Top World Literature Quotes

Browse top 54 famous quotes and sayings about World Literature by most favorite authors.

Favorite World Literature Quotes

1. "In literature one has the best company in the world at complete command; one also has the worst. One has a social conscience which dissuades one from harbouring unprofitable company in life, and I find that my two canons are a great aid and support for an analogous literary conscience which speaks up against consorting with unprofitable company in literature."
Author: Albert Jay Nock
2. "Vitamin C is the world's best natural antibiotic, antiviral, antitoxin and antihistamine. This book's recurring emphasis on vitamin C might suggest that I am offering a song with only one verse. Not so. As English literature concentrates on Shakespeare, so orthomolecular (megavitamin) therapy concentrates on vitamin C. Let the greats be given their due. The importance of vitamin C cannot be overemphasised."
Author: Andrew W. Saul
3. "…imagine that the earth—four thousand six hundred million years old—[were] a forty-six-year-old woman…. It had taken the whole of the Earth Woman's life for the earth to become what it was. For the oceans to part. For the mountains to rise. The Earth Woman was eleven years old…when the first single-celled organisms appeared. The first animals, creatures like worms and jellyfish, appeared only when she was forty. She was over forty-five—just eight months ago—when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The whole of human civilization as we know it began only two hours ago in the Earth Woman's life…. It was an awe-inspiring and humbling thought…that the whole of contemporary history, the World Wars, the War of Dreams, the Man on the Moon, science, literature, philosophy, the pursuit of knowledge—was no more than a blink of the Earth Woman's eye."
Author: Arundhati Roy
4. "Like symbolism, decadence puts forth the idea that the function of literature is to evoke impressions and 'correspondences', rather than to realistically depict the world. ... the decadent aestheticized decay and took pleasure in perversity. In decadent literature, sickness is preferable to health, not only because sickness was regarded as more interesting, but because sickness was construed as subversive, as a threat to the very fabric of society. By embracing the marginal, the unhealthy and the deviant, the decadents attacked bourgeois life, which they perceived as the chief enemy of art."
Author: Asti Hustvedt
5. "One day at Fenner's (the university cricket ground at Cambridge), just before the last war, G. H. Hardy and I were talking about Einstein. Hardy had met him several times, and I had recently returned from visiting him. Hardy was saying that in his lifetime there had only been two men in the world, in all the fields of human achievement, science, literature, politics, anything you like, who qualified for the Bradman class. For those not familiar with cricket, or with Hardy's personal idiom, I ought to mention that "the Bradman class" denoted the highest kind of excellence: it would include Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Newton, Archimedes, and maybe a dozen others. Well, said Hardy, there had only been two additions in his lifetime. One was Lenin and the other Einstein."
Author: C.P. Snow
6. "The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented. Even the eyes of all humanity are not enough. I regret that the brutes connot write books. Very gladly would I learn what face things present to a mouse or a bee; more gladly still would I perceive the olfactory world charged with all the information and emotion it carries for a dog. Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality... in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad of eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do."
Author: C.S. Lewis
7. "For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble, by the parish surgeon, it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child would survive to bear any name at all; in which case it is somewhat more than probable that these memoirs would never have appeared; or, if they had, that being comprised within a couple of pages, they would have possessed the inestimable merit of being the most concise and faithful specimen of biography, extant in the literature of any age or country."
Author: Charles Dickens
8. "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
9. "Allen Ginsberg was a world authority on the writing of William Blake, and had an incredible knowledge of classic literature and world politics."
Author: David Amram
10. "The world of scholarship is much more measured in its appreciation and also its criticism than the world of popular literature."
Author: Deborah Harkness
11. "The cause which is blocking all progress today is the subtle scepticism which whispers in a million ears that things are not good enough to be worth improving. If the world is good we are revolutionaries, if the world is evil we must be conservatives. These essays, futile as they are considered as serious literature, are yet ethically sincere, since they seek to remind men that things must be loved first and improved afterwards."
