Literature Quotes & Sayings

Discover what writers have said about literature...

Portrait of the author Henry Miller (1891 - 1980), wearing a white shirt, California, mid twentieth century.
Anthony Barboza / Contributor/ Archive Photos/ Getty Images

What have writers said about literature? How has literature affected them? What causes writers to continue to attempt to make a difference with words, creating new worlds and experiences in literature? Read these quotes about literature. Find out what writers from around the world have thought of creating works of art.

  • "Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music-the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself."
    - Henry Miller

  • "Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree."
    - Ezra Pound

  • "He knew everything about literature except how to enjoy it."
    - Joseph Heller

  • "I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature."
    - John Steinbeck

  • "It is in literature that the concrete outlook of humanity receives its expression."
    - Alfred North Whitehead

  • "It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature."
    - Henry James

  • "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

  • "Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose. The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac."
    - Oscar Wilde

  • "Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity."
    - G. K. Chesterton

  • "Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others."
    - Virginia Woolf

  • "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

  • "The crown of literature is poetry."
    - William Somerset Maugham

  • "The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation."
    - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • "The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean."
    - Robert Louis Stevenson

  • "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

  • "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

  • "When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. But if you have not a pen, I suppose you must scratch any way you can."
    - Samuel Lover

  • "While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living."
    - Cyril Connolly