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The Best Lines in Literature Ours & Yours

Alway evolving - a work in progress.

William Shakespeare:

"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow," 

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
 "We know what we are, but know not what we may be."

"This above all: to thine ownself be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."
"Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York;"
"Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful."
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”

"Hell is empty and all the devils are here."

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."


Charles Dickens:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” 

"I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”


James Joyce:

"Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

“Time is, time was, but time shall be no more.”

"Let my country die for me.”

“They lived and laughed and loved and left.”

“Shut your eyes and see.”
“And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.”
“Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.”
"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
"There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being."


Sylvia Plath:

"I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.” -  Sylvia Plath

“Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.”
“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.”

“The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”“

"let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences”

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now.

Fyodor Dostoevsky:

“Beauty will save the world” 

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
“This is my last message to you: in sorrow, seek happiness.”
“If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself.”
“Destroy my desires, eradicate my ideals, show me something better, and I will follow you.”
“Your worst sin is that you have destroyed and betrayed yourself for nothing.”
“I utter what you would not dare think.”
“Everything passes, only truth remains.”
“Be the sun and all will see you.”
“The best way to keep a prisoner from escaping is to make sure he never knows he’s in prison.”


Leo Tolstoy

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

“The same question arose in every soul: "For what, for whom, must I kill and be killed?” "All we can know is that we know nothing. And that’s the height of human wisdom.”

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.”

“We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.”
“If you want to be happy, be.”
“Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.”

“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”

Anaïs Nin

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.”

“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”

Cormac McCarthy

“Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.”

“For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.”

“They were watching, out there past men's knowing,"
"He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.”
"See the child." 

Albert Camus

“The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.”

In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.”
“To create is to live twice.”
“We don't have the time to completely be ourselves. We only have the room to be happy.”“Despite men's suffering, despite the blood and wrath, despite the dead who can never be replaced, the unjust wounds, and the wild bullets, we must utter, not words of regret, but words of hope, of the dreadful hope of men isolated with their fate.”
“People can think only in images. If you want to be a philosopher, write novels.”


Toni Morrison

“You are your best thing”

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
“At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.”
“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”
“Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.”
“In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”
“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”
From my perspective there are only black people. When I say 'people,' that's what I mean.”
“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”


Ernest Hemingway

"‘But man is not made for defeat,’ he said. ‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated.’”

"Isn't it pretty to think so?"

"The old man was dreaming about the lions."

Joseph Conrad

“It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.”

“The horror! The horror!”

“We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness”

“Like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds. We live in the flicker.”


James Baldwin

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
“I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do.”
“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.”
“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
“You don’t have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you never can go back.”
“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
“True rebels after all, are as rare as true lovers, and in both cases, to mistake a fever for passion can destroy one's life”
“People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.”

Alice Munro

“The constant happiness is curiosity.”

“Why is it a surprise to find that people other than ourselves are able to tell lies?”
"Few people, very few, have a treasure, and if you do you must hang onto it. You must not let yourself be waylaid, and have it taken from you.”


“We accept the love we think we deserve.” - Stephen Chbosky

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” - Zora Neale Hurston

“It is nothing to die; it is dreadful not to live.” - Victor Hugo

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”  - George Orwell

“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.” - Ralph Ellison

“Call me Ishmael.” - Herman Melville

“There is always something left to love.” - Gabriel García Márquez

“You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter.” - Mark Twain

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” - Margaret Atwood

“Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.” - Aldous Huxley

“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” - William Faulkner

"Terror made me cruel" - Emily Brontë

"Why can't people have what they want? The things were all there to content everybody; yet everybody has the wrong thing." - Ford Madox Ford

"Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else." David Foster Wallace

"My dear, I I don’t give a damn." - Margaret Mitchell

"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." - John Steinbeck
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." - George Orwell

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all." John Keats
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” – Harper Lee

The Best Lines in Literature Ours & Yours

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