Literature Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old literature quotes, literature sayings, and literature proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man that can not read them.     

Mark Twain

The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.     

Oliver Wendell Holmes

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.     

Ernest Hemingway

Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.     

Joseph Addison

Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.     

Benjamin Franklin

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

It's in literature that true life can be found. It's under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth.     

Gao Xingjian

Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.     

Boris Pasternak

Every man's work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.     

Samuel Butler

Literature is the expression of a feeling of deprivation, a recourse against a sense of something missing.     

Octavio Paz

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

Ezra Pound

Literature is the question minus the answer.     

Roland Barthes

A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.     

Mark Twain

What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.     

E.M. Forster

The duty of literature is to note what counts, and to light up what is suited to the light. If it ceases to choose and to love, it becomes like a woman who gives herself without preference.     

Anatole France

It is in literature that the concrete outlook of humanity receives its expression.     

Alfred North Whitehead

The crown of literature is poetry.     

William Somerset Maugham

Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose.     

Oscar Wilde

Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.     

Virginia Woolf

The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean.     

Robert Louis Stevenson

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

Herman Melville

The self-styled intellectual who is impotent with pen and ink hungers to write history with sword and blood.     

Eric Hoffer

In literature the ambition of the novice is to acquire the literary language: the struggle of the adept is to get rid of it.     

George Bernard Shaw

The decline in literature indicates a decline in the nation. The two keep pace in their downward tendency.     

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble.     

Jean-Paul Sartre

Books are humanity in print.     

Barbara W. Tuchman

Good children's literature appeals not only to the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.     


While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.     

Cyril Connolly

Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.     

G. K. Chesterton

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