Saul Bellow Quotes

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1. “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

Tags : Imagination Inspiration Writing
Author : Saul Bellow

2. “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”

Tags : Avoidance Ignorance Illusion Intelligence Self Deception
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : To Jerusalem and Back

3. “For instance? Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organized power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible. Which spent military billions against foreign enemies but would not pay for order at home. Which permitted savagery and barbarism in its own great cities. At the same time, the pressure of human millions who have discovered what concerted efforts and thoughts can do. As megatons of water shape organisms on the ocean floor. As tides polish stones. As winds hollow cliffs. The beautiful supermachinery opening a new life for innumerable mankind. Would you deny them the right to exist? Would you ask them to labor and go hungry while you yourself enjoyed old-fashioned Values? You—you yourself are a child of this mass and a brother to all the rest. or else an ingrate, dilettante, idiot. There, Herzog, thought Herzog, since you ask for the instance, is the way it runs.”

Tags : Decline Machinery Modernism Obscurity Science
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

4. “The more you love people the more they'll mix you up.”

Tags : Augie March Love People Saul
Author : Saul Bellow

5. “Associate with the noblest people you can find; read the best books; live with the mighty; but learn to be happy alone.”

Tags : Books Happiness Life Reading Self Sufficiency
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Ravelstein

6. “Boredom is the conviction that you can't change ... the shriek of unused capacities.”

Tags : Abilities Boredom Fulfillment
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

7. “People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.”

Tags : Book Lovers Libraries Reading
Author : Saul Bellow

8. “Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”

Tags : Life
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

9. “He believed that he must, that he could and would recover the good things, the happy things, the easy tranquil things of life. He had made mistakes, but he could overlook these. He had been a fool, but that could be forgiven. The time wasted--must be relinquished. What else could one do about it? Things were too complex, but they might be reduced to simplicity again. Recovery was possible.”

Tags : Seize The Day
Author : Saul Bellow

10. “In here, the human bosom -- mine, yours, everybody's -- there isn't just one soul. There's a lot of souls. But there are two main ones, the real soul and a pretender soul. Now! Every man realizes that he has to love something or somebody. He feels that he must go outward. 'If thou canst not love, what art thou?' Are you with me?”

Tags : Seize The Day
Author : Saul Bellow

11. “Well, there is a piece of famous advice, grand advice even if it is German, to forget what you can't bear. The strong can forget, can shut out history. Very good. Even if it is self-flattery to speak of strength--these aesthetic philosophers, they take a posture, but power sweeps postures away. Still, it's true you can't go on transposing one nightmare into another, Nietzsche was certainly right about that. The tender-minded must harden themselves. Is this world nothing but a barren lump of coke? No, no, but what sometimes seems a system of prevention, a denial of what every human being knows. I love my children, but I am the world to them, and bring them nightmares. I had this child by my enemy. And I love her. The sight of her, the odor of her hair, this minute, makes me tremble with love. Isn't it mysterious how I love the child of my enemy? But a man doesn't need happiness for himself. No, he can put up with any amount of torment--with recollections, with his own familiar evils, despair. And this is the unwritten history of man, his unseen, negative accomplishment, his power to do without gratification for himself provided there is something great, something into which his being, and all beings can go. He does not need meaning as long as such intensity has scope. Because then it is self-evident; it is meaning.”

Tags : Children Delusion Denial Enemy Fatherhood Fear God Grit Hate Love Motherhood Nietzsche Odour Parenthood Philosophy Self Motivation Smell Strength Weakness Why The World Needs Jesus
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

