Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.
A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
Literature is the question minus the answer.
Literature is news that stays news.
~Ezra Pound, ABC of Reading, 1934
When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. But if you have not a pen, I suppose you must scratch any way you can.
~Samuel Lover, Handy Andy, 1842
Every man's memory is his private literature.
What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.
~E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy, 1951
I doubt if anything learnt at school is of more value than great literature learnt by heart.
What a sense of security in an old book which time has criticized for us!
~James Russell Lowell
The duty of literature is to note what counts, and to light up what is suited to the light. If it ceases to choose and to love, it becomes like a woman who gives herself without preference.
When you re-read a classic you do not see in the book more than you did before. You see more in you than there was before.
The difference between journalism and literature is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891
The test of real literature is that it will bear repetition. We read over the same pages again and again, and always with fresh delight.
~Samual McChord Crothers
A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.
~Italo Calvino, The Literature Machine