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Literature Quotes


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If I might control the literature of the household, I would guarantee the well-being of the church and state.

In literary history, generation follows generation in a rage.

In literature as in love we are astounded by what is chosen by others.

In literature, today, there are plenty of good masons but few good architects.

In science, read, by preference, the newest works; in literature the oldest. The classic literature is always modern. New books revive and redecorate old ideas; old books suggest and invigorate new ideas.

In the literature of the world there is not one popular book which is immoral that continues to exist two centuries after it is produced; for in the heart of nations the false does not live so long, and the true is ethical to the end of time.

It has come to be practically a sort of rule in literature, that a man, having once shown himself capable of original writing, is entitled, thenceforth, to steal from the writings of others at discretion. Thought is the property of him who can entertain it and of him who can adequately place it. - A certain awkwardness marks the use of borrowed thoughts; but as soon as we have learned what to do with them, they become our own.

Let your literary compositions be kept from the public eye for nine years at least.

Literary dissipation is no less destructive of sympathy with the living world, than sensual dissipation. Mere intellect is as hard-hearted and as heart-hardening as mere sense; and the union of the two, when uncontrolled by the conscience and without the softening, purifying influences of the moral affections, is all that is requisite to produce the diabolical ideal of our nature.

Literary history is the great morgue where all seek the dead ones whom they love, or to whom they are related.

Literature flourishes best when it is half a trade and half an art.

Literature happens to be the only occupation in which wages are not given in proportion to the goodness of the work done.

Literature has her quacks no less than medicine, and they are divided into two classes; those who have erudition without genius, and those who have volubility without depth; we get second-hand sense from the one, and original non­sense from the other.

Literature has now become a game in which the booksellers are the kings; the critics, the knaves; the public, the pack; and the poor author, the mere table or thing played upon.

Literature is a fragment of a fragment; of all that ever happened, or has been said, but a fraction has been written, and of this but little is extant.

Literature is a great staff, but a sorry crutch.

Literature is a power to be possessed, not a body of objects to be studied.

Literature is mostly about sex and not much about having children; and life is the other way around.

Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness. The things I have learned and the things I have been taught seem of ridiculously little importance compared with their "large loves and heavenly charities."

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once.


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