Author: G.K. Chesterton
12. "The world must be all fucked up," he said then, "when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
Author: Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
13. "Reading is a sage way to bump up against life. Reading may be an escape, but it is not an escape from my own life and problems.  It is an escape from the narrow boundaries of being only me. Reading in some wonderful ways helps me find out who I am. When she was a young girl Patricia MacLachlan's mother encouraged her to "read a book and find out who you are." And it is true that in some ways reading defines me as it refines me. Reading enlarges my vision of the world; it helps me understand someone who is different from me. It makes me bigger on the inside. We tend to see the world from our own perspective; it is good to see it from the eyes of others. Good literature helps me understand who I am in relation to what others experience. Far from being an escape from reality, good literature is a window into reality. I read to feel life."
Author: Gladys Hunt
14. "Many writers who choose to be active in the world lose not virtue but time, and that stillness without which literature cannot be made"
Author: Gore Vidal
15. "Writing, to me, is the meaning of life. My life became something special because of writing. My desk is for me what the phone booth is for Clark Kent: Here I become Superman. I can do anything I want when I'm writing. I'm not afraid anymore. I can take anything from my imagination. I can save the world when I'm writing. But as soon as I leave the desk, I become Clark Kent again. Trust me, I am the most ordinary person in the world. I'm a good husband, I don't yell at anyone, never lose it. But I don't have a single idea for my literature in everyday life. When I run, cook or relax on the beach, there is absolutely nothing on my mind."
Author: Haruki Murakami
16. "In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-Gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny and trivial."
Author: Henry David Thoreau
17. "A man should begin with his own times. He should become acquainted first of all with the world in which he is living and participating. He should not be afraid of reading too much or too little. He should take his reading as he does his food or his exercise. The good reader will gravitate to the good books. He will discover from his contemporaries what is inspiring or fecundating, or merely enjoyable, in past literature. He should have the pleasure of making these discoveries on his own, in his own way. What has worth, charm, beauty, wisdom, cannot be lost or forgotten. But things can lose all value, all charm and appeal, if one is dragged to them by the scalp."
Author: Henry Miller
18. "Blindness to larger contexts is a constitutional defect of human thinking imposed by the painful necessity of being able to concentrate on only one thing at a time. We forget as we virtuously concentrate on that one thing that hundreds of other things are going on at the same time and on every side of us, things that are just as important as the object of our study and that are all interconnected in ways that we cannot even guess. Sad to say, our picture of the world to the degree to which it has that neatness, precision, and finality so coveted by scholarship is a false one.I once studied with a famous professor who declared that he deliberately avoided the study of any literature east of Greece lest the new vision destroy the architectonic perfection of his own celebrated construction of the Greek mind. His picture of that mind was immensely impressive but, I strongly suspect, completely misleading."
Author: Hugh Nibley
19. "We are giving the world back to man, and man back to himself. Man shall no longer be vile, but noble. We shall not destroy his mind in return for an immortal soul. Without a free, vigorous and creative mind, man is but an animal, and he will die like an animal, without any shred of a soul. We return to man his arts, his literature, his sciences, his independence to think and feel as an individual, not to be bound to dogma like a slave, to rot in his chains."
Author: Irving Stone
20. "For when you looked into my mother's eyes you knew, as if He had told you, why God sent her into the world - it was to open then minds of all who looked to beautiful thoughts. And that is the beginning and end of literature."
Author: J.M. Barrie
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. "The rise to prominence of the Saudi novel in Arabic is the great man-bites-dog of recent world literature. Saudi Arabia is a country without a free press, where European styles and forms are distrusted and where the female half of the population became literate only in this generation."
Author: James Buchan
23. "Business students are very oriented to playing a role in the real world and accomplishing something, not training themselves to be scholars and contribute to the literature. Teaching in that kind of environment has focused me much more on the real world, how pieces of the theory I know can be applied to real-world situations."
Author: Janet Yellen
