Quotes with literature
We are human, and nothing is more interesting to us than humanity. The appeal of literature is that it is so thoroughly a human thing -- by, for and about human beings. If you lose that focus, you obviate the source of the power and permanence of literature.
As quoted in "Honored literary scholar M.H. Abrams continues his labors (of love)" in The Cornell Chronicle (June 10, 1999).
Life without literature is a life reduced to penury. It expands you in every way. It illuminates what you’re doing. It shows you possibilities you haven’t thought of. It enables you to live the lives of other people than yourself. It broadens you, it makes you more human. It makes life enjoyable.
"Built to Last" by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt in The New York Times: Sunday Book Review. (August 23, 2012)
A curious thing about written literature: It is about four thousand years old, but we have no way of knowing whether four thousand years constitutes senility or the maiden blush of youth.
All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called "Huckleberry Finn."
Green Hills of Africa
There is infinite pathos in unsuccessful authorship. The book that perishes unread is the deaf-mute of literature. The great asylum of Oblivion is full of such, making inaudible signs to each other in leaky garrets and unattainable dusty upper shelves.
Wherever literature consoles sorrow or assuages pain; wherever it brings gladness to eyes which fail with wakefulness and tears, and ache for the dark house and the long sleep,—there is exhibited in its noblest form the immortal influence of Athens.
On Mitford’s History of Greece (1824)
Literature should be more revolutionary than revolutions themselves; ... writers must find the means to continue to be critical of the negative elements in the sociopolitical reality.
In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.
History, as I've always said, is more than politics and military actions. It is medicine, art, literature, science. All that is an important part of who we are.
True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art, but in the development of character.
A lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect.
To a large extent, the problems of poets are the problems of painters, and poets must often turn to the literature of painting for a discussion of their own problems.
The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.
Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881)
Never was there such a dame school as ours, so firm and kind and smelling of galoshes, with the sweet and fumbled music of the piano lessons drifting down from upstairs to the lonely schoolroom, where only the sometimes tearful wicked sat over undone sums, or to repent a little crime -- the pulling of a girl's hair during geography, the sly shin kick under the table during English literature.
Quite Early One Morning (1968)
There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.
Address to Congress, 8 January, 1790
The only link between Literature and Drama left to us in England at the present moment is the bill of the play.
A Few Maxims For The A Few Maxims For The Instruction Of The Over-Educated, 1894
Anybody can write a three-volume novel. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature.