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 :: Famous Quotations Topic: Literature (125 Quotations)

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Great literature cannot grow from a neglected or impoverished soil. Only if we actually tend or care will it transpire that every hundred years or so we might get a Middlemarch.
~ P. D. James

 

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Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.
~ Ezra Pound

 

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Henry James seems most entirely in his element, doing that is to say what everything favors his doing, when it is a question of recollection. The mellow light which swims over the past, the beauty which suffuses even the commonest little figures of that
~ Virginia Woolf

 

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How has the human spirit ever survived the terrific literature with which it has had to contend?
~ Wallace Stevens

 

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How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.
~ Ernest Hemingway

 

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I am not a literary man. I am a man of science, and I am interested in that branch of Anthropology which deals with the history of human speech.
~ Jim Murray

 

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I have never known a novel that was good enough to be good in spite of its being adapted to the author's political views.
~ Edith Wharton

 

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I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions.
~ Vaclav Havel

 

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If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.
~ Ezra Pound

 

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If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble.
~ Jean-Paul Sartre

 

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If the most significant characteristic of man is the complex of biological needs he shares with all members of his species, then the best lives for the writer to observe are those in which the role of natural necessity is clearest, namely, the lives of the very poor.
~ W. H. Auden

 

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If you look at history you'll find that no state has been so plagued by its rulers as when power has fallen into the hands of some dabbler in philosophy or literary addict.
~ Desiderius Erasmus

 

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In literature the ambition of the novice is to acquire the literary language: the struggle of the adept is to get rid of it.
~ George Bernard Shaw

 

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In literature, as in love, we are astonished at the choice made by other people.
~ Andre Maurois

 

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In our day the conventional element in literature is elaborately disguised by a law of copyright pretending that every work of art is an invention distinctive enough to be patented.
~ Northrop Frye

 

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In the electronic age, books, words and reading are not likely to remain sufficiently authoritative and central to knowledge to justify literature.
~ Alvin Kernan

 

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In the present age, alas! our pens are ravished by unlettered authors and unmannered critics, that make a havoc rather than a building, a wilderness rather than a garden. But, a lack! what boots it to drop tears upon the preterit?
~ Aubrey Beardsley

 

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It is a good lesson --though it may often be a hard one --for a man who has dreamed of literary fame, and of making for himself a rank among the world's dignitaries by such means, to step aside out of the narrow circle in which his claims are recognized, and to find how utterly devoid of all significance, beyond that circle, is all that he achieves, and all he aims at.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

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It is not the first duty of the novelist to provide blueprints for insurrection, or uplifting tales of successful resistance for the benefit of the opposition. The naming of what is there is what is important.
~ Ian Mcewan

 

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It is the story-teller's task to elicit sympathy and a measure of understanding for those who lie outside the boundaries of State approval.
~ Graham Greene

 

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