12. “Socrates tried to soothe us, true enough. He said there were only two possibilities. Either the soul is immortal or, after death, things would be again as blank as they were before we were born. This is not absolutely comforting either. Anyway it was natural that theology and philosophy should take the deepest interest in this. They owe it to us not to be boring themselves. On this obligation they don’t always make good. However, Kierkegaard was not a bore. I planned to examine his contribution in my master essay. In his view the primacy of the ethical over the esthetic mode was necessary to restore the balance. But enough of that. In myself I could observe the following sources of tedium: 1) The lack of a personal connection with the external world. Earlier I noted that when I was riding through France in a train last spring I looked out of the window and thought that the veil of Maya was wearing thin. And why was this? I wasn’t seeing what was there but only what everyone sees under a common directive. By this is implied that our worldview has used up nature. The rule of this view is that I, a subject, see the phenomena, the world of objects. They, however, are not necessarily in themselves objects as modern rationality defines objects. For in spirit, says Steiner, a man can step out of himself and let things speak to him about themselves, to speak about what has meaning not for him alone but also for them. Thus the sun the moon the stars will speak to nonastronomers in spite of their ignorance of science. In fact it’s high time that this happened. Ignorance of science should not keep one imprisoned in the lowest and weariest sector of being, prohibited from entering into independent relations with the creation as a whole. The educated speak of the disenchanted (a boring) world. But it is not the world, it is my own head that is disenchanted. The world cannot be disenchanted. 2) For me the self-conscious ego is the seat of boredom. This increasing, swelling, domineering, painful self-consciousness is the only rival of the political and social powers that run my life (business, technological-bureaucratic powers, the state). You have a great organized movement of life, and you have the single self, independently conscious, proud of its detachment and its absolute immunity, its stability and its power to remain unaffected by anything whatsoever — by the sufferings of others or by society or by politics or by external chaos. In a way it doesn’t give a damn. It is asked to give a damn, and we often urge it to give a damn but the curse of noncaring lies upon this painfully free consciousness. It is free from attachment to beliefs and to other souls. Cosmologies, ethical systems? It can run through them by the dozens. For to be fully conscious of oneself as an individual is also to be separated from all else. This is Hamlet’s kingdom of infinite space in a nutshell, of “words, words, words,” of “Denmark’s a prison.”

Tags : Boredom Ennui
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Humboldt's Gift

13. “You’re used to difficult women. To struggle. Perhaps you like it when they give you a bad time.” “Every treasure is guarded by dragons. That’s how you can tell it’s valuable.… Do you mind if I unbutton my collar? It seems to be pressing on an artery.”

Tags : Masochism Treasures Women
Author : Saul Bellow

14. “Brother raises a hand against brother and son against father (how terrible!) and the father also against son. And moreover it is a continuity-matter, for if the father did not strike the son, they would not be alike. It is done to perpetuate similarity. Oh, Henderson, man cannot keep still under the blows.... A hit B? B hit C?--we have not enough alphabet to cover the condition. A brave man will try to make the evil stop with him. He shall keep the blow. No man shall get it from him, and that is a sublime ambition.”

Tags : Brutality Evil Inhumanity Man S Inhumanity To Man
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Henderson the Rain King

15. “One thought-murder a day keeps the psychiatrist away.”

Tags : Existentialism Psychology True To Life
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

16. “I see that I've become a really bad correspondent. It's not that I don't think of you. You come into my thoughts often. But when you do it appears to me that I owe you a particularly grand letter. And so you end in the "warehouse of good intentions": "Can't do it now." "Then put it on hold." This is one's strategy for coping with old age, and with death--because one can't die with so many obligations in storage. Our clever species, so fertile and resourceful in denying its weaknesses.”

Tags : Correspondence Death Friendship Humanity Procrastination Weaknesses
Author : Saul Bellow

17. “He knew what retributions your devils are liable to bring for the way you treat your wife and women or behave while your father is on his deathbed, what you ought to think of your pleasure, of acting like a cockroach; he had the intelligence for the comparison. He had the intelligence to be sublime. But sublimity can't exist only as a special gift of the few, due to an accident of origin, like being born an albino. If it were, what interest would we have in it?”

Tags : Morality
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

18. “A good American makes propaganda for whatever existence has forced him to become.”

Tags : Americans Characterization
Author : Saul Bellow

19. “If I'm out of my mind, it's all right with me, thought Moses Herzog.”

Tags : Humour Jewish
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

20. “There is no limit to the amount of intelligence invested in ignorance when the need for illusion runs deep.”

Tags : Human Nature Religion
Author : Saul Bellow

21. “A man should be able to hear, and to bear, the worst that could be said of him.”

Tags : Manhood Maturity Strength Of Character
Author : Saul Bellow

22. “The Indian temperament is so excitable, you know.”

Tags : Racism
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Mr. Sammler's Planet

23. “Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”

Tags : Memories
Author : Saul Bellow

24. “And this is the unwritten history of man, his unseen, negative accomplishment, his power to do without gratification for himself provided there is something great, something into which his being, and all beings can go. He does not need meaning as long as such intensity has scope. Because then it is self-evident; it is meaning.”

