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Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.
C. S. Lewis
Every man lives in two realms: the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Psychology, unlike chemistry, unlike algebra, unlike literature, is an owner's manual for your own mind. It's a guide to life. What could be more important than grounding young people in the scientific information that they need to live happy, healthy, productive lives? To have good relationships?
Literature must rest always on a principle, and temporal considerations are no principle at all. For, to the poet, all times and places are one; the stuff he deals with is eternal and eternally the same: no theme is inept, no past or present preferable.
Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.
In the early 1970s in Atlanta, I attended what had formerly been an all-white school but had become a black school after integration and white flight. Perhaps because of this, the teachers created a curriculum that included a focus on African American literature and history year-round, not just in February.
Religion is part of the human make-up. It's also part of our cultural and intellectual history. Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, our first attempt at philosophy.
Without a knowledge of mythology much of the elegant literature of our own language cannot be understood and appreciated.
I tell my students, it's not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What's more difficult is to identify with someone you don't see, who's very far away, who's a different color, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.
My literature is much more the result of a paradox than that of an implacable logic, typical of police novels. The paradox is the tension that exists in my soul.
The very essence of literature is the war between emotion and intellect, between life and death. When literature becomes too intellectual - when it begins to ignore the passions, the emotions - it becomes sterile, silly, and actually without substance.
Isaac Bashevis Singer
Literature is the expression of a feeling of deprivation, a recourse against a sense of something missing. But the contrary is also true: language is what makes us human. It is a recourse against the meaningless noise and silence of nature and history.
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
C. S. Lewis
The truth is, I can't help the way people perceive anything, from the role of financial industry in the economic crisis, to the place of women's fiction in the canon of modern literature, to the rank of mint chocolate chip ice cream as a favorite Baskin-Robbins flavor.
For this reason, to study English literature without some general knowledge of the relation of the Bible to that literature would be to leave one's literary education very incomplete.
The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery.
For Mythology is the handmaid of literature; and literature is one of the best allies of virtue and promoters of happiness.
Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.
What I can say is that all my characters are searching for their souls, because they are my mirrors. I'm someone who is constantly trying to understand my place in the world, and literature is the best way that I found in order to see myself.
Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other.
We shall suffer no attachment to literature, no taste for abstract discussion, no love of purely intellectual theories, to seduce us from our devotion to the cause of the oppressed, the down trodden, the insulted and injured masses of our fellow men.
The land of literature is a fairy land to those who view it at a distance, but, like all other landscapes, the charm fades on a nearer approach, and the thorns and briars become visible.
At the age of 12 I won the school prize for Best English Essay. The prize was a copy of Somerset Maugham's 'Introduction To Modern English And American Literature.' To this day I keep it on the shelf between my collection of Forester's works and the little urn that contains my mother's ashes.
But I also think all of the great stories in literature deal with loneliness. Sometimes it's by way of heartbreak, sometimes it's by way of injustice, sometimes it's by way of fate. There's an infinite number of ways to examine it.
Some writers like to boil down headlines of liberal newspapers into fiction, so they say there shouldn't be communal riots, everybody should love each other, there shouldn't be boundaries or fundamentalism. But I think literature is more than that; these are political views which most of us hold anyway.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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