American Literature Quotes

Quotes tagged as "american-literature" Showing 1-30 of 80
Ernest Hemingway
“I am always in love.”
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

Ernest Hemingway
“Most people were heartless about turtles because a turtle’s heart will beat for hours after it has been cut up and butchered. But the old man thought, I have such a heart too.”
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway
“He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and the lions on the beach. They played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them as he loved the boy. He never dreamed about the boy. He simply woke, looked out the open door at the moon and unrolled his trousers and put them on.”
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway
“Perhaps as you went along you did learn something. I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.”
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

Edgar Allan Poe
“Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro' the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold–too cold for me-
There pass'd, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.”
Edgar Allan Poe , The Complete Poetry

Mark Twain
“Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons  attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.”
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

John Fante
“I have seen them stagger out of their movie palaces and blink their empty eyes in the face of reality once more, and stagger home, to read the Times, to find out what's going on in the world. I have vomited at their newspapers, read their literature, observed their customs, eaten their food, desired their women, gaped at their art. But I am poor, and my name ends with a soft vowel, and they hate me and my father, and my father's father, and they would have my blood and put me down, but they are old now, dying in the sun and in the hot dust of the road, and I am young and full of hope and love for my country and my times, and when I say Greaser to you it is not my heart that speaks, but the quivering of an old wound, and I am ashamed of the terrible thing I have done.”
John Fante, Ask the Dust

Emily Hahn
“The Bohemian who tires of life, who gives up by retirement into insamity or suicide, is not necessarily one who had failed in what he wants to express.”
Emily Hahn, Romantic Rebels: An Informal History of Bohemianism in America

Laura Bush
“There is nothing political about American literature.”
Laura Bush

“Our fiction is not merely in flight from the physical data of the actual world…it is, bewilderingly and embarrassingly, a gothic fiction, nonrealistic and negative, sadist and melodramatic – a literature of darkness and the grotesque in a land of light and affirmation…our classic [American] literature is a literature of horror for boys”
Leslie Fielder

E.L. Doctorow
“I can assure you Ernest Hemingway was wrong when he said modern American literature began with Huckleberry Finn. It begins with Moby-Dick, the book that swallowed European civilization whole.”
E.L. Doctorow

Mark Twain
“I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.”
Mark Twain

Don DeLillo
“We are not native. We have no generations of Americans behind us. We have roots elsewhere. We are looking in from the outside. To me, that seems to be perfectly natural.”
Don DeLillo

John  Smith
“Nay, so great was our famine that a Salvage we slew and buried, the poorer sort took him up again and eat him; and so did divers one another, boyled and stewed with roots and herbs. And one amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her, before it was knowne, for which hee was executed, as hee well deserved. Now whether shee was better roasted, boyled, or carbonado'd I know not, but of such a dish as powdered wife I never heard of.”
John Smith, Pocahontas: My Own Story

Mary Beth Keane
“Speaking was a habit she'd gotten into years ago, in the distant past, and now that she'd stopped she felt no desire to start again. It was pointless anyway - all the blah-blah-blabbing and, still, no one understood each other.”
Mary Beth Keane, Ask Again, Yes

Henry Miller
“No greater humiliation, it seems to me, was meted out to any man than Montezuma; no race was ever more ruthlessly wiped out that the American Indian; no land was ever raped in a bloody and foul way than California was by the gold diggers. I blush to think of our origins—our hands are steeped in blood and crime.”
Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn

Emily Henry
“I am sure it is something really groundbreaking and important, Totally new and fresh. Like a story about a disillusioned white guy, wandering the world, misunderstood and coldly horny.”
Emily Henry, Beach Read

James Baldwin
“Privately, we cannot stand our lives and dare not examine them; domestically, we take no responsibility for (and no pride in) what goes on in our country; and internationally, for millions of people, we are an unmitigated disaster.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Theodore Dreiser
“The mood of Mason throughout the entire direct examination was that of a restless harrier anxious to be off at the heels of its prey— of a foxhound within the last leap of its kill. A keen and surging desire to shatter this testimony, to show it to be from start to finish the tissue of lies that in part at least it was, now animated him. And no sooner had Jephson concluded than he leaped up and confronted Clyde, who, seeing him blazing with this desire to undo him, felt as though he was about to be physically attacked.