Tags : Catharsis Cause Delusion Denial Fall Of Man Flaw History Hope Human Humanity Loss Man Mankind Masses Paradise Lost Politics Power Redemption Religion Revolution Spirit Strength Why The World Needs Christ
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

25. “Whatever the man’s age, history, condition, knowledge, culture, development, he had an erection. Good currency anywhere. Recognized by the Bank of England.”

Tags : Erection Erections
Author : Saul Bellow

26. “I should have written you a letter, it was too late to make the deaths of my brothers an excuse. Since they died, I wrote a book; why not a letter? A mysterious but truthful answer is that while I can gear myself up to do a novel, letters, real-life communications, are too much for me. I used to rattle them off easily enough; why is the challenge of writing to friends and acquaintances too much for me now? Because I have become such a solitary, and not in the Aristotelian sense: not a beast, not a god. Rather, a loner troubled by longings, incapable of finding a suitable language and despairing at the impossibility of composing messages in a playable key--as if I no longer understood the codes used by the estimable people who wanted to hear from me and would have so much to reply if only the impediments were taken away.”

Tags : Communications Correspondence Letters Loners Solitude
Author : Saul Bellow

27. “The ocean was waiting with grand and bitter provocations, as if it invited you to think how deep it was, how much colder than your blood or saltier, or to outguess it, to tell which were its feints or passes and which its real intentions, meaning business.”

Tags : Adventure The Ocean
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

28. “It was probably no accident that it was the cripple Hephaestus who made ingenious machines; a normal man didn't have to hoist or jack himself over hindrances by means of cranks, chains and metal parts. Then it was in the line of human advance that Einhorn could do so much.”

Tags : Disability Innovation
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

29. “Anything that just adds information you can't use is plain dangerous. Anyway, there's too much of everything of this kind, that's come home to me, too much history and culture to keep track of, too many details, too much news, too much example, too much influence, too many guys who tell you to be as they are, and all this hugeness, abundance, turbulence, Niagara Falls torrent. Which who is supposed to interpret? Me? I haven't got that much head to master it all. I get carried away. It doesn't give my feelings enough of a chance if I have to store up and become like an encyclopedia. Why, just as a question of time spent in getting prepared for life, look! a man could spent forty, fifty, sixty years like that inside the walls of his own being. And all high conversation would take place within those walls. And all achievement would stay within those walls. And all glamour too. And even hate, monstrousness, enviousness, murder, would be inside them. This would be only a terrible, hideous dream about existing. It's better to dig ditches and hit other guys with your shovel than die in the walls.”

Tags : Facts Information Knowledge
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

30. “The sun was shut up in a cold bottle.”

Tags : Metaphor
Author : Saul Bellow

31. “Myself is thus and so, and will continue thus and so. And why fight it? My balance comes from instability.”

Tags : Instability
Author : Saul Bellow

32. “Some big insect flew in and began walking on the table. I don’t know what insect it was, but it was brown, shining, and rich in structures. In the city the big universal chain of insects gets thin, but where there’s a leaf or two it’ll be represented.”

Tags : City Insects Structures
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

33. “I am not an ornithologist—I am a bird.”

Tags : Being Empathy Seeing Understanding Writing
Author : Saul Bellow

34. “What this means is not a single Tower of Babel plotted in common, but hundreds of thousands of separate beginnings, the length and breadth of America. Energetic people who build against pains and uncertainties, as weaker ones merely hope against them.”

Tags : Action Over Thought America Origins
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

35. “Herzog abandoned this theme with characteristic abruptness”

Tags : Summary Of Book
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

36. “Somewhere in every intellectual is a dumb prick.”

Tags : Intellectuals
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

37. “Emancipation resulting in madness. Unlimited freedom to choose and play a tremendous variety of roles with a lot of coarse energy.”

Tags : Emancipation Madness Unlimited Freedom
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

38. “He didn't ask "Where will you spend eternity?" as religious the-end-is-near picketers did but rather, "With what, in this modern democracy, will you meet the demands of your soul?”

Tags : Demands Democracy Soul
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Ravelstein

39. “In the history of the world many souls have been, are, and will be, and with a little reflection this is marvelous and not depressing. Many jerks are made gloomy about it, for they think quantity buries them alive. That's just crazy. Numbers are very dangerous, but the main thing about them is that they humble your pride. And that's good.”

