Literature quotes

From the point of view of literature Mr. Kipling is a genius who drops his aspirates. From the point of view of life, he is a reporter who knows vulgarity better than any one has ever known it.

- Wilde, Oscar

Literary imagination is an aesthetic object offered by a writer to a lover of books.

- Bachelard, Gaston

A reader who quarrels with postulates, who dislikes Hamlet because he does not believe that there are ghosts or that people speak in pentameters, clearly has no business in literature. He cannot distinguish fiction from fact, and belongs in the same category as the people who send checks to radio stations for the relief of suffering heroines in soap operas.

- Frye, Northrop

The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.

- Cocteau, Jean

Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason.

- Gide, Andre

The two World Wars came in part, like much modern literature and art, because men, whose nature is to tire of everything in turn, tired of common sense and civilization.

- Lucan, F. L.

Studying literature at Harvard is like learning about women at the Mayo Clinic.

- Roy Blount Jr.

There is in fact no such thing as art for art's sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause.

- Zedong, Mao

There are only three things to be done with a woman. You can love her, suffer for her, or turn her into literature.

- Durrell, Lawrence

All men are lonely. But sometimes it seems to me that we Americans are the loneliest of all. Our hunger for foreign places and new ways has been with us almost like a national disease. Our literature is stamped with a quality of longing and unrest, and our writers have been great wanderers.

- Mccullers, Carson

Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.

- G. K. Chesterton

Thrift of the heart, thrift of the emotions--how are they wasted in these days in reading sensation novels! while British literature--all that the best hearts and intellects among our forefathers have bequeathed to us--is neglected for light fiction, the reading of which is the worst form of intemperance--dram-drinking and opium-eating, intellectual and moral.

- Lecture on Thrift.

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.

- Belinsky, Vissarion

Professional critics are incapable of distinguishing and appreciating either diamonds in the rough or gold in bars. They are traders, and in literature know only the coins that are current. Their critical lab has scales and weights, but neither crucible or touchstone.

- Joubert, Joseph

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.

- Hemingway, Ernest

Literature nowadays is a trade. . . the successful man of letters is your skillful tradesman. He thinks first and foremost of the markets.

- George Gissing

In science, read by preference the newest works. In literature, read the oldest. The classics are always modern.

- Lytton, Lord Edward

A lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect.

- Scott, Sir Walter

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.

- Trilling, Lionel

In our own time we have seen domination spread over the social landscape to a point where it is beyond all human control. Compared to this stupendous mobilization of materials, of wealth, of human intellect, of human labor for the single goal of domination, all other recent human achievements pale to almost trivial significance. Our art, science, medicine, literature, music and charitable acts seem like mere droppings from a table on which gory feasts on the spoils of conquest have engaged the attention of a system whose appetite for rule is utterly unrestrained.

- Bookchin, Murray

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