|The only thing I
was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would
never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any.
Carl William Brown A futuristic
and surrealistic thinker is an artist who can enjoy both the deep sorrow of
the real death in life and the feeble pleasure of an unreal life in death.
Carl William Brown
Imaginative literature in the service of
rebellion, or satanism, quickly sinks into exhibitionism or obscurity. Imaginative
literature as the expression of a deeply apprehended truth, poetry which interprets to a
man the myth of his own age, can in the hands of Dante, of Shakespeare, of Cervantes, of
Camoes and of Goethe, help to raise the level of a whole civilization.
J. M. Cohen
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The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes,
in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all
sense and meaning.
Winston S. Churchill
Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like
asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs. Christopher Hampton
Literature is being taught as though it were only political
medicine or political poison--a view that is not only illiberal but illiterate.
Professors of literature, who for the most part are
genteel but mediocre men, can make but a poor defense of their profession,
and the professors of science, who are frequently men of great intelligence
but of limited interests and education…
Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to
its purpose. The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention
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
How has the human spirit ever survived the terrific literature with which it
has had to contend?
Literature that is not the breath of contemporary society, that dares not
transmit the pains and fears of that society, that does not warn in time
against threatening moral and social dangers -- such literature does not
deserve the name of literature; it is only a façade. Such literature loses
the confidence of its own people, and its published works are used as
wastepaper instead of being read.
Literature is the immortality of speech.
August Wilhelm Von Schlegel
Just as the office worker dreams of murdering his hated boss and so is saved
from really murdering him, so it is with the author; with his great dreams
he helps his readers to survive, to avoid their worst intentions. And
society, without realizing it respects and even exalts him, albeit with a
kind of jealousy, fear and even repulsion, since few people want to discover
the horrors that lurk in the depths of their souls. This is the highest
mission of great literature, and there is no other.
Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human
society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but
the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart.
Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you
earn no money.
Literature is news that stays news.
The cultivation of literary pursuits forms the basis of all sciences, and in
their perfection consist the reputation and prosperity of kingdoms.
Marques De Pombal
The atmosphere of orthodoxy is always damaging to prose, and above all it is
completely ruinous to the novel, the most anarchical of all forms of
Learning why one great book is just like every other great book is the key
to understanding literature
Literature, the most seductive, the most deceiving, the most dangerous of
For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into
words or books.
With a pen in my hand I have successfully stormed bulwarks from which others
armed with sword and excommunication have been repulsed.
Georg C. Lichtenberg
Literature is analysis after the event.
In the electronic age, books, words and reading are not likely to remain
sufficiently authoritative and central to knowledge to justify literature.
There are events which are so great that if a writer has participated in
them his obligation is to write truly rather than assume the presumption of
altering them with invention.
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
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
One of the proud joys of the man of letters --if that man of letters is an
artist is to feel within himself the power to immortalize at will anything
he chooses to immortalize. Insignificant though he may be, he is conscious
of possessing a creative divinity. God creates lives; the man of imagination
creates fictional lives which may make a profound and as it were more living
impression on the world's memory.
Edmond and Jules De Goncourt
The decline in literature indicates a decline in the nation. The two keep
pace in their downward tendency.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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.
Only two classes of books are of universal appeal. The very best and the
Ford Madox Ford
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.
People do not deserve to have good writings; they are so pleased with the
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When we read of human beings behaving in certain ways, with the approval of
the author, who gives his benediction to this behavior by his attitude
towards the result of the behavior arranged by himself, we can be influenced
towards behaving in the same way.
T. S. Eliot
Just as it is true that a stream cannot rise above its source, so it is true
that a national literature cannot rise above the moral level of the social
conditions of the people from whom it derives its inspiration.
One learns little more about a man from his feats of literary memory than
from the feats of his alimentary canal.
Frank Moore Colby
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.
All literature is political.
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.
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
The writer in western civilization has become not a voice of his tribe, but
of his individuality. This is a very narrow-minded situation.
Only the more rugged mortals should attempt to keep up with current
There is no such things as a moral or an immoral book. Books are
well written or bady written. That is all.
Oscar Wilde, "The Picture of Dorian Gray"
It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing,
but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. Writing free verse is
like playing tennis with the net down.