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Quotes of the day: Saul Bellow

Published Monday, June 10, 2013 @ 6:56 AM EDT
Jun 10 2013

Saul Bellow (June 10, 1915 - April 5, 2005) was a Canadian-born American writer. For his literary contributions, Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts. He is the only writer to win the National Book Award for Fiction three times and he received the Foundation's lifetime Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 1990. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


A good American makes propaganda for whatever existence has forced him to become.

A human soul devoid of longing was a soul deformed, deprived of its highest good, sick unto death.

A man is only as good as what he loves.

Americans must be the most sententious people in history. Far too busy to be religious, they have always felt that they sorely needed guidance.

Anxiety destroys scale, and suffering makes us lose perspective.

Boredom is the shriek of unused capacities

California's like an artificial limb the rest of the country doesn't really need. You can quote me.

Conquered people tend to be witty.

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.

For the first time in history, the human species as a whole has gone into politics. Everyone is in the act, and there is no telling what may come of it.

Goodness is achieved not in a vacuum, but in the company of other men, attended by love.

I don’t actually take much stock in the collapsing culture bit. I’m beginning to see it instead as the conduct of life without input from your soul.

Ignorance of death is destroying us. Death is the dark backing a mirror needs if we are to see anything.

It's usually the selfish people who are loved the most. They do what you deny yourself, and you love them for it. You give them your heart.

Live or die but don't poison everything.

No amount of assertion will make an ounce of art.

No realistic, sane person goes around Chicago without protection.

One of the booby traps of freedom- which is bordered on all sides by isolation- is that we think so well of ourselves. I now see that I have helped myself to the best cuts at life's banquet.

People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.

Psychoanalysis pretends to investigate the Unconscious. The Unconscious by definition is what you are not conscious of. But the Analysts already know what’s in it. They should, because they put it all in beforehand. It's like an Easter Egg hunt.

Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity.

Respect is better than love.

She was what we used to call a suicide blonde: dyed by her own hand.

The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of clichés the first prize.

There is no limit to the amount of intelligence invested in ignorance when the need for illusion runs deep.

Unexpected intrusions of beauty. That is what life is.

What is imposed on us by birth and environment is what we are called upon to overcome

When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.

You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.

You have to fight for your life. That's the chief condition on which you hold it.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Saul Bellow


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