Top Literature Quotes

Browse top 1212 famous quotes and sayings about Literature by most favorite authors.

Favorite Literature Quotes

1. "A script is not a piece of literature it's a process."
Author: Abel Ferrara
2. "One day after the exams, the teachers sat at their desks correcting papers while the pupils read comics, played chess or cards or talked quietly in groups. Coulter at a desk in front of Thaw turned round and said, "What are ye reading?"Thaw showed a book of critical essays on art and literature.Coulter said accusingly, "You don't read that for fun.""Yes, I read it for fun." "People our age don't read that sort of book for fun. They read it to show they're superior.""But I read this sort of book even when there's nobody around to see me.""That shows you arenae trying to make us think you're superior, you're trying to make yourself think you're superior."
Author: Alasdair Gray
3. "If people aren't creating literature, there would be nothing for people to criticize."
Author: Alistair MacLeod
4. "The revealed and mystic literature of mankind bears ample testimony to the fact that religious experience has been too enduring and dominant in the history of mankind to be rejected as mere illusion. There seems to be no reason, then, to accept the normal level of human experience as fact and reject its other levels as mystical and emotional."
Author: Allama Iqbal
5. "NOVEL, n. A short story padded. A species of composition bearing the same relation to literature that the panorama bears to art. As it is too long to be read at a sitting the impressions made by its successive parts are successively effaced, as in the panorama. Unity, totality of effect, is impossible; for besides the few pages last read all that is carried in mind is the mere plot of what has gone before. To the romance the novel is what photography is to painting. Its distinguishing principle, probability, corresponds to the literal actuality of the photograph and puts it distinctly into the category of reporting; whereas the free wing of the romancer enables him to mount to such altitudes of imagination as he may be fitted to attain; and the first three essentials of the literary art are imagination, imagination and imagination. The art of writing novels, such as it was, is long dead everywhere except in Russia, where it is new. Peace to its ashes — some of which have a large sale."
Author: Ambrose Bierce
6. "When we read, we decide when, where, how long, and about what. One of the few places on earth that it is still possible to experience an instant sense of freedom and privacy is anywhere you open up a good book and begin to read. When we read silently, we are alone with our own thoughts and one other voice. We can take our time, consider, evaluate, and digest what we read—with no commercial interruptions, no emotional music or special effects manipulation. And in spite of the advances in electronic information exchange, the book is still the most important medium for presenting ideas of substance and value, still the only real home of literature."
Author: Andrew Clements
7. "When you kill somebody in the movies, it matters, whereas in literature it can be allegorical."
Author: Barbet Schroeder
8. "Inevitably, people tell me that poor folks are lazy or unintelligent, that they are somehow deserving of their poverty. However, if you begin to look at the sociological literature on poverty, a more complex picture emerges. Poverty and unemployment are part and parcel of our economic order. Without them, capitalism would cease to function effectively, and in order to continue to function, the system itself must produce poverty and an army of underemployed or unemployed people."
Author: Bob Torres
9. "The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery."
Author: Chinua Achebe
10. "I know that for every reader who has lost the habit or can't find the time, there are people who've never enjoyed reading and question the value of literature, either as entertainment or education, or believe that a love of books, and of fiction in particular, is sentimental or frivolous."
Author: David Nicholls
11. "She was a great and insatiable reader, surprisingly well acquainted with the classics of literature, and unexpectedly lavish in the purchase of books. Her neighbours never forgot to mention, in describing her, the awe-inspiring fact that she 'took in the English Times and the Saturday Review, and read every word of them,' but it was hinted that the bookshelves that her own capable hands had put up in her bedroom held a large proportion of works of fiction of a startlingly advanced kind, 'and,' it was generally added in tones of mystery, 'many of them French."
Author: E.Œ. Somerville
12. "Literature is love. I think it went like this: drawings in the cave, sounds in the cave, songs in the cave, songs about us. Later, stories about us. Part of what we always did was have sex and fight about it and break each other's hearts. I guess there's other kinds of love too. Great friendships. Working together. But poetry and novels are lists of our devotions. We love the feel of making the marks as the feelings are rising and falling. Living in literature and love is the best thing there is. You're always home."
Author: Eileen Myles
13. "Violence commands both literature and life, and violence is always crude and distorted."
