Literature About Literature Quotes

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1. “He closed the pages and stuffed them back into his jacket. Keeping his eyes cast downwards as he sipped his wine, he pulled out and lit a cigarette – almost a post-coital gesture. from The Willow Lake Group by Kelly Proudfoot”

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Source : The Willow Lake Group

2. “There are some people about whom it is difficult to say anything which would describe them immediately and fully in their most typical and characteristic aspects; these are the people who are usually called "ordinary" and accounted as "the majority," and who actually do make up the great majority of society. In their novels and stories writers most often try to choose and present vividly and artistically social types which are extremely seldom encountered in real life, and which are nevertheless more real than real life itself. Podkolyosin, viewed as a type, in perhaps exaggerated, but he is hardly unknown. How many clever people having learned from Gogol about Podkolyosin at once discover that great numbers of their friends bear a terrific resemblance to Podkolyosin. They knew before Gogol that their friends were like Podkolyosin, except they did not know yet that that was their name...Nevertheless the question remains before us: what is the novelist to do with the absolutely "ordinary" people, and how can he present them to readers so that they are at all interesting? To leave them out of a story completely is not possible, because ordinary people are at every moment, by and large, the necessary links in the chain of human affairs; leaving them out, therefore, means to destroy credibility. To fill a novel entirely with types or, simply for the sake of interest, strange and unheard-of people, would be improbable and most likely not even interesting. In our opinion the writer must try to find interesting and informative touches even among commonplace people. When, for example, the very nature of certain ordinary persons consists precisely of their perpetual and unvarying ordinariness, or, better still, when in spite of their most strenuous efforts to life themselves out of the rut of ordinariness and routine, then such persons acquire a certain character of their own-the typical character of mediocrity which refuses to remain what it is and desires at all costs to become original and independent, without having the slightest capacity for independence.”

Tags : Art Dostoevsky Dostoyevsky Literature Literature About Literature Ordinariness Ordinary People The Idiot

3. “Journey through the Power of the Rainbow represents a condensed compendium of literary efforts from a life dedicated to transforming the themes of injustice, grief, and despair that we all encounter during some unavoidable point of our existence into a sustainable life-affirming poetics of passionate creativity, empowered spiritual vision, and inspired commitment.”

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Author : Aberjhani
Source : Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry

4. “Every object strives for its proper place. A book seeks to be near its truest admirer. Just as this helpless moth seeks to be near the candle that infatuates him.”

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Author : Vikram Seth
Source : A Suitable Boy

5. “As Borges has taught us, all the books in the library are contemporary. Great poems are like granaries: they are always ready to enlarge their store.”

Tags : Borges Literature Literature About Literature Literature In Translation Poetry Rilke Writing Writing Craft Writing Process
Source : Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translation

6. “Whenever she opened a scientific book and saw whole paragraphs of incomprehensible words and symbols, she felt a sense of wonder at the great territories of learning that lay beyond her - the sum of so many noble and purposive attempts to make objective sense of the world.”

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Author : Vikram Seth
Source : A Suitable Boy

7. “But my research had taught me that the tissue of contradictions that was my personality was itself, at best, a poem, where “poem” is understood as referring to a failure of language to be equal to the possibilities it figures; only then could my fraudulence be a project and not merely a pathology; only then could my distance from myself be redescribed as critical, aesthetic, as opposed to a side effect of what experts might call my substance problem, felicitous phrase, the origins of which lay not in my desire to evade reality, but in my desire to have a chemical excuse for reality’s unavailability.”

Tags : Literature About Literature
Author : Ben Lerner
Source : Leaving the Atocha Station

8. “If I was a poet, I had become one because poetry, more intensely than any other practice, could not evade its anachronism and marginality and so constituted a kind of acknowledgment of my own preposterousness, admitting my bad faith in good faith, so to speak.”

Tags : Literature About Literature Self Doubt
Author : Ben Lerner
Source : Leaving the Atocha Station

9. “She saw how the mind makes forever, in order to store the things it had already lost.”

Tags : Literature About Literature Memory The Mind

10. “The force of Dante's poetry resonated most in those who did not confess the Catholic faith, for believers would inevitably have quibbles with Dante's theology. But for those most distant theologically, Dante's faith was so perfect, so unyielding, that a reader found himself compelled by the poetry to take it all to heart.”

Tags : Literature About Literature
Author : Matthew Pearl
Source : The Dante Club

11. “When I spoke to her in Spanish I was not translating, I was not thinking my thoughts in English first, but I was nevertheless outside the language I was speaking, building simple sentences with the blocks I’d memorized, not communicating through a fluid medium.”

Tags : Literature About Literature Translation
Author : Ben Lerner
Source : Leaving the Atocha Station

12. “It’s hard to say something about Pushkin to a person who doesn’t know anything about him. Pushkin is a great poet. Napoleon is not as great as Pushkin. Bismarck compared to Pushkin is a nobody. And the Alexanders, First, Second and Third, are just little kids compared to Pushkin. In fact, compared to Pushkin, all people are little kids, except Gogol. Compared to him, Pushkin is a little kid.And so, instead of writing about Pushkin, I would rather write about Gogol.Although, Gogol is so great that not a thing can be written about him, so I'll write about Pushkin after all.Yet, after Gogol, it’s a shame to have to write about Pushkin. But you can’t write anything about Gogol. So I’d rather not write anything about anyone.”