Tags : Humility Population Growth Pride
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Henderson the Rain King

40. “She wants to live in the delirious professions, as Valéry calls them -- trades in which the main instrument is your opinion of yourself and the raw material is your reputation or standing.”

Tags : Reputation Reputation Quotes The 1 Upper Class
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

41. “He wondered at times whether he didn’t belong to a class of people secretly convinced they had an arrangement with fate; in return for docility or ingenuous good will they were to be shielded from the worst brutalities in life.”

Tags : Brutalities Brutality Fate Good Will Life
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

42. “More commonly suffering breaks people, crushes them, and is simply unilluminating. You see how gruesomely human beings are destroyed by pain, when they have the added torment of losing their humanity first, so that their death is a total defeat...”

Tags : Death Defeat Endoftheline Heartache Humanity Loss Papercuts Rape
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

43. “Although she never went to the synagogue...Grandma [Lausch], all the same, burned a candle on the anniversary of Mr. Lausch's death, threw a lump of dough on the coals when she was baking, a kind of offering, had incantations over baby teeth and stunts against the evil eye. It was kitchen religion and had nothing to do with the G-d of the Creation who turned back the waters and exploded Gomorrah, but it was on the side of religion at that.”

Tags : Augie March Humor
Author : Saul Bellow

44. “As the wicked flee when none pursueth, so does the middle-class wrestle when none contendeth. They cried out for freedom, it came down on them in a flood. Nothing remains but a few floating timbers of psychotherapy.”

Tags : America Freedom Middle Class
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Humboldt's Gift

45. “After much effort to live up to a glorious standard there came fatigue, wan hope, and boredom. I experienced extreme boredom. I saw others experiencing it too, many denying, by the way, that any such thing existed. And finally I decided that I would make boredom my subject matter. That I'd study it. That I'd become the world's leading authority on it. March, that was a red-letter day for humanity. What a field! What a domain! Titanic! Promethean! I trembled before it. I was inspired. I couldn't sleep. Ideas came in the night and I wrote them down, volumes of them. Strange that no one had gone after this systematically.Oh, melancholy, yes, but not modern boredom.”

Tags : Ambition Aspiration Boredom Curiosity Melancholy
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

46. “Many common lies and hypocrisies are like that, just out of the harmony of the moment.”

Tags : Harmony Hypocrisy Lying Rationalization
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

47. “The old continued to have one resurgence of foolishness after another, until the organism gave out altogether.”

Tags : Aging Wisdom
Author : Saul Bellow

48. “I thought to do something good by giving an interview to People, which was exceedingly foolish of me. I asked Aaron [Asher] to tell you that the Good Intentions Paving Company had fucked up again. The young interviewer turned my opinions inside out, cut out the praises and made it all sound like disavowal, denunciation and excommunication. Well, we're both used to this kind of thing, and beyond shock. In agreeing to take the call, and make a statement I was simply muddle-headed. But if I had been interviewed by an angel for the Seraphim and Cherubim Weekly I'd have said, as I actually did say to the crooked little slut, that you were one of our very best and most interesting writers. I would have added that I was greatly stimulated and entertained by your last novel, and that of course after three decades I understood perfectly well what you were saying about the writer's trade - how could I not understand, or miss suffering the same pains. Still our diagrams are different, and the briefest description of the differences would be that you seem to have accepted the Freudian explanation: A writer is motivated by his desire for fame, money and sexual opportunities. Whereas I have never taken this trinity of motives seriously. But this is an explanatory note and I don't intend to make a rabbinic occasion of it. Please accept my regrets and apologies, also my best wishes. I'm afraid there's nothing we can do about the journalists; we can only hope that they will die off as the deerflies do towards the end of August.”

Tags : Letter
Author : Saul Bellow

49. “No school without spectacular eccentrics and crazy hearts is worth attending.”

Tags : School Teachers
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Humboldt's Gift

50. “Whenever I write a dramatic poem I can't understand why the characters should ever want to be anything but poets themselves.”

Tags : Poetry Poets
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

51. “But fathers are soft on daughters. Look how Dad favors Angela. He gave her ten times more. Because she reminded him of Mae West. He was always smiling at her boobs. He wasn't aware of it. Mother and I saw it.”

