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robmandu's avatar

Share a good quote from literature with us?

Asked by robmandu (21306points) June 11th, 2008

Something someone said in a book/novel that you liked. Funny, smart, esoteric, whatever.

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40 Answers

PupnTaco's avatar

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

—Douglas Adams

eambos's avatar

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
—Best opening line ever, from Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities.

robmandu's avatar

“Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas.”

— from Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale

b's avatar

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”
-Ford Prefect

SuperMouse's avatar

“To have a reason to get up in the morning, a bumper-sticker if you will.” Judith Guest, Ordinary People

phoenyx's avatar

“How can we remember our ignorance, which our growth requires, when we are using our knowledge all the time?”

gailcalled's avatar

@Eamos: I call your Tale with “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” (Pride and Prejudice:

and raise you “Call me Ishmael.” Moby Dick.

We did this question a while back with terrific answers. Of course, I can’t find it.

Foolaholic's avatar

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

playthebanjo's avatar

“It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.” Terry Pratchett

Kay's avatar

“Even though she could never return it, she showed me the difference between inventing a lover and falling in love. The one is about you, the other about someone else.”

-from The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

jackf1946's avatar

May we never forget—and always teach—this simple truth from Descartes:
“I think, therefore I am.”

phoenyx's avatar

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”
—Terry Pratchett

eambos's avatar

@gail: May I at least include it as one of the best opening lines ever?

Randy's avatar

“Sticking feathers up you butt does not make you a chicken.”
-from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

janbb's avatar

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Closing line from Ftizgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

How about a thread on great last lines from novels?

mirza's avatar

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Loosing All Hope Is Freedom

“The people who make great things in the world are not balanced. They are obsessive, compulsive maniacs.”

“What we once did “for the sake of God’ we now do for the sake of money…. This is what at present gives the highest feeling of power.”

phoenyx's avatar

“To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”
—Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

(I figured every thread like this needed an Oscar Wilde quote)

tupara's avatar

“Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane” Philip K. Dick ‘Valis’.

gailcalled's avatar

@phoenyx: Thank you. There are some duplicates there but some not mentioned here. What tag did you use to find it?

ljs22's avatar

“To my intense surprise it had dawned upon me that without in the least intending to I had written nothing more nor less than a success story. For all the persons with whom I have been concerned got what they wanted: Elliot social eminence, Isabel and assured position; Sophie death; and Larry happiness. And however superciliously the highbrows carp, we the public in our heart of hearts all like a success story.”

~From the conclusion to The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham

gailcalled's avatar

@Eambos: I would rate mine and yours in the top ten; all tied for first place. And check out the answers on @phoenyx’ link.

phoenyx's avatar

gailcalled: I’ve started using Google for my searches.

gailcalled's avatar

@phoenyx: well, that link is scary. First name I see is mine.

phoenyx's avatar

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
—Isaac Asimov, Foundation

jlm11f's avatar

Heaven hath no rage like a love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.

ezraglenn's avatar

“And Polo said: “The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”

Final paragraph of Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.

“Once a bitch, always a bitch.”

William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

“I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
by the false azure of the windowpane”

Vladimir Nabokov, opening line, Pale Fire

”‘What is this terror? what is this ecstasy?’ He thought to himself. ‘What is it that fills me with extraordinary excitement? It is Clarissa,’ he said. For there she was.”

Last line, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

ezraglenn's avatar

Also, from Ulysses, ”...yes I said yes I will yes.”
-James Joyce

[Bonus Question: Also from Joyce—
“Pull out his eyes, apologize
apologize, pull out his eyes.”
What book is it from?
(no googling)]

gailcalled's avatar

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?

ezraglenn's avatar

ding. correct!

janbb's avatar

@ gailcalled – I was gonna say Portrait of the Artist but you got there first!

gailcalled's avatar

Ezra; so it is really ding, ding -right?

buster's avatar

Revelation 9:17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulphur yellow: and the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone.

thebeadholder's avatar

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
“And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed)!”
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

-Theodore Seuss Geisel, author and writer of books for children

Optimism101's avatar

“love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence”
H.L. Mencken

mirza's avatar

I have this vision and I am not quiet sure what it is and then I kind of fake it until I make it – Mirza’s third unpublished book

Foolaholic's avatar

Just found myself running to the bookshelf to remember something!


“This is where gods play games with the lives of men, on a board which is at one and the same time a simple playing area and the entire world. And Fate always wins. Most of the gods throw dice but Fate plays chess, and you don’t find out until too late that he’s been using two queens all along.”
-from Interesting Times, by Terry Pratchett

gailcalled's avatar

Albert Einstein: “God does not play dice with the Universe.” Easier to remember than Pratchett’s.

@Mirza; nice maxim (quite) and bag the kind of; better meter and tidier.

phoenyx's avatar

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and to be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”
—Thoreau, Walden

Carly's avatar

“One thing’s sure and nothing’s surer. The rich get richer and the poor get – children.”
– from The Great Gatsby

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