Author: Ellen Glasgow
14. "My hapless peers with their lofty dreams--how I envy and despise them! I'm with the others, the even more hapless, who have no-one but themselves to whom they can tell their dreams and show what would be verses if they wrote them. I'm with those poor slobs who have no books to show, who have no literature beside their own soul, and who are suffocating to death due to the fact that they exist without having taken that mysterious, transcendental exam that makes one eligible to live."
Author: Fernando Pessoa
15. "It's in literature that true life can be found. It's under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth."
Author: Gao Xingjian
16. "Wilde's permanent celebrity belongs to literature, and only his transient notoriety to police news."
Author: George Bernard Shaw
17. "Many scholars forget, it seems to me, that our enjoyment of the great works of literature depends more upon the depth of our sympathy than upon our understanding. The trouble is that very few of their laborious explanations stick in the memory. The mind drops them as a branch drops its overripe fruit. ... Again and again I ask impatiently, "Why concern myself with these explanations and hypotheses?" They fly hither and thither in my thought like blind birds beating the air with ineffectual wings. I do not mean to object to a thorough knowledge of the famous works we read. I object only to the interminable comments and bewildering criticisms that teach but one thing: there are as many opinions as there are men."
Author: Helen Keller
18. "A man, when he's burning up with passion, wants to see things; he wants to see everything, even how they make water. And while it's all very nice to know that a woman has a mind, literature coming from the cold corpse of a whore is the last thing to be served in bed."
Author: Henry Miller
19. "Jokes of the proper kind, properly told, can do more to enlighten questions of politics, philosophy, and literature than any number of dull arguments."
Author: Isaac Asimov
20. "Good literature can be created only with something that is different from literature."
Author: Italo Calvino
21. "Yet, the principle of uncertainty is a bad name. In science or outside of it, we are not uncertain. Our knowledge is merely confined within a certain tolerance. We should call it the principle of tolerance. First in the engineering sense. Science has progressed, step by step, the most successful enterprise in the ascent of man, because it has understood that the exchange of information between man and nature, and man and man, can only take place with a certain tolerance. But I also use the word, passionately, about the real world. All knowledge, all information, between human beings, can only be exchanged within a play of tolerance, and that's whether it's in science, or in literature, or in religion, or in politics, or in any form of though that aspires to dogma."
Author: Jacob Bronowski
22. "Too many writers are trying to write with too shallow an education. Whether they go to college or not is immaterial...a good writer needs a sense of the history of literature to be successful as a writer."
Author: James Kisner
23. "Literature offers the thrill of minds of great clarity wrestling with the endless problems and delights of being human. To engage with them is to engage with oneself, and the lasting rewards are not confined to specific career paths."
Author: Jonathan Stroud
24. "After reading Edgar Allan Poe. Something the critics have not noticed: a new literary world pointing to the literature of the 20th Century. Scientific miracles, fables on the pattern A+ B, a clear-sighted, sickly literature. No more poetry but analytic fantasy. Something monomaniacal. Things playing a more important part than people; love giving away to deductions and other forms of ideas, style, subject and interest. The basis of the novel transferred from the heart to the head, from the passion to the idea, from the drama to the denouement."
Author: Jules De Goncourt
25. "Literature is that which denounces and slashes apart the repressing machine at the level of the signified."
Author: Kathy Acker
26. "I am about tribal feminine power. As a leader, I may stumble but my essence lives to the future-- of my people, of my literature, of my art. And when a tribesman turn against its leader, that tribe will become two. It may faulter my course, but it will not stifle my ending. I rule only among my believers."
Author: Kristie LeVangie
27. "There is no valid reason for the perennial Christian preference of biography, history, and the newspaper to fiction and poetry. The former tell us what happened, while literature tells us what happens. The example of the Bible, which is central to any attempt to formulate a Christian approach to literature, sanctions the imagination as a valid form of truth. The Bible is in large part a work of imagination. Its most customary way of expressing truth is not the sermon or the theological outline, but the story, the poem, and the vision--all of them literary forms and products of the imagination (though not necessarily the fictional imagination). Literary conventions are present in the Bible from start to finish, even in the most historically factual parts."
Author: Leland Ryken
28. "And more even than the painter, the writer, in order to achieve volume and substance, in order to attain to generality and, so far as literature can, to reality, needs to have seen many churches in order to paint one church and for the portrayal of a single sentiment requires many individuals. For if art is long and life is short, we may on the other hand say that, if inspiration is short, the sentiments which it has to portray are not of much longer duration. It is our passions which draw the outline of our books, the ensuing intervals of repose which write them."