Tags : Boobs Mae West
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Mr. Sammler's Planet

52. “What—in other words—would modern boredom be without terror? One of the most boring documents of all time is the thick volume of Hitler’s Table Talk. He too had people watching movies, eating pastries, and drinking coffee with Schlag while he bored them, while he discoursed theorized expounded. Everyone was perishing of staleness and fear, afraid to go to the toilet. This combination of power and boredom has never been properly examined. Boredom is an instrument of social control. Power is the power to impose boredom, to command stasis, to combine this stasis with anguish. The real tedium, deep tedium, is seasoned with terror and with death.There were even profounder questions. For instance, the history of the universe would be very boring if one tried to think of it in the ordinary way of human experience. All that time without events! Gases over and over again, and heat and particles of matter, the sun tides and winds, again this creeping development, bits added to bits, chemical accidents—whole ages in which almost nothing happens, lifeless seas, only a few crystals, a few protein compounds developing. The tardiness of evolution is so irritating to contemplate. The clumsy mistakes you see in museum fossils. How could such bones crawl, walk, run? It is agony to think of the groping of the species—all this fumbling, swamp-creeping, munching, preying, and reproduction, the boring slowness with which tissues, organs, and members developed. And then the boredom also of the emergence of the higher types and finally of mankind, the dull life of paleolithic forests, the long long incubation of intelligence, the slowness of invention, the idiocy of peasant ages. These are interesting only in review, in thought. No one could bear to experience this. The present demand is for a quick forward movement, for a summary, for life at the speed of intensest thought. As we approach, through technology, the phase of instantaneous realiza-tion, of the realization of eternal human desires or fantasies, of abolishing time and space the problem of boredom can only become more intense. The human being, more and more oppressed by the peculiar terms of his existence—one time around for each, no more than a single life per customer—has to think of the boredom of death. O those eternities of nonexistence! For people who crave continual interest and diversity, O! how boring death will be! To lie in the grave, in one place, how frightful!”

Tags : Boredom Terror
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Humboldt's Gift

53. “Anyhow, I had found something out about an unknown privation, and I realized how a general love or craving, before it is explicit or before it sees its object, manifests itself as boredom or some other kind of suffering. And what did I think of myself in relation to the great occasions, the more sizable being of these books? Why, I saw them, first of all. So suppose I wasn't created to read a great declaration, or to boss a palatinate, or send off a message to Avignon, and so on, I could see, so there nevertheless was a share for me in all that had happened. How much of a share? Why, I knew there were things that would never, because they could never, come of my reading. But this knowledge was not so different from the remote but ever-present death that sits in the corner of the loving bedroom; though it doesn't budge from the corner, you wouldn't stop your loving. Then neither would I stop my reading. I sat and read. I had no eye, ear, or interest for anything else--that is, for usual, second-order, oatmeal, mere-phenomenal, snarled-shoelace-carfare-laundry-ticket plainness, unspecified dismalness, unknown captivities; the life of despair-harness or the life of organization-habits which is meant to supplant accidents with calm abiding. Well, now, who can really expect the daily facts to go, toil or prisons to go, oatmeal and laundry tickets and the rest, and insist that all moments be raised to the greatest importance, demand that everyone breathe the pointy, star-furnished air at its highest difficulty, abolish all brick, vaultlike rooms, all dreariness, and live like prophets or gods? Why, everybody knows this triumphant life can only be periodic. So there's a schism about it, some saying only this triumphant life is real and others that only the daily facts are. For me there was no debate, and I made speed into the former.”

Tags : Books Boredom Education Inspirational Reading
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

54. “The body, she says, is subject to the force of gravity. But the soul is ruled by levity, pure.”

Tags : Gravity Levity Purity Soul
Author : Saul Bellow

55. “The human being now simply can't close his elected garment about himself. Obligations to one's fellows perhaps prevent full buttoning by artists.”

Tags : Art Artists Humanity
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Novels, 1984-2000

56. “There's this sense, you know: the impossibility of life, the provisional character and everything, the impossibility of finding anchorage, the insecurity, the hand to mouth existence, the terrible things that life does to you, and well, of course, growing is monotonous, so I try not to grow too much.”