Theodore Dreiser. An American Tragedy”
Theodore Dreiser

“We dare not be original; our American Pine must be cut to the trim pattern of the English Yew, though the Pine bleed at every clip. This poet tunes his lyre at the harp of Goethe, Milton, Pope, or Tennyson. His songs might better be sung on the Rhine than the Kennebec. They are not American in form or feeling; they have not the breath of our air; the smell of our ground is not in them. Hence our poet seems cold and poor. He loves the old mythology; talks about Pluto—the Greek devil,—— the Fates and Furies—witches of old time in Greece,—-but would blush to use our mythology, or breathe the name in verse of our Devil, or our own Witches, lest he should be thought to believe what he wrote. The mother and sisters, who with many a pinch and pain sent the hopeful boyto college, must turn over the Classical Dictionary before they can find out what the youth would be at in his rhymes. Our Poet is not deep enough to see that Aphrodite came from the ordinary waters, that Homer only hitched into rhythm and furnished the accomplishment of verse to street talk, nursery tales, and old men’s gossip, in the Ionian towns; he thinks what is common is unclean. So he sings of Corinth and Athens, which he never saw, but has not a word to say of Boston, and Fall River, and Baltimore, and New York, which are just as meet for song. He raves of Thermopylae and
Marathon, with never a word for Lexington and Bunkerhill, for Cowpens, and Lundy’s Lane, and Bemis’s Heights. He loves to tell of the Ilyssus, of “ smooth sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal reeds,” yet sings not of the Petapsco, the Susquehannah, the Aroostook, and the Willimantick. He prates of the narcissus, and the daisy, never of American dandelions andbue-eyed grass; he dwells on the lark and the nightingale, but has not a thought for the brown thrasher and the bobolink, who every morning in June rain down such showers of melody on his affected head. What a lesson Burns teaches us addressing his “rough bur thistle,” his daisy, “wee crimson tippit thing,” and finding marvellous poetry in the mouse whose nest his plough turned over! Nay, how beautifully has even our sweet Poet sung of our own Green river, our waterfowl,of the blue and fringed gentian, the glory of autumnal days.”
Massachussetts Quarterly Review, 1849

Van Wyck Brooks
“Eschew the skylark and the nightingale, birds that Audubon never found. A national literature ought to be built, as the robin builds its nest, out of the twigs and straws of one's native meadows.”
Van Wyck Brooks, The Flowering of New England

Toni Morrison
“Autonomy, newness, difference, authority, absolute power: these are the major themes and concerns of American literature, and each one is made possible, shaped, and activated by a complex awareness and use of a constituted Africanism that, deployed as rawness and savagery, provided the staging ground and arena for the elaboration of that quintessential American identity.”
Toni Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations

Jack London
“It was a habit he developed, of incubating and maturing his thought upon a subject, and of then rushing into the type-writer with it.  That it did not see print was a matter a small moment with him.  The writing of it was the culminating act of a long mental process, the drawing together of scattered threads of thought and the final generalizing upon all the data with which his mind was burdened.  To write such an article was the conscious effort by which he freed his mind and made it ready for fresh material and problems.”
Jack London, Martin Eden

James Baldwin
“Birden Giovanni'nin beni neden istediğini, neden bu son sığınağına getirdiğini anladım. Bu odayı yıkacak, Giovanni'ye yeni ve daha iyi bir yaşam armağan edecektim. Bu yaşam ancak benim kendi yaşamım olabilirdi ve Giovanni'nin yaşamını değiştirebilmesi için benim yaşamımın da bu odanın bir parçası olması gerekecekti.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

James Baldwin
“İnsanlar her şeye kötü bir sıfat yakıştırmaktan hoşlanırlar. Bu sıfatları kullanmadıkları tek zaman, kendileriyle ilgili kötü bir şey anlattıkları zamanlardır.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

Walt Whitman
“But to bring perhaps from afar what is already founded,
To give it our own identity, average, limitless, free,
To fill the gross the torpid bulk with vital religious fire,
Not to repel or destroy so much as accept, fuse, rehabilitate,
To obey as well as command, to follow more than to lead,
These also are the lessons of our New World;
While how little the New after all, how much the Old, Old World!

- Song of the exposition”
Walt Whitman, The Collected Poems of Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
“Come Muse migrate from Greece and Ionia,
Cross out please those immensely overpaid accounts,
That matter of Troy and Achilles' wrath, and Aeneas', Odysseus'
wanderings,
Placard "Removed" and "To Let" on the rocks of your snowy
Parnassus,
Repeat at Jerusalem, place the notice high on Jaffa's gate and on
Mount Moriah,
The same on the walls of your German, French and Spanish
castles, and Italian collections,
For know a better, fresher, busier sphere, a wide, untried domain
awaits, demands you.

- Song of the Exposition”
Walt Whitman, The Complete Poems

Walt Whitman
“The President is there in the White House for you, it is not you
who are here for him,
The Secretaries act in their bureaus for you, not you here for them,
The Congress convenes every Twelfth-month for you,
Laws, courts, the forming of States, the charters of cities, the
going and coming of commerce and mails, are all for you.

List close my scholars dear,
Doctrines, politics and civilization exurge from you,
Sculpture and monuments and any thing inscribed anywhere are
tallied in you,
The gist of histories and statistics as far back as the records reach
is in you this hour, and myths and tales the same,
If you were not breathing and walking here, where would they
all be?
The most renown'd poems would be ashes, orations and plays
would be vacuums.”
Walt Whitman, The Complete Poems

Dmitry Dyatlov
“Established early on in life, and still is perhaps my favorite 'intuition pump' is the life of Emily Dickinson. I viewed a short biography recently where an expert, quite frankly states that she really didn't do a whole lot with her time. SHE DIDNT DO ANYTHING. She didn't even get that many poems published while she lived. I guess her parents were well off, but remember, this is the middle of the 19th century, people. So, remember, don't work too hard. and if you do, charge them a whole lotta money. Remember I have an 90 foot motor Yacht on my vision board?”
Dmitry Dyatlov

“the absence of activity in her life is matched by the phenomenal activity of her intellect”
Cynthia Griffin Wolff

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