As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible.
Best Quotes about Literature
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.
In the present age, alas! our pens are ravished by unlettered authors and unmannered critics, that make a havoc rather than a building, a wilderness rather than a garden. But, a lack! what boots it to drop tears upon the preterit?
A good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on.
Lichtenberg, Georg C.
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.
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
Only two classes of books are of universal appeal. The very best and the very worst.
Ford, Ford Madox
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.
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.
The decline in literature indicates a decline in the nation. The two keep pace in their downward tendency.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von
The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.
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.
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
What is not in the open street is false, derived, that is to say, literature.
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.
Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.
Henry James seems most entirely in his element, doing that is to say what everything favors his doing, when it is a question of recollection. The mellow light which swims over the past, the beauty which suffuses even the commonest little figures of that
Whoever has the luck to be born a character can laugh even at death. Because a character will never die! A man will die, a writer, the instrument of creation: but what he has created will never die!
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
Already the writers are complaining that there is too much freedom. They need some pressure. The worse your daily life, the better your art. If you have to be careful because of oppression and censorship, this pressure produces diamonds.
The rest, called literature, is a dossier of human imbecility for the guidance of future professors.
Literature is the orchestration of platitudes.
Literature is analysis after the event.
Literature transforms and intensifies ordinary language, deviates systematically from everyday speech. If you approach me at a bus stop and murmur Thou still unravished bride of quietness, then I am instantly aware that I am in the presence of the literary.
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.
In the electronic age, books, words and reading are not likely to remain sufficiently authoritative and central to knowledge to justify literature.
One learns little more about a man from his feats of literary memory than from the feats of his alimentary canal.
Colby, Frank Moore
It is not the first duty of the novelist to provide blueprints for insurrection, or uplifting tales of successful resistance for the benefit of the opposition. The naming of what is there is what is important.
The liveliness of literature lies in its exceptionality, in being the individual, idiosyncratic vision of one human being, in which, to our delight and great surprise, we may find our own vision reflected.
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.
To provoke dreams of terror in the slumber of prosperity has become the moral duty of literature.
Any historian of the literature of the modern age will take virtually for granted the adversary intention, the actually subversive intention, that characterizes modern writing -- he will perceive its clear purpose of detaching the reader from the habits of thought and feeling that the larger culture imposes, of giving him a ground and a vantage point from which to judge and condemn, and perhaps revise, the culture that produces him.
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.
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
In literature, as in love, we are astonished at the choice made by other people.
The present era grabs everything that was ever written in order to transform it into films, TV programs; or cartoons. What is essential in a novel is precisely what can only be expressed in a novel, and so every adaptation contains nothing but the non-essential. If a person is still crazy enough to write novels nowadays and wants to protect them, he has to write them in such a way that they cannot be adapted, in other words, in such a way that they cannot be retold.
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.
Now a writer can make himself a nice career while he is alive by espousing a political cause, working for it, making a profession of believing in it, and if it wins he will be very well placed. All politics is a matter of working hard without reward, or with a living wage for a time, in the hope of booty later. A man can be a Fascist or a Communist and if his outfit gets in he can get to be an ambassador or have a million copies of his books printed by the Government or any of the other rewards the boys dream about.
There is a great discovery still to be made in literature, that of paying literary men by the quantity they do not write.
The struggle of literature is in fact a struggle to escape from the confines of language; it stretches out from the utmost limits of what can be said; what stirs literature is the call and attraction of what is not in the dictionary.
As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible.
In literature the ambition of the novice is to acquire the literary language: the struggle of the adept is to get rid of it.
Shaw, George Bernard
I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions.
If the most significant characteristic of man is the complex of biological needs he shares with all members of his species, then the best lives for the writer to observe are those in which the role of natural necessity is clearest, namely, the lives of the very poor.
Auden, W. H.
In our day the conventional element in literature is elaborately disguised by a law of copyright pretending that every work of art is an invention distinctive enough to be patented.
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.
Just as it is true that a stream cannot rise above its source, so it is true that a national literature cannot rise above the moral level of the social conditions of the people from whom it derives its inspiration.
That is a very good question. I don't know the answer. But can you tell me the name of a classical Greek shoemaker?
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.
Do not worry about the incarnation of ideas. If you are a poet, your works will contain them without your knowledge -- they will be both moral and national if you follow your inspiration freely.
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