Top American Literature Quotes

Browse top 31 famous quotes and sayings about American Literature by most favorite authors.

Favorite American Literature Quotes

1. "It is one of the paradoxes of American literature that our writers are forever looking back with love and nostalgia at lives they couldn't wait to leave."
Author: Anatole Broyard
2. "I finally returned to Iran in 1979, when I got my degree in English and American literature, and stayed for 18 years in the Islamic republic."
Author: Azar Nafisi
3. "American literature has never been content to be just one among the many literatures of the Western World. It has always aspired to be the literature not only of a new continent but of a New World."
Author: Christopher Dawson
4. "I've been as bad an influence on American literature as anyone I can think of."
Author: Dashiell Hammett
5. "I have a slightly bad back, which has made an enormous contribution to American literature."
Author: David Eddings
6. "The American classicist Edith Hamilton once described the great works of literature, "the strong fortresses of the spirit which men have built through the ages."
Author: Edith Hamilton
7. "I was always drawn to teachers who made class interesting. In high school, I enjoyed my American and English literature classes because my teachers, Jeanne Dorsey and Dani Barton, created an environment where interaction was important."
Author: Ellen Ochoa
8. "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."
Author: Ernest Hemingway
9. "The women of the South have brought into American literature a unique mixture of domesticity and grotesquerie."
Author: James Dickey
10. "Take a drawing by Matisse, a simple curve of a leg or a shoulder. Is there a basis, at the beginning when he starts drawing his curve? There isn't. This is what I'm trying to say. And that's what comprises the originality of Max Ophuls, which he acquired a little bit at a time, because in Liebelei, in Letter from an Unknown Woman, in his American films, it's not there. It's a freedom that is earned and that is found, that isn't applied. On a basic level, it's neither better nor worse as a way of making a film. But there's something extremely original that we found so satisfying back in the day and that continues to satisfy me now … There's a kind of pure cinema of that era – you might even call it experimental – which has disappeared. There's no literature…not that there's no text or dialogue, but there's no pre-literature.(Jean-Luc Godard in conversation with Marcel Ophuls, 2002)"
Author: Jean Luc Godard
11. "Still, it strikes me that, taken together, they do make an argument, and it is this: the rise of American democracy is bound up with the history of reading and writing, which is one of the reasons the study of American history is inseparable from the study of American literature. In the early United States, literacy rates rose and the price of books and magazines and newspapers fell during the same decades that suffrage was being extended. With everything from constitutions and ballots to almanacs and novels, American wrote and read their way into a political culture inked and stamped and pressed in print."
Author: Jill Lepore
12. "I like contemporary American literature and I like biographies and I like jazz and I like baseball and I like writers who write about the human condition and sci-fi is just something that I happened into."
Author: Jonathan Frakes
13. "One of the great themes in American literature is the individual's confrontation with the vast open spaces of the continent."
Author: Justin Cronin
14. "I spent four years doing a doctorate in postmodern American literature. I can recognize it when I see it."
Author: Kate Atkinson
15. "With some exceptions in science fiction and other genres I have small difficulty in avoiding anything that could be called American literature. I feel it is unnatural, not I think entirely because it uses a language that is not mine, however closely akin to my own."
Author: Kingsley Amis
16. "Our fiction is not merely in flight from the physical data of the actual world…it is, bewilderingly and embarrassingly, a gothic fiction, nonrealistic and negative, sadist and melodramatic – a literature of darkness and the grotesque in a land of light and affirmation…our classic [American] literature is a literature of horror for boys"
Author: Leslie Fielder
17. "Take the time to discover how African-Americans have had a great impact on this country. In science, education, literature, art, and politics."
Author: Lynn Swann
18. "Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations."
Author: Martin Luther King Jr.
19. "Mr Rutger cornet de Groot. Never read any American poetry or any other foreign poetry, which is why he always mentions 2 poets as a reffering point, either Lucebert or Tonnus Oosterhoff. The guy started reading when he was 48 years old with a few library books and was turned instantly in one of the most important critics hired by the fund of literature. Oh well."
Author: Martinus Hendrikus Benders
