Top Literature And Writing Quotes

Browse top 26 famous quotes and sayings about Literature And Writing by most favorite authors.

Favorite Literature And Writing Quotes

1. "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
2. "If creative fiction writing is a process of translating an abstraction into the concrete, there are three possible grades of such writing: translating an old (known) abstraction (theme or thesis) through the medium of old fiction means (that is, characters, events or situations used before for that same purpose, that same translation) -- this is most of the popular trash; translating an old abstraction through new, original fiction means -- this is most of the good literature; creating a new, original abstraction and translating it through new, original means. This, as far as I know, is only me -- my kind of fiction writing."
Author: Ayn Rand
3. "So, if we're to make any sense of the mess that the pharmaceutical industry - and my profession - has made of the academic literature, then we need an amnesty: we need a full and clear declaration of all the distortions, on missing data, ghostwriting, and all the other activity described in this book, to prevent the ongoing harm that they still cause."
Author: Ben Goldacre
4. "I still maintain that the times get precisely the literature that they deserve, and that if the writing of this period is gloomy the gloom is not so much inherent in the literature as in the times."
Author: Bill Styron
5. "I spent years in a graduate literature program learning what makes great writing, and the only conclusion we came to was that the future of graduate literature programs was safe because nobody is ever going to agree on what makes great writing."
Author: Brandon Sanderson
6. "I had not particularly liked the way in which he wrote about literature in Beginnings, and I was always on my guard if not outright hostile when any tincture of 'deconstruction' or 'postmodernism' was applied to my beloved canon of English writing, but when Edward talked about English literature and quoted from it, he passed the test that I always privately apply: Do you truly love this subject and could you bear to live for one moment if it was obliterated?"
Author: Christopher Hitchens
7. "To make someone an icon is to make him an abstraction, and abstractions are incapable of vital communication with living people.1010 One has only to spend a term trying to teach college literature to realize that the quickest way to kill an author's vitality for potential readers is to present that author ahead of his time as "great" or "classic." Because then the author becomes for the students like medicine or vegetables, something the authorities have declared "good for them" that they "ought to like," at which point the students' nictitating membranes come down, and everyone just goes through the requisite motions of criticism and paper-writing without feeling one real or relevant thing. It's like removing all oxygen from the room before trying to start a fire."
Author: David Foster Wallace
8. "I don't think literature would be possible in a determined world. We might go through the motions but the heart would be out of it. Nobody could then 'smile darkly and ignore the howls.' Even if there were no Church to teach me this, writing two novels would do it. I think the more you write, the less inclined you will be to rely on theories like determinism. Mystery isn't something that is gradually evaporating. It grows along with knowledge."
Author: Flannery O'Connor
9. "In 1857, Bizet departed for Rome and spent three years there. He studied the landscape, the culture, Italian literature and art. Musically he studied the scores of the great masters. At the end of the first year he was asked to submit a religious work as his required composition. As a self-described atheist, Bizet felt uneasy and hypocritical writing a religious piece. Instead, he submitted a comic opera. Publicly, the committee accepted, acknowledging his musical talent. Privately, the committee conveyed their displeasure. Thus, early in his career, Bizet displayed an independent spirit that would be reflected in innovative ideas in his opera composition.[The Pearl Fishers - Georges Bizet, Virginia Opera]"
Author: Georges Bizet
10. "Memory, or rather experience -- which is the memory of the event plus the wound it has inflicted on you, plus the change which it has wrought in you and which has made you different-- experience is the basic nutrition also for a work of literature (but not only for that), the true source of wealth for every writer (but not only for the writer), and yet the minute it gives shape to a work of literature it withers and dies. The writer, after writing, finds that he is the poorest of men."
Author: Italo Calvino
11. "[M]ay not literature (and, in particular, fiction) be considered a desperate and permanently thwarted effort to produce a unique form of expression? Something like a cry, perhaps, a cry that, somehow, inexplicably contains all the millions of words that have ever existed, anywhere, in any age. In contrast with the spoken word and its classifying function, the purpose of writing seems, rather, to be a quest for the egg, the seed, nothing more."
Author: J.M.G. Le Clézio
12. "In Algeria, I had begun to get into literature and philosophy. I dreamed of writing-and already models were instructing the dream, a certain language governed it."
Author: Jacques Derrida
13. "We've inherited many ideas about writing that emerged in the eighteenth century, especially an interest in literature as both an expression and an exploration of the self. This development ? part of what distinguishes the "modern" from the "early modern" ? has shaped the work of many of our most celebrated authors, whose personal experiences indelibly and visibly mark their writing. It's fair to say that the fiction and poetry of many of the finest writers of the past century or so ? and I'm thinking here of Conrad, Proust, Lawrence, Joyce, Woolf, Kafka, Plath, Ellison, Lowell, Sexton, Roth, and Coetzee, to name but a few ? have been deeply autobiographical. The link between the life and the work is one of the things we're curious about and look for when we pick up the latest book by a favorite author."
