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ENGLISH LITERARY

QUOTES AND APHORISMS


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.
Russell Baker

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


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

Religion is only literature, but luckily literature is not only religion.
Carl William Brown

Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them....I know they are as lively and as vigorously productive as those fabulous dragon's teeth and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men.
John Milton

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.
Louis Menand

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…
Yvor Winters

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 of Balzac.
Oscar Wilde

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

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

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 fašade. Such literature loses the confidence of its own people, and its published works are used as wastepaper instead of being read.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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.
Ernesto Sabato

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.
Salman Rushdie

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.
Jules Renard

Literature is news that stays news.
Ezra Pound

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 literature.
George Orwell

Learning why one great book is just like every other great book is the key to understanding literature
John Moschitta

Literature, the most seductive, the most deceiving, the most dangerous of professions.
John Morley

For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into words or books.
Herman Melville

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.
Doris Lessing

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

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.
Ernest Hemingway

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

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

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.
Northrop Frye

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.
C. S. Lewis

Only two classes of books are of universal appeal. The very best and the very worst.
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.
Desiderius Erasmus

People do not deserve to have good writings; they are so pleased with the bad.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.
Jim Rohn

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.
James Connolly

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.
Marilyn Butler

All literature is political.
LeVar Burton

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

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

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
C. S. Lewis

The writer in western civilization has become not a voice of his tribe, but of his individuality. This is a very narrow-minded situation.
Aharon Appelfeld

Only the more rugged mortals should attempt to keep up with current literature.
George Age

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.

Robert Benchley

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
Oscar Wilde

Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.
George Washington

When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.
Thomas Jefferson

The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.
James Madison

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.
Millard Fillmore

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.
Abraham Lincoln

I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.
Benjamin Harrison

Our differences are policies; our agreements, principles.
William McKinley

We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.
Teddy Roosevelt

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb ... Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Calvin Coolidge

Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.
Herbert Hoover

Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Life is never easy. There is work to be done and obligations to be met - obligations to truth, to justice, and to liberty.
John F. Kennedy

The American dream does not come to those who fall asleep.
Richard Nixon

The founding of our Nation was more than a political event; it was an act of faith, a promise to Americans and to the entire world. The Declaration of Independence declared that people can govern themselves, that they can live in freedom with equal rights, that they can respect the rights of others.
Gerald Ford


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