Tags : Interview
Author : Saul Bellow

57. “Theirs was not a marriage that could last. Madeleine had never loved him. She was telling him that. 'It's painful to have to say I never loved you. I never will love you, either,' she said. 'So there's no point in going on.'Herzog said, 'I do love you, Madeleine.'Step by step, Madeleine rose in distinction, in brilliance, in insight. Her color grew very rich, and her brows, and that Byzantine nose of hers, rose, moved; her blue eyes gained by the flush that kept deepening, rising from her chest and her throat. She was in an esctasy of consciousness. It occurred to Herzog that she had beaten him so badly, her pride was so fully satisfied, that there was an overflow of strength into her intelligence. He realized that he was witnessing one of the very greatest moments of her life.”

Tags : Breakups
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

58. “It wasn't that he was specially ungenerous but that he put things off to give his generosity a longer and more significant route.”

Tags : Generosity
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

59. “Happiness can only be found if you free yourself of all other distractions.”

Tags : Distractions Happiness
Author : Saul Bellow

60. “In every community there is a class of people profoundly dangerous to the rest. I don't mean the criminals. For them we have punitive sanctions. I mean the leaders. Invariably the most dangerous people seek the power. While in the parlors of indignation the right-thinking citizen brings his heart to a boil. (p. 51)”

Tags : Danger Leaders Power
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

61. “Greatness without models? Inconceivable. One could not be the thing itself - Reality. One must be satisfied with symbols. Make it the object of imitation to reach and release the high qualities. Make peace therefore with intermediacy and representations. Otherwise the individual must be the failure he now sees and knows himself to be.”

Tags : Imitation Originality
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Mr. Sammler's Planet

62. “Shall I run back into the desert ... and stay there until the devil has passed out of me and I am fit to meet human kind again without driving it to despair at the first look? I haven't had enough desert yet.”

Tags : Desert Despair Introspection Reflection
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Henderson the Rain King

63. “As for Sono, she was trying to instruct him, to show how a man should treat a woman. The pride of the peacock, the lust of the goat, and the wrath of the lion are the glory and wisdom of God.”

Tags : Sex Appeal Women And Men
Author : Saul Bellow

64. “Wie Gott in Frankreich'' was the expression used by the Jews of Eastern Europe to describe perfect happiness. I puzzled over this simile for many years, and I think I can interpret it now. God would be perfectly happy in France because he would not be troubled by prayers, observances, blessings and demands for the interpretation of difficult dietary questions. Surrounded by unbelievers He too could relax toward evening, just as thousands of Parisians do at their favorite cafes. There are few things more pleasant, more civilized than a tranquil terrasse at dusk.”

Tags : Paris
Author : Saul Bellow

65. “Every other man spoke a language entirely his own, which he had figured out by private thinking; he had his own ideas and peculiar ways. If you wanted to talk about a glass of water, you had to start back with God creating the heavens and earth; the apple; Abraham; Moses and Jesus; Rome; the Middle Ages; gunpowder; the Revolution; back to Newton; up to Einstein; then war and Lenin and Hitler. After reviewing this and getting it all straight again you could proceed to talk about a glass of water. "I'm fainting, please get me a little water." You were lucky even then to make yourself understood. And this happened over and over and over with everyone you met. You had to translate and translate, explain and explain, back and forth, and it was the punishment of hell itself not to understand or be understood.”

Tags : Language Understanding
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Seize the Day

66. “The flesh would shrink and go, the blood would dry, but no one believes in his mind of minds or heart of hearts that the pictures do stop.”

Tags : Death And Dying Life And Death Realization
Author : Saul Bellow

67. “A writer is a reader moved to emulation.”

Tags : Reading Readers Writers
Author : Saul Bellow

68. “With one long breath, caught and held in his chest, he fought his sadness over his solitary life. Don't cry, you idiot! Live or die, but don't poison everything...”

Tags : Death Life Solitude
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

69. “It is not easy to find the right way. You must learn to govern yourself, you must learn autonomy, you must manage your freedom or drown in it. You may strain the will after Experience because you need it for your books. Or you may perish under the heavy weight of Culture. You may make a fool of yourself anywhere. You may find illumination anywhere—in the gutter, in the college, in the corporation, in a submarine, in the library. No one man holds a patent on it. No man knows what it is likely to tell him to do.”

Tags : On Writing Self Control
Author : Saul Bellow

70. “Bringing people into the here-and-now. The real universe. That's the present moment. The past is no good to us. The future is full of anxiety. Only the present is real--the here-and-now. Seize the day.”

Tags : Present
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Seize the Day

71. “All human accomplishment has this same origin, identically. Imagination is a force of nature. Is this not enough to make a person full of ecstasy? Imagination, imagination, imagination! It converts to actual. It sustains, it alters, it redeems!”