Author: James Shapiro
14. "Literature can teach us how to live before we live, and how to die before we die. I believe that writing is practice for death, and for every (other) transformation human beings encounter."
Author: Jayne Anne Phillips
15. "I can't speak for other writers, but I write to create something that is better than myself, I think that's the deepest motivation, and it is so because I'm full of self-loathing and shame. Writing doesn't make me a better person, nor a wiser and happier one, but the writing, the text, the novel, is a creation of something outside of the self, an object, kind of neutralized by the objectivity of literature and form; the temper, the voice, the style; all in it is carefully constructed and controlled. This is writing for me: a cold hand on a warm forehead."
Author: Karl Ove Knausgård
16. "The beautiful unruliness of literature is what makes it so much fun to wander through: you read Jane Austen and you say, oh, that is IT. And then you turn around and read Sterne, and you say, Man, that is IT. And then you wander across a century or so, and you run into Kafka, or Calvino, or Cortazar, and you say, well that is IT. And then you stroll through what Updike called the grottos of Ulysses, and after that you consort with Baldwin or Welty or Spencer, or Morrison, or Bellow or Fitzgerald and then back to W. Shakespeare, Esq; the champ, and all the time you feel the excitement of being in the presence of IT. And when you yourself spend the good time writing, you are not different in kind than any of these people, you are part of that miracle of human invention. So get to work. Get on with IT, no matter how difficult IT is. Every single gesture, every single stumble, every single uninspired-feeling hour, is worth IT." Richard Bausch"
Author: Kathy Fish
17. "I was really exposed to great old-time literature - the classics, the poetic realists like Strindberg and Ibsen and all those guys. I was really inspired by all those guys. That's when writing became a primary focus."
Author: Kurt Sutter
18. "It sometimes strikes me that there is only one taboo left in young adult literature. By and large, no one complains any more when we write about drugs or sex. We can write about masturbation; terminal illness; the horrors of war; illegal organ transplants; matricide; the chilly delights of necrophilia; scenes of locker-room bukkake – none of this raises an eyebrow. No, the one thing which still causes people pause – the final hurdle – the last frontier – the one element which still gets a few adult readers up in arms about whether a book is appropriate for kids – is intelligence. Some adults still balk at the assumption that our readers, the teenagers of this country, are smart, and curious, and get a kick out of knowing things. One of the great things about writing YA today is that this is changing."
Author: M.T. Anderson
19. "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
20. "One night I begged Robin, a scientist by training, to watch Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' with me on PBS. He lasted about one act, then turned to me in horror: 'This is how you spend your days? Thinking about things like this?' I was ashamed. I could have been learning about string theory or how flowers pollinate themselves. I think his remark was the beginning of my crisis of faith. Like so many of my generation in graduate school, I had turned to literature as a kind of substitute for formal religion, which no longer fed my soul, or for therapy, which I could not afford.... I became interested in exploring the theory of nonfiction and in writing memoir, a genre that gives us access to that lost Middlemarch of reflection and social commentary."
Author: Mary Rose O'Reilley
21. "Because I don't have to be careful of people's feelings when I teach literature, and I do when I'm teaching writing."
Author: Tobias Wolff
22. "I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don't know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them. It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That's what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective there are only black people. When I say 'people,' that's what I mean."
Author: Toni Morrison
23. "...[T]he only means I have to stop ignorant snobs from behaving towards genre fiction with snobbish ignorance is to not reinforce their ignorance and snobbery by lying and saying that when I write SF it isn't SF, but to tell them more or less patiently for forty or fifty years that they are wrong to exclude SF and fantasy from literature, and proving my arguments by writing well."
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
24. "What matters in the end in literature, what is always there, is the truly good. And -- though played out forms can throw up miraculous sports like The Importance of Being Earnest or Decline and Fall-- what is good is always what is new, in both form and content. What is good forgets whatever models it might have had, and is unexpected; we have to catch it on the wing. ((p. 62, Reading & Writing)"
Author: V.S. Naipaul
25. "Our lives are greatly enriched when we immerse ourselves in literature and spiritual writing, not because we are going to be tested but purely for the sake of enrichment."
Author: Wayne W. Dyer
26. "I studied Comparative Literature at Cornell. Structuralism was real big then. The idea of reading and writing as being this language game. There's a lot of appeal to that. It's nice to think of it as this playful kind of thing. But I think that another way to look at it is "Look, I just want to be sincere. I want to write something and make you feel something and maybe you will go out and do something." And it seems that the world is in such bad shape now that we don't have time to do nothing but language games. That's how it seems to me."
Author: William T. Vollmann

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And lo I am with you always, even to the very end of the age."
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