24. "I plan on leaving my mark on this world, in ink, with a pen spill that'll make all the oil spills combined look like literature."
Author: Jarod Kintz
25. "If [literature] should turn into pure propaganda or pure entertainment, society will slip back into the sty of the immediate -- which is to say, the memoryless existence of hymenoptera and gastropods. None of this is so important, to be sure. The world can get by nicely without literature. But without human beings it can get by better yet."
Author: Jean Paul Sartre
26. "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
27. "I have been impressed by the realization that a few men have virtually 'decided' what experiences count and even exist in the world. The language of Western science--the reigning construct of male hegemony--precludes the ability to express the experiential realities it talks about. Virtually all the actual experiences of this world, expressed through the manifest and mysterious characteristics of all the different beings, are unrepresented in the stainless steel edicts of experts. Where is the voice of the voiceless in the scientific literature, including the literature of environmental ethics?"
Author: Karen Davis
28. "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
29. "Men recorded their experiences and called it history; men looked about the world and called their observations science; men wondered about the existence of God and the problem of evil and called their speculations theology; men did handiwork and called it art; men made up stories, wrote them down and called them literature; men thought about such topics as truth, beauty, justice, and the nature of existence and called their opinions philosophy."
Author: Linda Tschirhart Sanford
30. "People won't see Imagination in something that doesn't relate to their experience because of their own mental limitations. I want people to escape the expected and ordinary, to escape the regular expectations of a story, and truly step into a different world of literature."
Author: Lionel Suggs
31. "My world is about stories that entertain; emotions that move; people you'll remember; literature that matters."
Author: M.G. Crisci
32. "In my plain thoughts I don't know what else is needed to make this the happiest as well as the most respect-worthy situation in the world—exceptfor a taste for literature, to throw a little variety and interest into conversation, and some surplus money to give to the needy and to buy books. . ."
Author: Mary Wollstonecraft
33. "Men may congratulate themselves for writing truly and passionately about the movements of nations; they may consider war and the search for God to be great literature's only subjects; but if men's standing in the world could be toppled by an ill-advised choice of hat, English literature would be dramatically changed."
Author: Michael Cunningham
34. "A stubborn refusal of the conditions of 20th Century 'reality', surrealism has denied intransigently and consistently that modern man can live without a sense of wonder at the world that was once embodied in myth. In approaching literature, it has aimed at restoring to the word its magical qualities. And at giving back to language the elemental power it once had within society. This determinism lies at the heart of the surrealist attitude and distinguishes it radically from the modernism which took shape contemporaneously with it."
Author: Michael Richardson
35. "In the white man's world, language, too -- and the way which the white man thinks of it--has undergone a process of change. The white man takes such things as words and literatures for granted, as indeed he must, for nothing in his world is so commonplace. On every side of him there are words by the millions, an unending succession of pamphlets and papers, letters and books, bills and bulletins, commentaries and conversations. He has diluted and multiplied the Word, and words have begun to close in on him. He is sated and insensitive; his regard for language -- for the Word itself -- as an instrument of creation has diminished nearly to the point of no return. It may be that he will perish by the Word."
Author: N. Scott Momaday
36. "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
37. "At the moment, if you asked me, I would say that this book is about keeping the heart of flesh in a world that wants to put in a heart of stone; and about how, regardless of the accusations regularly flung at them from all quarters, learning and literature can help their adherents accomplish that."
Author: Pamela Dean
38. "We were supposed to be an English literature class, but Miss Nesbitt used literature to teach real life. She said she didn't have time to teach us like a regular English teacher--we were too far behind. Instead, she taught us the world through literature."
Author: Phillip M. Hoose
