SOME THOUGHTS
ABOUT LITERATURE

WRITERS, WRITING AND THE STUFF THEY WRITE
 

There are two kinds of writers: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder.
Brian Aldiss
 

Literature whispers the words that the tongue cannot say; Plays the the birdsong that the ears cannot apprehend; Paints the mountains that the eyes cannot perceive; and summons the winds that a man cannot feel.
Ellesta Arelei

 

A popular writer writes about what people think. A wise writer offers them something to think about.
Ambrose Bierce
 

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
Ray Bradbury


Either a writer doesn't want to talk about his work, or he talks about it more than you want.
Anatole Broyard

 

Any book has behind it all the other books that have been written.
Anthony Burgess
 

When a book, any sort of book, reaches a certain intensity of artistic performance it becomes literature. That intensity may be a matter of style, situation, character, emotional tone, or idea, or half a dozen other things. It may also be a perfection of control over the movement of a story similiar to the control a great pitcher has over a ball.
Raymond Chandler
 

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice.
Cyril Connolly
 

While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
Eugene V. Debs
 

Writers are always selling somebody out.
Joan Didion

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.
Benjamin Disraeli
 

Our high respect for a well-read man is praise enough of literature.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

I don't know why people would want to have lunch with writers. I've eaten with writers. We have appalling table manners, and rarely say anything other than 'Pass the salt' or 'If you're not going to eat that, can I have it?'
Neil Gaiman

In my experience, writers tend to be really good at the inside of their own heads and imaginary people, and a lot less good at the stuff going on outside, which means that quite often if you flirt with us we will completely fail to notice, leaving everybody involved slightly uncomfortable and more than slightly unlaid. So I would suggest that any attempted seduction of a writer would probably go a great deal easier for all parties if you sent them a cheerful note saying: “You are invited to a seduction. Please come to dinner on Friday Night. Wear the kind of clothes you would like to be seduced in.” And alcohol may help, too. Or kissing. Many writers figure out that they’re being seduced or flirted with if someone is actually kissing them.
Neil Gaiman
...after being asked what is a best way to seduce a writer

Often with good sentiments we produce bad literature.
André Gide

Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason.
André Gide
 

The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
 

A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.
Ernest Hemingway
 

If a writer wrote merely for his time, I would have to break my pen and throw it away.
Victor Hugo
 

There are three rules for writing. - Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are.
Somerset Maugham
 

Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.
Daphne du Maurier
 

An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.
Charles de Montesquieu
 

I wonder why murder is considered less immoral than fornication in literature.
George Moore
 

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

All of a writer that matters is in the book or books. It is idiotic to be curious about the person.
Jean Rhys
 

The world would get along very well without literature. It would get along even better without man.
Jean-Paul Sartre
 

Literature is the immortality of speech.
August Wilhelm von Schlegel
 

Those who don't read have no advantage over those who can't.
Mark Twain
 

The adjective is the enemy of the noun.
Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire
 

I hate intellectuals. They are from the top down. I am from the bottom up.
Frank Lloyd Wright
 

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
Emile Zola

 
 
 
 


 POWER AND PECULIARITY OF THE WRITTEN WORD
 

No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put just at the right place.
Isaac Babel
 

Words have finished flirting. Now they are making love.
Andre Breton
 

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.
Carol Burnett

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just begins
to live that day.
Emily Dickinson

A human being is always so proud to write his name in something, if nothing else, on the bark of a tree.
Alexandre Dumas jr.
 

The finest words in the world are only vain sounds, if you cannot comprehend them.
Anatole France
 

Nothing gives an author so much pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors.
Benjamin Franklin
 

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
 

A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.
Henrik Ibsen
 

A tired exclamation mark is a question mark.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec


If you do not know his language, you will never understand a foreigner's silence.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec


Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.
Rudyard Kipling
 

Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Stephen King

Ink is the great cure for all human ills.
C.S. Lewis

Words are like water - the assumption being that it moves in any direction.
Bernard Malmud
 

The safest words are always those which bring us most directly to facts.
Charles H. Parkhurst


Words are a lens to focus one's mind.
Ayn Rand

Words are the coins making up the currency of sentences, and there are always too many small coins.
Jules Renard

Words are loaded pistols.
Jean-Paul Sartre
 

I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.
Solomon Short
 

Words are sacred. If you get the right ones in the right order you can nudge the world a little.
Tom Stoppard

Words are tools which automatically carve concepts out of experience.
Julian Sorrell Huxley
 

Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure.
Edward Thorndike
 

An essential element for good writing is a good ear. One must listen to the sound of one's own prose.
Barbara Tuchman
 

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
Mark Twain
 

A real writer can be recognized by the fact he doesn't find words. Therefore he must search for them and while doing that, he finds better ones.
Paul Valéry
 

One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.
Voltaire

In a thousand words I can have the Lord's Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, the Hippocratic Oath, a sonnet by Shakespeare, the Preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and almost all of the Boy Scout Oath. Now exactly what picture were you planning to trade for all that?
Roy H. Williams



 

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