Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quotes: Literature (1)

Literature 721 Literature: thought, fancy, feeling and ideas. "Edward, in the dearth of clients, was accustomed to employ his much leisure in assisting the growth of American literature; to which good cause he had contributed not a few quires of the finest letter paper, containing some thought, some fancy, some depth of feeling, together with a young writer’s abundance of conceits." Hawthorne: "The Antique Ring"

Literature 1020 The slow growth of American literature. "How slowly our literature grows up!" Hawthorne: "P's Correspondence"

Literature 299 Realism distorts reality. "Realism is a corruption of reality." Wallace Stevens. 1957. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Literature 301 Characters in fiction are unified in their acts; people in reality act uncharacteristically. "The main difference between living people and fictitious characters is that the writer takes great pains to give the characters coherence and inner unity, whereas the living people may go to extremes of incoherence because their physical existence holds them together." Hugo Von Hofmannsthal. 1922. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Literature 302 Literature demonstrates the self against society. "The function of literature…has been to make us aware of the particularity of selves, and the high authority of the self in its quarrel with its society and its culture…in that sense subversive." Lionel Trilling. 1966. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Literature 103 Literature: pleasure and instruction. " …by giving pleasure and at the same time instructing." Horace. Latin. Dictionary of Foreign Terms

Literature 33 The universality of human character. "We have our forefathers and great-grand-dames all before us, as they were in Chaucer’s days: Their general characters are still remaining in mankind, and even in England, though they are called by other names than those of Monks and Friars, and Canons, and Lady Abbesses, and Nuns; for mankind is ever the same, and nothing lost out of nature...." John Dryden. “Chaucer.” 1700. Gross, ed. Essays.

Literature 151 What is a writer? "Small-town philosophy: Harold Bell Wright is a lovely writer, and he teaches such good morals in his novels, and folks say he’s made prett’ near a million dollars out of ‘em." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.

Literature 168 Highbrows talk about literature; lowbrows talk about the weather. "Every time he speaks of the weather you jump him because he ain’t talking about poetry or Gertie [Goethe] or some other highbrow junk." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.

Literature 327 Writers diagnose; they do not supply solutions. Mark Shorer, Afterword: "Are we justified that a writer is not only diagnostician, but the healer too?" Lewis, Babbitt.

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