Literary Quotations

Quotations from works of literature or anything in the written form.

The Lord is in his Holy Temple. Keep silent and shut up.
–From Oh Ye Jigs and Juleps! an adapted Diary by Virginia Cary Hudson

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Perhaps the depth of love can be calibrated by the number of different selves that are actively involved in a given relationship.
–From Contact a novel by Carl Sagan

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If you can’t hide it, decorate it!
–From the play “La Cage Aux Folles”

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If sex were a hobby, you’d be a collector’s item.
–From the stage musical “Brigadoon”

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Support Mental Health or I’ll Kill You.
–Bumper Sticker seen in passing in Insomnia a novel by Stephen King

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The most preposterous notion that H. Sapiens have ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest and least productive industry in all history.
–A thought by Lazarus Long, a character created by Robert Heinlein

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…you do the Purity Test, next thing you know you’re talking dirty, pretty soon everyone’s feeling good and excited, then someone kisses someone else, and an orgy of mad sexual abandon follows. Well, that could lead to dancing, and I’m a strict Baptist.
–Ben-“Unwrap Party” – a short story by Jordan Shelbourne

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But I reckon Cora’s right when she says the reason the Lord had to create women is because man don’t know his own good when he sees it.
–Tull: As I Lay Dying a novel by William Faulkner

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Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere.
–Bene Gesserit saying from Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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If enough of us believe a new thing can be made to exist.
–From Heretics of Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
–The Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear from Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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Cats are poetry in motion; dogs are gibberish in neutral.
–Garfield: Garfield Rounds Out a comic strip collection of Garfield by Jim Davis

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To stay awake at night adds a day to your life.
–Stilgar: Children of Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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Hope clouds observation.
–Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam: Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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If wishes were fishes we’d all cast nets.
–Gurney Halleck: Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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Knowing where the trap is-that’s the first step in evading it.
–Duke Leto Atreides: Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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You have to appreciate life before you want to preserve it.
–Hwi Noree: God Emperor of Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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The wise man observed that wealth is a tool of freedom. But the pursuit of wealth is the way to slavery.
–Lord Leto II: God Emperor of Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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That is the beginning of knowledge-the discovery of something we do not understand.
–Lord Leto II: God Emperor of Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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  • What’s up?
  • I don’t know. I’ve never been there.

–Ford Prefect and Marvin the People Personality Robot: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a novel by Douglass Adams

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The Guide says that there is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
–Ford Prefect: Life, the Universe and Everything a novel by Douglass Adams

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A person can be lonely even if he is loved by many people, because he is still not the ‘one and only’ to anyone.
–Anne Frank from her Diary

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Make it black and hold the fish!
–From ‘TV Guide’ referring to the television program ‘Twin Peaks’

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l(a

le
af
fa

ll

s)
one
l

iness
–Poem by e.e. cummings

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The dead and stuffed animals are surprisingly lifelike and safety is insured because they are behind glass.
–From Welcome to Twin Peaks: Access Guide to the Town a handbook by Lynch, Frost and Wurman

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Regarding the horned owl: Male voice is higher pitched than female: in concert they often harmonize in perfect thirds, though around Twin Peaks diminished sevenths are heard.
–From Welcome to Twin Peaks: Access Guide to the Town a handbook by Lynch, Frost and Wurman

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I don’t know about men in ‘Twin Peaks.’ You gotta wonder about a place where a woman would rather hang around with a log.
–Charlene from ‘Designing Women’: TV Guide special article

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The next time people call you lazy, tell ’em you were sick when you were a kid.
–Garfield: Garfield Worldwide a comic strip collection of Garfield by Jim Davis

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Watch what you say! Uranus has spies everywhere!
–Man on Bus: Garfield Worldwide a comic strip collection of Garfield by Jim Davis

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Dad said that words are tools, and that tools should be taken care of or else you won’t drive a straight nail.
–Dale Cooper: The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes as heard by Scott Frost

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The shark is one of the most fabled, feared, and least understood large animals on Earth. They are reported to have well-developed jaws and teeth, and to be totally humorless.
–From Biology The World of Life, Sixth Edition by Robert A. Wallace

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The girl seems to have talent but the boy can do nothing.
–Critique of an act performed by Fred and Adele Astaire from Steps in Time an autobiography by Fred Astaire

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The belief that people will usually act on the basis of their self interest, narrowly defined, is a theory to be tested, not an assumption to be made.
–From On the Anvil by Max Lucado

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The problem of leadership is inevitably: Who will play God?
–Muad’Dib from the Oral History: God Emperor of Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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  • You know, it’s times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space, that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.
  • Why, what did she tell you?
  • I don’t know. I didn’t listen.

–Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a novel by Douglass Adams

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Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most; When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain’t through learning – because that ain’t the time at all. It’s when he’s at his lowest and can’t believe in hisself ’cause the world done whipped him so. When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before the got wherever he is.
–Mama: “A Raisin in the Sun” a play by Lorraine Vivian Hansberry

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Face your fears or they will crawl over your back.
–Darwi Odrade: Chapterhouse: Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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Confine yourself to observing and you always miss the point of your own life. The object can be stated this way: Live the best life you can. Life is a game whose rules you learn if you leap into it and play it to the hilt. Otherwise, you are caught off balance, continually surprised by the shifting play. Non-players often whine and complain that luck always passes them by. They refuse to see that they can create some of their own luck.
–Reverend Mother Superior Darwi Odrade: Chapterhouse: Dune a novel by Frank Herbert

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I think people ought to do what they want to do, what else are they alive for?
–Sonny: “Sonny’s Blues” a short story by James Baldwin

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Captain’s Log; Lt. Data is in the brig for pestering me with his card tricks. I could stand no more of him saying, “Pick a card, pick, Picard, card, Picard.”
–A Parody of Captain Picard of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’: Humor Feature in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper by Ron Wolfe

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Captain’s Lawg: Scientific away team answers the question, what does a Klingon dog say? WORF, WORF! What does a Ferengi duck say: QUARK, QUARK! What does – wait! – let go of me, Number One. What are you trying to do, drag me off the bridge? Well, for the-
–A Parody of Captain Picard of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’: Humor Feature in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper by Ron Wolfe

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When I told you I was crazy you should have guessed I was a musician.
–Burnfingers Begay: To the Vanishing Point a novel by Alan Dean Foster

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A character, my dear sir, can always ask a man who he is, because a character really has a life of his own, a life full of his own specific qualities, and because of these he is always “someone.” While a man…well, he can be an absolute “nobody.”
–Father: “Six Characters in Search of an Author” a play by Luigi Pirandello

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…and the moral of that is – ‘Be what you would seem to be’ – or, if you’d like it put more simply – ‘Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.’
–The Duchess: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a novel by Lewis Carroll

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But it [writing poetry] isn’t easy. Because Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you.
–Winnie the Pooh: The House at Pooh Corner a novel by A.A. Milne

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Perhaps it is better to be a machine that does its duty than a flesh-and-blood person who will not, for a dead truth is better than a live falsehood.
–From Road to Oz a novel by L. Frank Baum

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How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin.
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
with gently smiling jaws!
–Alice: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a novel by Lewis Carroll

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  • Really, now you ask me, I don’t think-
  • Then you shouldn’t talk.

–Alice and the Mad Hatter: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a novel by Lewis Carroll

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  • Books are only for those who know nothing and are so obliged to learn things from other people.
  • In other words, the more stupid one is, the more he thinks he knows.

–The Old Donkey and The Shaggy Man: Road to Oz a novel by L. Frank Baum

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OPTIMISM,n. The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong. It is held with greatest tenacity by those most accustomed to mischance of falling into adversity, and is most acceptably expounded with the grin that apes a smile. Being a blind faith, it is inaccessible to the light of disproof – an intellectual disorder, yielding to no treatment but death. It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious.
–From Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

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IDIOT,n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.
–From Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

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Epistemology: Is knowledge knowable? If not, how do we know this?
–‘Spring Bulletin’ from Getting Even by Woody Allen

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Just as fire burns the dead, so anxiety burns the living and reduces them to ashes.
–From The Kama Sutra translated by Alain Danielou

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Today, I saw a dog,
Yes, a dog.
Talking to a pig,
Yes, a pig.
They were on the pavement,
Discussing Trotsky.
Not brotsky or crotsky or drotsky or frostsky
But Trotsky.
–Rik’s Trotsky Poem from his book. Rik is from the television show ‘The Young Ones’ and was played by Rick Mayal

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Oh god,
Why
am I so much more sensitive than everybody else?
why
do I feel things so much more acutely than them,
and understand so much more.
I bet I’m the first person who’s ever felt as rotten as this
could it be
that I’m going to grow up
to be a great poet and thinker, and all those other wankers in my class are going to have to work in factories or go on the dole?
yes, I think it could.
–Rik’s Teen Anguish Poem from his book. Rik is from the television show ‘The Young Ones’ and was played by Rick Mayal

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I’ve only come to realize lately how often and how much we are moved by others, even when we are priding ourselves on our control and self-reliance.
–Jessie Mahout Burlingame: Gerald’s Game a novel by Stephen King

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Biological possibility and desire are not the same as biological need. Women have childbearing equipment. For them to choose not to use the equipment is no more blocking what is instinctive than it is for a man who, muscles or no, chooses not to be a weightlifter.
–From “Motherhood: Who Needs It?” an article by Betty Rollin in Look, May 16, 1971

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What the vast majority of American children needs is to stop being pampered, stop being insulated, stop being chauffeured, stop being catered to. In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.
–From Ann Landers Says Truth is Stranger by Ann Landers, 1968

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When I consider how little of a rarity children are that every street and blind alley swarms with them that the poorest people commonly have them in most abundance that there are few marriages that are not blessed with at least one of these bargains how often they turn out ill, and defeat the fond hopes of their parents, taking to vicious courses, which end in poverty, disgrace, the gallows, etc. I cannot for my life tell what cause for pride there can possibly be in having them.
–From A Bachelor’s Complaint of the Behavior of Married People by Charles Lamb

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Children: A loud noise at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
–From a 1976 Reith lecture by Ronald Knox