39. "To be a Jew is to belong to an old harmless race that has lived in every country in the world; and that has enriched every country it has lived in."It is to be strong with a strength that has outlived persecutions. It is to be wise against ignorance, honest against piracy, harmless against evil, industrious against idleness, kind against cruelty! It is to belong to a race that has given Europe its religion; its moral law; and much of its science-perhaps even more of its genius-in art, literature and music."This is to be a Jew; and you know now what is required of you! You have no country but the world; and you inherit nothing but wisdom and brotherhood. I do not say there are no bad Jews-userers; cowards; corrupt and unjust persons-but such people are also to be found among Christians. I only say to you this is to be a good Jew. Every Jew has this aim brought before him in his youth. He refuses it at his peril; and at his peril he accepts it."
Author: Phyllis Bottome
40. "I didn't know with certainty what to say about the large world, and didn't care to risk speculating. And I still don't. That we all look at it from someplace, and in some hopeful-useful way, is about all I found I could say--my best, most honest effort. And that isn't enough for literature, though it didn't bother me much. Nowadays, I'm willing to say yes to as much as I can: yes to my town, my neighborhood, my neighbor, yes to his car, her lawn and hedge and rain gutters. Let things be the best they can be. Give us all a good night's sleep until it's over."
Author: Richard Ford
41. "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
42. "Chaucer's world in The Canterbury Tales brings together, for the first time, a diversity of characters, social levels, attitudes, and ways of life. The tales themselves make use of a similarly wide range of forms and styles, which show the diversity of cultural influences which the author had at his disposal. Literature, with Chaucer, has taken on a new role: as well as affirming a developing language, it is a mirror of its times - but a mirror which teases as it reveals, which questions while it narrates, and which opens up a range of issues and questions, instead of providing simple, easy answers."
Author: Ronald Carter
43. "The fairy or fantastic world replaces the classical Hades (or Hell) in Sir Orfeo, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight takes this fantasy element to new heights. Sir Gawain is one of the Knights of the Round Table, the followers of King Arthur, who is so much of a presence in English history, myth and literature."
Author: Ronald Carter
44. "The world of publishing is in crisis. It's no coincidence that the worst published writer in the world today is also one of the world's most successful writers... Dan Brown. Now Dan Brown is not a good writer, The Da Vinci Code is not literature. Dan Brown writes sentences like "The famous man looked at the red cup." ...and it's only to be hoped that Dan Brown never gets a job where he's required to break bad news. "Doctor is he going to be alright?" "The seventy five year old man died a painful death on the large green table... it was sad"."
Author: Stewart Lee
45. "I often like to think that our map of the world is wrong, that where we have centered physics, we should actually place literature as the central metaphor that we want to work out from. Because I think literature occupies the same relationship to life that life occupies to death. A book is life with one dimension pulled out of it. And life is something that lacks a dimension which death will give it. I imagine death to be a kind of release into the imagination in the sense that for characters in a book, what we experience is an unimaginable dimension of freedom."
Author: Terence McKenna
46. "The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. If you don't want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don't have a soul."
Author: Thomas More
47. "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
48. "Literature is, to my mind, the great teaching power of the world, the ultimate creator of all values, and it is this, not only in the sacred books whose power everybody acknowledges, but by every movement of imagination in song or story or drama that height of intensity and sincerity has made literature at all. Literature must take the responsibility of its power, and keep all its freedom: it must be like the spirit and like the wind that blows where it listeth; it must claim its right to pierce through every crevice of human nature, and to descrive the relation of the soul and the heart to the facts of life and of law, and to describe that relation as it is, not as we would have it be..."
Author: W.B. Yeats
49. "Literature had torn Tessa and me apart, or prevented us from merging in the first place. That was its role in the world, I'd started to fear: to conjure up disagreements that didn't matter and inspire people to act on them as though they mattered more than anything. Without literature, humans would all be one. Warfare was simply literature in arms. The pen was the reason man invented the sword."
Author: Walter Kirn
50. "I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia."
Author: William Saroyan

World Literature Quotes Pictures

Quotes About World Literature
Quotes About World Literature
Quotes About World Literature

Today's Quote

Pero así es el mundo, inversamente proporcional a las necesidades y deseos de uno."
Author: Alberto Fuguet

Famous Authors

Popular Topics