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For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into words or books.Herman Melville More
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The self-styled intellectual who is impotent with pen and ink hungers to write history with sword and blood.Eric Hoffer More
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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.Northrop Frye More
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Literature that is not the breath of contemporary society, that dares not transmit the pains and fears of that society, that does not warn in time against threatening moral and social dangers -- such literature does not deserve the name of literature; it is only a fa?ade. Such literature loses the confidence of its own people, and its published works are used as wastepaper instead of being read.Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn More
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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.George Orwell More
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If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble.Jean-Paul Sartre More
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Leisure without literature is death and burial alive.Seneca the Younger More
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In literature the ambition of the novice is to acquire the literary language: the struggle of the adept is to get rid of it.George Bernard Shaw More
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The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
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Perversity is the muse of modern literature.Susan Sontag More
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Remarks are not literature.Gertrude Stein More
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How has the human spirit ever survived the terrific literature with which it has had to contend?
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Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart.
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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.
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The existence of good bad literature --the fact that one can be amused or excited or even moved by a book that one's intellect simply refuses to take seriously --is a reminder that art is not the same thing as cerebration.George Orwell More
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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.Cesare Pavese More
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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.Octavio Paz More
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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!Luigi Pirandello More
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Literature is news that stays news.
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If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.
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Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.
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Literature does not exist in a vacuum. Writers as such have a definite social function exactly proportional to their ability as writers. This is their main use.
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The art of letters will come to an end before A.D. 2000. I shall survive as a curiosity.
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Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.Jules Renard More
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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.
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As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible.
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Nothing could be more inappropriate to American literature than its English source since the Americans are not British in sensibility.
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“His [Ben Okri’s] work poses very serious questions for the twenty-first century. Among them: To what extent will we allow the indefinable dynamics of something called "destiny" to maintain grief and horror in the world? How hard are human beings willing to fight to achieve and sustain justice, equanimity, or joy? And should progress be called such when it devours what is best within the human spirit?”
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“By striving so mightily to accomplish specific goals on behalf of one segment of humanity, she [Toni Morrison] went beyond them to create literary wonders capable of enriching the lives of not just her own people, but of all people.”
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“In strong, yet accessible, imagery Aberjhani captures moments and events in life that are instantly recognizable by all of us. He is the kind of writer that makes all readers want to be writers.” --from 2000 Savannah Literary Journal
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“Aberjhani's voice should be heard around the world. He is an extraordinarily gifted writer whose words are more than inspirational, intriguing, and eloquent ... they are poetry in motion.”Reginald V. Johnson More
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“Aberjhani's writing blows the mind and frees the psyche of any rigid assumptions about ancestral heritage. Here, our collective experience is starkly rendered. The transparency of one culture overlays another, and another, to form the daguerreotype of possibilities that is homo sapiens, interacting, almost like the elements themselves, with the created world and modified only by context and its imperatives.”-- from Circles and ArcsRosy Cole More
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“The act of writing itself is much like the construction of a mirror made of words. Looking at certain illuminated corners of or cracks within the mirror, the author can see fragments of an objective reality that comprise the physical universe, social communities, political dynamics, and other facets of human existence. Looking in certain other corners of the same mirror, he or she may experience glimpses of a True Self sheltered deftly behind a mask of public proprieties.”
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“Literary genres and techniques tend to take form in one's mind somewhat the way computer templates provide form for different computer tasks.”
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“When reading about what may be described as the lesser celebrated heroic figures of the Harlem Renaissance, we rarely get a definitive look at just how complicated and sometimes dangerous their everyday lives were. In fact, until the past ten years, many defined the period primarily by its well-known literary, musical, and artistic elements while overlooking the fact there was any political component to it at all.”
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“The enemy, clearly, was the fanged nightmare–– of famine, of war and racism, of rape and terrorism… that walked in human skin while chomping human heads.”
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"The literary artist lends verbal depth to the visual. The visual artist provides visible articulation for the literary."
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“Sociologically, politically, psychologically, spiritually, it was never enough for him [James Baldwin] to categorize himself as one thing or the other: not just black, not just sexual, not just American, nor even just as a world-class literary artist. He embraced the whole of life the way the sun’s gravitational passion embraces everything from the smallest wandering comet to the largest looming planet. He both confronted and cultivated creative vision with a drive, passion, and brilliance that few have matched, and simply being able to watch his genius sparkle from one sentence to the next could generate both awe and revelation.”
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"Overall, my books represent a kind of shared communion and meditation with my fellow human beings… The books are also a part of what I call the great continuum of spiritual literary dialogue that I feel has been in progress since human beings first gave in to the urge to pray to their sense of something greater than themselves and interpreted certain signs or events or silences as responses to those prayers."
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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.Alexis de Tocqueville More
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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.
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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.
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Literature is the human activity that make the fullest and most precise account of variousness, possibility, complexity, and difficulty.
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I have never known a novel that was good enough to be good in spite of its being adapted to the author's political views.Edith Wharton More
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Anybody can write a three-volume novel. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature.
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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.
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Literature is the orchestration of platitudes.Thornton Wilder More
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A good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in not out.Virginia Woolf More
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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 thatVirginia Woolf More
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