20. "I do see why Nikki likes the novel, as it's written so well, but her liking it makes me worry now that Nikki doesn't really believe in silver linings. Because she says The Great Gatsby is the greatest novel ever written by an American, and yet it ends so sadly. One thing's for sure. Nikki is going to be very proud of me when I tell her I finally read her favorite book. Here's another surprise: I'm going to read all the novels on her American Literature class syllabus, just to make her proud. To let her know that I am really interested in what she loves."
Author: Matthew Quick
21. "I do wonder why women are always hemorrhaging in American literature.-Pat Peoples"
Author: Matthew Quick
22. "Maya Angelou, the famous African American poet, historian, and civil rights activist who is hailed be many as one of the great voices of contemporary literature, believes a struggle only makes a person stronger."
Author: Michael N. Castle
23. "As often I have been a science fiction writer writing science fiction for the community of science fiction readers, I am also, for good or ill, an American writing American literature to an American audience. Most fundamentally, though, I am a human being writing human literature to a human audience."
Author: Orson Scott Card
24. "For me the poem and the poetry open mic isn't about competition and it never will be. Honestly? It's wrong. The open mic is about 1 poet, one fellow human being up on a stage or behind a podium sharing their work regardless of what form or style they bring to it. In other words? The guy with the low slam score is more than likely a far better poet-writer than the guy who actually won. But who are you? I ? Or really anyone else to judge them? The Poetry Slam has become an overgrown, over used monopoly on American literature and poetry and is now over utilized by the academic & public school establishments. And over the years has sadly become the "McDonalds Of Poetry". We can only hope that the same old stale atmosphere of it all eventually becomes or evolves into something new that translates to and from the written page and that gives new poets with different styles & authentic voices a chance to share their work too."
Author: R.M. Engelhardt
25. "If you want to communicate with the American public, the literature tells you you've got to be talking at about a sixth-grade, seventh-grade level."
Author: Richard Carmona
26. "The first conversation began awkwardly, although Espinoza had been expecting Pelletier's call, as if both men found it difficult to say what sooner or later the would have to say. The first twenty minutes were tragic in tone, with the word fate used ten times and the word friendship twenty-four times. Liz Norton's name was spoken fifty times, nine of them in vain. The word Paris was said seven times, Madrid, eight. The word love was spoken twice, once by each man. The word horror was spoken six times and the word happiness once (by Espinoza). The word solution was said twelve times. The word solipsism seven times. The world euphemism ten times. The word category, in the singular and the plural, nine times. The word structuralism once (Pelletier). The term American literature three times. The words dinner or eating or breakfast or sandwich nineteen times. The words eyes or hands or hair fourteen times. The the conversation proceeded more smoothly."
Author: Roberto Bolaño
27. "'s worth pointing out that [Herman Melville] worked in [the New York Custom House] as a deputy customs inspector between 1866 and 1885. Nineteen years, and he never got a raise - four dollars a day, six days a week. He was by then a washed-up writer, forgotten and poor. I used to find this subject heartbreaking, a waste: the greatest living American author was forced to spend his days writing tariff reports instead of novels. But now, knowing what I know about the sleaze of the New York Custom House, and the honorable if bitter decency with which Melville did his job, I have come to regard literature's loss as the republic's gain. Great writers are a dime a dozen in New York. But an honest customs inspector in the Gilded Age? Unheard of."
Author: Sarah Vowell
28. "Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead."
Author: Sinclair Lewis
29. "No, Margaret Atwood writes literature, whereas I write fiction. I'm from the American Midwest, so literature is beyond my abilities."
Author: Stella Atrium
30. "These self-appointed deacons in the Church of Latter-Day American Literature seem to regard generosity (of words) with suspicion, texture with dislike, and any broad literary stroke with outright hate. The result is a strange and arid literary climate where a meaningless little fingernail paring like Nicholson Baker's Vox becomes an object of fascinated debate and dissection, and a truly ambitious American novel like Matthew's Heart of the Country is all but ignored."
Author: Stephen King
31. "Magic Realism is not new. The label's new, the specific Latin American form of it is new, its modern popularity is new, but it's been around as long as literature has been around."
Author: Terri Windling

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I searched modern fiction and poetry for clues to how we confronted and evaded reality, how we articulated our experience and turned to language not to revel ourselves but to hide. I was as sure then as I am now that by looking at contemporary Iranian fiction I could gain access to a real understanding of political and social events. (p289)"
Author: Azar Nafisi

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