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Quiz Monkey
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Arts & Entertainment Literature Quotations Opening lines Closing lines Other

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Quotations from Literature

What is literature?

There is another page on this website, in the People section, entitled Quotations. This covers mostly (but not exclusively) things that people have said, rather than things they've written (which are mostly here).

But there is a grey area, involving things that people have written but which express their personal opinions or philosophy. These are generally on the other page; this page is mainly about quotations from fictional works (including plays).

I have however included some political or philosophical quotations on this page, where I think the title of the document might make the subject of a question – for example, here and here – and indeed here.

See also Poems (for quotations from poems).

Opening lines

Quotation Author Title
Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!" Click for more information
The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Click to show or hide the answer
It was the day my grandmother exploded. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up ... Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Nothing to be done (play) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
The great fish moved silently through the night water ... Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to. (Travel book) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
al freír de los huevos lo verá ‎("you will see it when you fry the eggs") Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
The drought had lasted for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
These two very old people are the father and mother of Mr. Bucket. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
"I will not ... drink more than 14 alcohol units a week" is the first on a list of New Year's resolutions that opens Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
"9st 3 (but post–Christmas)" is the first dated entry in
A squat grey building of only thirty four storeys. Over the main entrance the words, Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre ... Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Call me Ishmael. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
I was born in the city of Bombay ... once upon a time. No, that won't do ... Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
To begin at the beginning, it is spring, a moonless night in the small town, starless and bible black (spoken by the narrator) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
When in the course of human events ... Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Arma virumque cano (Arms and the man I sing) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer

Closing lines

Quotation Author Title
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to gain. Working men of all countries, unite! Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Click to show or hide the answer
Il faut cultiver notre jardin (We must cultivate our garden) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer

Other

Quotation Author Title
When I am dead, I hope it may be said / 'His sins were scarlet, but his books were read' Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Reader, I married him. (Opening sentence of Chapter XXXVIII, 'Conclusion'; "I" refers to the title character) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results (often misattributed to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, etc. This is the first known use) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the number by which the dead outnumber the living Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast / To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Very flat, Norfolk (play) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
No man is an island, entire of itself Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee
To his right were two stately gates of iron fantastically wrought, supported by stone pillars on whose summit stood griffins of black marble embracing coats of arms and banners inscribed with the device 'Per Ardua ad Astra' (origin of the RAF motto) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
… She–who–must–be–obeyed … (translation of the name by which a mysterious white queen is known to a tribe of African natives – quoted by John Mortimer in Rumpole's 'pet' name for his wife) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
He would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Some men are born mediocre; some men achieve mediocrity; and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them
The great masses of the people … will more easily fall victim to a great lie than to a small one. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
[the life of man, in a state of war, is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (It is sweet and honourable to die for one's country – quoted by Wilfred Owen in the title of one of his best–known poems) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Three quarks for Muster Mark! / Sure he has not got much of a bark / And sure any he has it's all beside the mark Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Was this the face that launched a thousand ships / And burnt the topless towers of Ilium? Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of Communism Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Click to show or hide the answer
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Slogans from Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Walk? Not bloody likely. I'm going in a taxi (1916 play) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
I am in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders. All my pupils are the crème de la crème. Give me a girl of impressionable age, and she is mine for life (spoken by the eponymous character) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive (1878 essay) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles (All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune … to lose both seems like carelessness Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
I can resist everything except temptation. Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are either well–written or badly–written. That is all. (from the Preface) Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer
There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

© Haydn Thompson 2017–18