Tags : Gogol Literature Literature About Literature Pushkin
Author : Daniil Kharms
Source : Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings

13. “I beg you not to read anything threatening, or even prophetic, into my words, Mr. Clarke. Simply take them as a description, or a 'law' if you like. This circle around a law is a world in miniature within our world, which itself is a miniature. We create the world to fit in with our personal system, so that man can become world. In other words, so that the miniature can become miniature. But miniatures have their own laws, you know. It is not only space which can become minute: it also happens to the corresponding time, which becomes extremely fast. That is why life is so short.”

Tags : Literature About Literature
Author : César Aira
Source : The Hare

14. “Literature sustains life because it captures death in its forward march. Clickety-clickety-clack, the wheels go round and round ...”

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Source : In Conversation

15. “In this night too, in this night of his mortal eyes into which he was now descending, love and danger were again waiting...a murmur of glory and hexameters, of men defending a temple the gods will not save, and of black vessels searching the sea for a beloved isle;the murmor of the Odysseys and Iliads it was his destiny to sing and leave echoing concavely in the memory of man.These things we know, but not those he felt descending into the last shade of all.”

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16. “Poison or elixir, narcotic or aphrodisiac, whatever it was, this flower, relic of a day in the life of an accidental writer, an inadvertent counterfeiter leaving his traces in code, the birds were coming to try it, performing a dance for no one and flying up toward the moon.”

Tags : Literature About Literature
Author : César Aira
Source : Varamo

17. “A few birds flew out from the mountains and glided for a while without sound. Standing out against the sky on high slopes beyond a range of low hills, they saw an endless herd of deer, rendered mute by distance. The landscape was reminiscent of a cardboard cutout, but on a huge scale, which gave the impression they were the ones who had become miniatures…All three of them were equally lost.”

Tags : Literature About Literature
Author : César Aira
Source : The Hare

18. “Escolhia A Metamorfose em vez de o Processo, escolha Bartleby em vez de Moby Dick, escolhia Um Coração Simples em vez de Bouvard e Pécuchet, e Um Conto de Natal em vez de Um conto de duas cidades ou de As aventuras do sr. Picwick. Que triste paradoxo, pensou Amalfitano. Nem mais os farmacêuticos ilustrados se atrevem a grandes obras, imperfeitas, torrenciais, as que abrem caminhos no desconhecido. Escolhem os exercícios perfeitos dos grandes mestres. Ou o que dá na mesma: querem ver os grandes mestres em sessões de treino de esgrima, mas não querem saber dos combates de verdade, nos quais os grandes mestres lutam contra aquilo, esse aquilo que atemoriza a todos nós, esses aquilo que acovarda e põe na defensiva, e há sangue e ferimentos mortais e fetidez.”

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19. “There is only one story.”

Tags : Literature About Literature Writing

20. “A obra literária é uma dessas mínimas porções nas quais o existente se cristaliza numa forma, adquire um sentido, que não é fixo, nem definido, nem enrijecido numa imobilidade mineral, mas tão vivo quanto um organismo.”

Tags : Literature About Literature
Author : Italo Calvino

21. “Y así, del mismo modo que un amateur de las letras no debe cometer la imprudencia de embarcarse y tratar de cruzar el piélago literario, así una aficionada a las flores no tiene por qué ser una experta jardinera.”

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Source : El pensionado de Neuwelke

22. “Sim, ela vai esquecer a igreja branca e dourada como tinha esquecido tantas outras. Aquela curiosidade que havia mantido quase intacta lhe parecia com frequência como uma sobrevivência obstinada: mas de que servia se as lembranças se reduzem a poeira? A lua brilhava, como a estrelinha que a acompanha fielmente, e Nicole se lembrou dos versos bonitos de Aucassin e Nicolette: “Estrelinha, eu te vi/ Que a lua traz a si.” Esta é a vantagem da literatura, pensou ela: nós guardamos as palavras conosco. As imagens murcham, deformam-se, apagam-se. Mas ela reencontrava as velhas palavras em suas cordas vocais, quase como foram escritas. As palavras os uniam aos séculos passados, quando os astros brilhavam exatamente como hoje. E esse renascimento e essa permanência lhe davam uma impressão de eternidade.”

Tags : Literatura Literature Literature About Literature
Source : Misverstand in Moskou

23. “Sometimes, I marvel at the wonderof how graceful words seem to appearpen to paper; in others' handsAnd I think to myself-oh, how obsolete my existence is,to be unable to do the same.”

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Author : Joy Chua

24. “Listen. All great literature is about what a bummer it is to be a human being.”

Tags : Bummer Literature About Literature Vonnegut
Author : Kurt Vonnegut

25. “You can't write an honest novel about race in this country. If you write about how people are really affected by race, it'll be too obvious. Black writers who do literary fiction in this country, all three of them, not the ten thousand who write those bullshit ghetto books with the bright covers, have two choices: they can do precious or they can do pretentious. When you do neither, nobody knows what to do with you. So if you're going to write about race, you have to make sure it's so lyrical and subtle that the reader who doesn't read between the lines won't even know it's about race. You know, a Proustian meditation, all watery and fuzzy, that at the end just leaves you feeling watery and fuzzy.""Or just find a white writer. White writers can be blunt about race and get all activist because their anger isn't threatening.”

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Source : Americanah