Author: Marcel Proust
29. "Given the devaluation of literature and of the study of foreign languages per se in the United States, as well as the preponderance of theory over text in graduate literature studies, creative writing programs keep literature courses populated."
Author: Marilyn Hacker
30. "High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water."
Author: Mark Twain
31. "It is central to Christian living that we should celebrate the goodness of creation, ponder its present brokenness, and, insofar as we can, celebrate in advance the healing of the world, the new creation itself. Art, music, literature, dance, theater, and many other expressions of human delight and wisdom, can all be explored in new ways."
Author: N. T. Wright
32. "Needless to say, drink, drugs, food, and sex played no part in the festivities. But who needs any of that when you've got literature?"
Author: Nick Hornby
33. "Books. The more I thought about how to stop and get myself back together as one sane, whole person, the more I thought about books. I thought about escape. Not running to escape but reading to escape. Cyril Connolly, twentieth-century writer and critic, wrote that "words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living." That was how I wanted to use books: as an escape back to life. I wanted to engulf myself in books and come up whole again."
Author: Nina Sankovitch
34. "Comedy and terror and autobiography and comics and literature-they're all the same thing. To me."
Author: Patton Oswalt
35. "Literature exists at the same time in the modes of error and truth; it both betrays and obeys its own mode of being."
Author: Paul De Man
36. "I slipped into art to escape life. I sneaked off into literature."
Author: Rabih Alameddine
37. "I wonder how appropriate it is to try to 'argue someone into the kingdom.' Many apologists hotly deny any such charge, but I don't believe them. The tenor of almost all apologetics literature makes it plain that this is their intent."
Author: Robert M. Price
38. "John Milton has, since his own lifetime, always been one of the major figures in English literature, but his reputation has changed constantly. He has been seen as a political opportunist, an advocate of 'immorality' (he wrote in favour of divorce and married three times), an over-serious classicist, and an arrogant believer in his own greatness as a poet. He was all these things. But, above all, Milton's was the last great liberal intelligence of the English Renaissance. The values expressed in all his works are the values of tolerance, freedom and self-determination, expressed by Shakespeare, Hooker and Donne. The basis of his aesthetic studies was classical, but the modernity of his intellectual interests can be seen in the fact that he went to Italy (in the late 1630s) where he met the astronomer Galileo, who had been condemned as a heretic by the Catholic church for saying the earth moved around the sun."
Author: Ronald Carter
39. "Literature is disputed territory."
Author: Salman Rushdie
40. "He taught me literature, and he actually taught me how to read. He was my personal mentor."
Author: Shimon Peres
41. "Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead."
Author: Sinclair Lewis
42. "There's a long history of anthropomorphic animals in Japanese literature. The so-called 'funny animal scrolls' were the first narratives in Japanese history, and the heroes of many folk tales have animals as their companions."
Author: Stan Sakai
43. "We know too much, and are convinced of too little. Our literature is a substitute for religion, and so is our religion."
Author: T.S. Eliot
44. "Because subjects like literature and art history have no obvious material pay-off, they tend to attract those who look askance at capitalist notions of utility. The idea of doing something purely for the delight of it has always rattled the grey-bearded guardians of the state. Sheer pointlessness has always been a deeply subversive affair."
Author: Terry Eagleton
45. "Economics is a study of cause-and-effect relationships in an economy. It's purpose is to discern the consequences of various ways of allocating resources which have alternative uses. It has nothing to say about philosophy or values, anymore than it has to say about music or literature."
Author: Thomas Sowell
46. "One of my proudest achievements is that when an authoritative book about Hungarian literature came out about a decade ago, there was a little article about me which said I was a Hungarian writer but pretending not to be. Bearing in mind I can hardly write a cheque in Hungarian, I was delighted to be included in the pantheon of Hungarian writers."
Author: Tibor Fischer
47. "Music enriches people's lives in the same way paintings and literature do. Everybody deserves that."
Author: Victoria Wood
48. "Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of sickness…it is strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature."from her essay, On Being Ill"
Author: Virginia Woolf
49. "As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible."
Author: Wallace Stevens
50. "Serious literature does not exist to make life easy but to complicate it."
Author: Witold Gombrowicz

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I'm trying my hand at writing. I'm writing a couple of projects for HBO, a half hour comedy and a miniseries."
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