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literature The Best Quotes About Literature  

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A list of the best literature quotes and sayings, including the names of each speaker or author when available. This list is sorted by popularity, so only the most famous literature quotes are at the top. The authors of these historic literature quotes are displayed next to each quote, so if you see one you like be sure to check out other inspirational literature quotes from that same writer.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best quotes about literature?" and "What are inspirational literature quotes?"

This list includes notable literature quotes by various authors, writers, playwrights, speakers, politicians, athletes, poets, and more. Vote on your favorites so that the greatest literature quotes rise to the top, as the order of the list changes dynamically based on votes. Don't let your favorite literature sayings get to the bottom of the list.

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For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into words or books. Herman Melville

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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

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The decline in literature indicates a decline in the nation. The two keep pace in their downward tendency. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Leisure without literature is death and burial alive. Seneca the Younger

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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. Salman Rushdie

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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

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If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble. Jean-Paul Sartre

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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. Oscar Wilde

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The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. Oscar Wilde

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Anybody can write a three-volume novel. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature. Oscar Wilde

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If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays. Ezra Pound

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Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book-friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness. Helen Keller

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michaelj72 added A good book is an event in my life. - Stendhal

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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

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Literature is news that stays news. Ezra Pound

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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

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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. Lionel Trilling

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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

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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. Salman Rushdie

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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. Salman Rushdie

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Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree. Ezra Pound

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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. Ezra Pound

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The art of letters will come to an end before A.D. 2000. I shall survive as a curiosity. Ezra Pound

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Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. Jules Renard

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How has the human spirit ever survived the terrific literature with which it has had to contend? Wallace Stevens

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As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible. Wallace Stevens

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Nothing could be more inappropriate to American literature than its English source since the Americans are not British in sensibility. Wallace Stevens

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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

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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 Arcs Rosy Cole

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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.” Aberjhani

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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.” Aberjhani

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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.” Aberjhani

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"The literary artist lends verbal depth to the visual. The visual artist provides visible articulation for the literary." Aberjhani

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"It’s a good thing that he [John Galsworthy] and those who answered his call in the twentieth century have given the rest of us tilling fields in the twenty-first century a 90-year head start." Aberjhani

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michaelj72 added Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry. - Cassandra Clare

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michaelj72 added That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

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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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“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.” Aberjhani

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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

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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.” Aberjhani

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Literature is the human activity that make the fullest and most precise account of variousness, possibility, complexity, and difficulty. Lionel Trilling

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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

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Literature is the orchestration of platitudes. Thornton Wilder

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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

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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 that Virginia Woolf

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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." Aberjhani