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 :: Famous Quotations Topic: Literature (125 Quotations)

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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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A good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on.
~ Georg C. Lichtenberg

 

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A great number of the disappointments and mishaps of the troubled world are the direct result of literature and the allied arts. It is our belief that no human being who devotes his life and energy to the manufacture of fantasies can be anything but fundamentally inadequate
~ Christopher Hampton

 

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A literary movement consists of five or six people who live in the same town and hate each other cordially.
~ George Moore

 

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A losing trade, I assure you, sir: literature is a drug.
~ George Borrow

 

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A people's literature is the great textbook for real knowledge of them. The writings of the day show the quality of the people as no historical reconstruction can.
~ Edith Hamilton

 

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All literature is gossip.
~ Truman Capote

 

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All literature is political.
~ LeVar Burton

 

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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.
~ Ernest Hemingway

 

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All you can be sure about in a political-minded writer is that if his work should last you will have to skip the politics when you read it. Many of the so-called politically enlisted writers change their politics frequently . Perhaps it can be respected as a form of the pursuit of happiness.
~ Ernest Hemingway

 

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Already the writers are complaining that there is too much freedom. They need some pressure. The worse your daily life, the better your art. If you have to be careful because of oppression and censorship, this pressure produces diamonds.
~ Tatyana Tolstaya

 

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

 

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

 

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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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Despair, feeding, as it always does, on phantasmagoria, is imperturbably leading literature to the rejection, en masse, of all divine and social laws, towards practical and theoretical evil.
~ Isidore Ducasse Lautreamont

 

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Do not worry about the incarnation of ideas. If you are a poet, your works will contain them without your knowledge -- they will be both moral and national if you follow your inspiration freely.
~ Vissarion Belinsky

 

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English literature is a kind of training in social ethics. English trains you to handle a body of information in a way that is conducive to action.
~ Marilyn Butler

 

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For a novelist, a given historic situation is an anthropologic laboratory in which he explores his basic question: What is human existence?
~ Milan Kundera

 

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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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