Tags : Imagination
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Henderson the Rain King

72. “People don't realize how much they are in the grip of ideas. We live among ideas much more than we live in nature.”

Tags : Insightful
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Conversations with Saul Bellow

73. “Every treasure is guarded by dragons. That's how you can tell it's valuable.”

Tags : Treasure Value
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

74. “A professor from UBC observed that he agreed with Alexander Pope about the ultimate unreality of evil. Seen from the highest point of metaphysics. To a rational mind, nothing bad ever really happens. He was talking high-minded balls. Twaddle! I thought. I said, 'Oh? Do you mean that every gas chamber has a silver lining?”

Tags : Evil Gallows Humour Holocaust Jewish Metaphysics
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Him With His Foot in His Mouth and Other Stories

75. “Even if I am not the honestest type in the world I don't want to lie more than is average.”

Tags : Honesty Lying
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

76. “The enemy is noise. By noise I mean not simply the noise of technology, the noise of money or advertising and promotion, the noise of the media, the noise of miseducation, but the terrible excitement and distraction generated by the crises of modern life. Mind, I don't say that philistinism is gone. It is not. It has found many disguises, some highly artistic and peculiarly insidious. But the noise of life is the great threat. Contributing to it are real and unreal issues, ideologies, rationalizations, errors, delusions, nonsituations that look real, nonquestions demanding consideration, opinions, analyses in the press, on the air, expertise, inside dope, factional disagreement, official rhetoric, information—in short, the sounds of the public sphere, the din of politics, the turbulence and agitation that set in about 1914 and have now reached an intolerable volume.”

Tags : Noise On Writing
Author : Saul Bellow

77. “If you could arrange to avoid that routine job-world, you were an intellectual or an artist. Too restless, tremorous, agitated, too mad to sit at a desk eight hours a day, you needed an institution - a higher institution.”

Tags : Education Teaching
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Humboldt's Gift

78. “But enough of that--here I am. Hineni! How marvelously beautiful it is today. He stopped in the overgrown yard, shut his eyes in the sun, against flashes of crimson, and drew in the odors of catalpa-bells, soil, honeysuckle, wild onions, and herbs.”

Tags : Here I Am Hineni Marvelously Beautiful
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

79. “You never have to change anything you get up in the middle of the night to write.”

Tags : Writing Life
Author : Saul Bellow

80. “The earth was a grave: our life was lent to it by its elements and had to be returned: a time came when the simple elements seemed to long for release from the complicated forms of life, when every element of every cell said, "Enough!" The planet was our mother and our burial ground. No wonder the human spirit wished to leave. Leave this prolific belly. Leave also this great tomb. Passion for the infinite caused by the terror, by timor mortis, needed material appeasement.”

Tags : Death Earth Infinite
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Mr. Sammler's Planet

81. “If you could have confidence in nature you would not have to fear. It would keep you up. Creative is nature. Rapid. Lavish. Inspirational. It shapes leaves. It rolls the waters of the earth. Man is the chief of this. All creations are his just inheritance. You don't know what you've got within you. A person either creates or he destroys. There is no neutrality.”

Tags : Human Nature Nature Nature Of Man
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Seize the Day

82. “God may save all, but human rescue is only for a few.”

Tags : Existential Redemption Salvation
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March

83. “O Lord! he concluded, forgive all these trespasses. Lead me not into Penn Station.”

Tags : Humorous Quotes
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : Herzog

84. “She was what we used to call a suicide blonde-- dyed by her own hand.”

Tags : Blonde Humor
Author : Saul Bellow

85. “Towards the end of your life you have something like a pain schedule to fill out—a long schedule like a federal document, only it's your pain schedule. Endless categories. First, physical causes—like arthritis, gallstones, menstrual cramps. New category, injured vanity, betrayal, swindle, injustice. But the hardest items of all have to do with love. The question then is: So why does everybody persist? If love cuts them up so much....”

Tags : Crisis Life Midlife Crisis Pain Schedule
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : More Die of Heartbreak

86. “Death is going to take the boundaries away from us, that we should no more be persons. That's what death is about. When that is what life also wants to be about, how can you feel except rebellious?”

Tags : Death Life Rebellion
Author : Saul Bellow
Source : The Adventures of Augie March