that is conducive to action.
What makes literature interesting is that it does not survive its translation. The characters in a novel are made out of the sentences. That's what their substance is.
Literature is the expression of a feeling of deprivation, a recourse against a sense of something missing. But the contrary is also true: language is what makes us human. It is a recourse against the meaningless noise and silence of nature and history.
Literature is without proofs. By which it must be understood that it cannot prove, not only what it says, but even that it is worth the trouble of saying it.
In the electronic age, books, words and reading are not likely to remain sufficiently authoritative and central to knowledge to justify literature.
Literature is a defense against the attacks of life. It says to life: You can't deceive me. I know your habits, foresee and enjoy watching all your reactions, and steal your secret by involving you in cunning obstructions that halt your normal flow.
All you can be sure about in a political-minded writer is that if his work should last you will have to skip the politics when you read it. Many of the so-called politically enlisted writers change their politics frequently . Perhaps it can be respected as a form of the pursuit of happiness.
Literature is not exhaustible, for the sufficient and simple reason that a single book is not. A book is not an isolated entity: it is a narration, an axis of innumerable narrations. One literature differs from another, either before or after it, not so much because of the text as for the manner in which it is read.
Borges, Jorge Luis
Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.
Only the more rugged mortals should attempt to keep up with current literature.
How has the human spirit ever survived the terrific literature with which it has had to contend?
It is the story-teller's task to elicit sympathy and a measure of understanding for those who lie outside the boundaries of State approval.
That is a very good question. I don't know the answer. But can you tell me the name of a classical Greek shoemaker?
Literature exists at the same time in the modes of error and truth; it both betrays and obeys its own mode of being.
Man, Paul De
The artist is of no importance. Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said. Shakespeare, Balzac, Homer have all written about the same things, and if they had lived one thousand or two thousand years longer, the publishers wouldn't have needed anyone since.
The pure work implies the disappearance of the poet as speaker, who hands over to the words.
Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose. The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac.
If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.
Despair, feeding, as it always does, on phantasmagoria, is imperturbably leading literature to the rejection, en masse, of all divine and social laws, towards practical and theoretical evil.
Lautreamont, Isidore Ducasse, Comte De
The only privilege literature deserves -- and this privilege it requires in order to exist -- is the privilege of being in the arena of discourse, the place where the struggle of our languages can be acted out.
To provoke dreams of terror in the slumber of prosperity has become the moral duty of literature.
Literature... is condemned (or privileged) to be forever the most rigorous and, consequently, the most reliable of terms in which man names and transforms himself.
Man, Paul De
Great literature cannot grow from a neglected or impoverished soil. Only if we actually tend or care will it transpire that every hundred years or so we might get a Middlemarch.
James, P. D.
The function of literature, through all its mutations, has been to make us aware of the particularity of selves, and the high authority of the self in its quarrel with its society and its culture. Literature is in that sense subversive.
Literature must become party literature. Down with unpartisan litterateurs! Down with the superman of literature! Literature must become a part of the general cause of the proletariat.
Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich
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