Quotes about literature

A collection of quotes on the topic of literature.

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Sei Shonagon photo
Michael J. Behe photo
Arundhati Roy photo
Arthur Conan Doyle photo
Shiing-Shen Chern photo
Charles-Augustin de Coulomb photo

„On graduating from the school, a studious young man who would withstand the tedium and monotony of his duties has no choice but to lose himself in some branch of science or literature completely irrelevant to his assignment.“

—  Charles-Augustin de Coulomb French physicist 1736 - 1806

as quoted by [C. Stewart Gillmor, Coulomb and the Evolution of Physics and Engineering in Eighteenth-century France, Princeton University Press, 1971, 069108095X, 255-261]

Chinua Achebe photo

„My weapon is literature“

—  Chinua Achebe Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic 1930 - 2013

Amos Oz photo

„The best way to know the soul of another country is to read its literature.“

—  Amos Oz Israeli writer, novelist, journalist and intellectual 1939 - 2018

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Henry Adams photo

„As a type for study, or a standard for education, Lodge was the more interesting of the two. Roosevelts are born and never can be taught; but Lodge was a creature of teaching — Boston incarnate — the child of his local parentage; and while his ambition led him to be more, the intent, though virtuous, was — as Adams admitted in his own case — restless. An excellent talker, a voracious reader, a ready wit, an accomplished orator, with a clear mind and a powerful memory, he could never feel perfectly at ease whatever leg he stood on, but shifted, sometimes with painful strain of temper, from one sensitive muscle to another, uncertain whether to pose as an uncompromising Yankee; or a pure American; or a patriot in the still purer atmosphere of Irish, Germans, or Jews; or a scholar and historian of Harvard College. English to the last fibre of his thought — saturated with English literature, English tradition, English taste — revolted by every vice and by most virtues of Frenchmen and Germans, or any other Continental standards, but at home and happy among the vices and extravagances of Shakespeare — standing first on the social, then on the political foot; now worshipping, now banning; shocked by the wanton display of immorality, but practicing the license of political usage; sometimes bitter, often genial, always intelligent — Lodge had the singular merit of interesting. The usual statesmen flocked in swarms like crows, black and monotonous. Lodge's plumage was varied, and, like his flight, harked back to race. He betrayed the consciousness that he and his people had a past, if they dared but avow it, and might have a future, if they could but divine it.“

—  Henry Adams journalist, historian, academic, novelist 1838 - 1918

Walter Raleigh (professor) photo
Yevgeny Zamyatin photo

„A literature that is alive does not live by yesterday's clock, nor by today's but by tomorrow's.“

—  Yevgeny Zamyatin Russian author 1884 - 1937

On Literature, Revolution, Entropy and Other Matters (1923)
Context: A literature that is alive does not live by yesterday's clock, nor by today's but by tomorrow's. It is a sailor sent aloft: from the masthead he can see foundering ships, icebergs, and maelstroms still invisible from the deck. He can be dragged down from the mast and put to tending the boilers or working the capstan, but that will not change anything: the mast will remain, and the next man on the masthead will see what the first has seen.
In a storm, you must have a man aloft. We are in the midst of storm today, and SOS signals come from every side.

„…The resistance to English, the fear of English, has made us bad readers of English literature, because of our fear of contaminating the Spanish language, of losing it in the avalanche of North American influence…“

—  Luis Rafael Sánchez Puerto Rican playwright and novelist 1936

On some people’s resistance to reading English literature in “Luis Rafael Sánchez: Counterpoints" https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00096005/00024/14j (Sargasso, 1984)

Thomas Mann photo
Brian Selznick photo

„It's funny, I grew up in a happy family with loving parents, but I've killed off a lot of parents in these books. The orphan in children's literature, allows the child protagonist to move the story forward themselves. I think that, however happy a family, every intelligent child thinks: 'How did I come to be born to these parents?“

—  Brian Selznick American children's illustrator and writer 1966

it is about finding your place in the world.
Brian Selznick: how Scorsese's Hugo drew inspiration from his magical book https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/feb/11/brian-selznick-hugo-martin-scorsese (February 11, 2012)

Mark Twain photo

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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