A blog for the comprehensive understanding of Literature, Applied Linguistics and ELT

February 5, 2017

Quotations by Saul Below


SAUL BELLOW (1915-2005), CANADIAN-BORN AMERICAN AUTHOR OF FICTION AND ESSAYS, AND THE WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE.


“We are funny creatures. We don't see the stars as they are, so why do we love them? They are not small gold objects, but endless fire.”
~ Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King

“Some people, if they didn't make it hard for themselves, might fall asleep.”
~ Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March

“Ninety per cent of life is a nightmare, do you think I am going to get it rounded up to hundred per cent?”
~ Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

“People don't realize how much they are in the grip of ideas. We live among ideas much more than we live in nature.”
~ Saul Bellow, Conversations with Saul Bellow

“You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half. ”
~ Saul Bellow, Seize the Day

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
~ Saul Bellow, To Jerusalem and Back

“Live or die, but don't poison everything.”
~ Saul Bellow, Herzog

“Boredom is the conviction that you can't change ... the shriek of unused capacities.”
~ Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March

“Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity.”
~ Saul Bellow, Herzog

“It seems, after all that there are no nonpeculiar people.”
~ Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

“The physical body is an agent of the spirit and its mirror. It is an engine and a reflection of the spirit. It is the spirit's ingenious memorandum to itself and the spirit sees itself in my body, just as I see my own face in a looking glass. My nerves reflect this. The earth is literally a mirror of thoughts. Objects themselves are embodied thoughts. Death is the dark backing that a mirror needs if we are to see anything.”
~ Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

“I am a true adorer of life, and if I can't reach as high as the face of it, I plant my kiss somewhere lower down. Those who understand will require no further explanation.”
~ Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King

“Boredom is an instrument of social control. Power is the power to impose boredom, to command stasis, to combine this stasis with anguish. The real tedium, deep tedium, is seasoned with terror and with death.”
~ Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

“All human accomplishment has this same origin, identically. Imagination is a force of nature. Is this not enough to make a person full of ecstasy? Imagination, imagination, imagination! It converts to actual. It sustains, it alters, it redeems!”
~ Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King

“In every community there is a class of people profoundly dangerous to the rest. I don't mean the criminals. For them we have punitive sanctions. I mean the leaders. Invariably the most dangerous people seek the power. While in the parlors of indignation the right-thinking citizen brings his heart to a boil.”
~ Saul Bellow, Herzog

“She's very pretty but she's honey from the icebox, if you know what I mean. Cold sweets won't spread.”
~ Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

“One must bear in mind the odd angle or slant that the rays of love have to take in order to reach a heart like mine.”
~ Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

“I want to tell you, don't marry suffering. Some people do. They get married to it, and sleep and eat together, just as husband and wife. If they go with joy they think it's adultery.”
~ Saul Bellow, Seize the Day

“External life being so mighty, the instruments so huge and terrible, the performances so great, the thoughts so great and threatening, you produce a someone who can exist before it. You invent a man who can stand before the terrible appearances. This way he can't get justice and he can't give justice, but he can live. And this is what mere humanity always does. It's made up of these inventors or artists, millions and millions of them, each in his own way trying to recruit other people to play a supporting role and sustain him in his make-believe... That's the struggle of humanity, to recruit others to your version of what's real.”
~ Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March

“If you could have confidence in nature you would not have to fear. It would keep you up. Creative is nature. Rapid. Lavish. Inspirational. It shapes leaves. It rolls the waters of the earth. Man is the chief of this. All creations are his just inheritance. You don't know what you've got within you. A person either creates or he destroys. There is no neutrality.”
~ Saul Bellow, Seize the Day
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