With fake news running wild, how do we know what’s true? Here’s what William Shakespeare, Herman Melville, George R. R. Martin and others have to say.
There was a great historian lost in Wolverstone. He had the right imagination that knows just how far it is safe to stray from the truth and just how far to colour it so as to change its shape for his own purposes. ~ Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad. ~ Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
“I make no manner of doubt that you threw a very diamond of truth at me, though you see it hit me so directly in the face that it wasn’t exactly appreciated, at first.” ~ Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day, like a football, and it will be round and full at evening. ~ The Professor at the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
New quotes were added to the site today. Just a reminder that all of the quotes list an author and a source. This quotation collection is curated by people and NOT by a computer program.
“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!” ~ A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
“Don’t you love heavy fragrances, faint with sweetness, ravishing juices of odor, heliotropes, violets, water-lilies,–powerful attars and extracts that snatch your soul off your lips?” ~ The Amber Gods by Harriet Prescott Spofford
“Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.” ~ The Naval Treaty by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.” ~ 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
And then, the unspeakable purity – and freshness of the air! There was just enough heat to enhance the value of the breeze, and just enough wind to keep the whole sea in motion, to make the waves come bounding to the shore, foaming and sparkling, as if wild with glee. ~ Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
The sigh of all the seas breaking in measure round the isles soothed them; the night wrapped them; nothing broke their sleep, until, the birds beginning and the dawn weaving their thin voices in to its whiteness. ~ To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” ~ Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Moby Dick is based in part on Melville’s experience on a whaler. On December 30, 1840, he signed on as a green hand on the Acushnet.
The sinking of the Nantucket ship Essex in 1820 was another inspiration for the novel. The ship sank after it was rammed by an enraged sperm whale.
Melville also drew on one other true-life event for the tale. An article in the May 1839 issue of The Knickerbocker told about an albino whale known as Mocha Dick. The whale was rumored to have 20 or so harpoons in his back from other whalers, and appeared to attack ships with premeditated ferocity.
Despite the popularity of the novel today, only about 3,200 copies were sold during the Melville’s life. He earned a little more than $1,200 for writing the book.
Though amid all the smoking horror and diabolism of a sea-fight, sharks will be seen longingly gazing up to the ship’s decks, like hungry dogs round a table where red meat is being carved, ready to bolt down every killed man that is tossed to them. ~ Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Learn More about Moby Dick
“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.” ~ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
By this, he seemed to mean, not only that the most reliable and useful courage was that which arises from the fair estimation of the encountered peril, but that an utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward. ~ Moby Dick by Herman Melville
A man will tell you that he has worked in a mine for forty years unhurt by an accident as a reason why he should apprehend no danger, though the roof is beginning to sink. ~ Silas Marner by George Eliot
Yes, I was a fool, but I was in love, and though I was suffering the greatest misery I had ever known I would not have had it otherwise for all the riches of Barsoom. Such is love, and such are lovers wherever love is known. ~ A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
There are a set of religious, or rather moral writers, who teach that virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery, in this world. A very wholesome and comfortable doctrine, and to which we have but one objection, namely, that it is not true. ~ Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Need some advice or perspective? Here are 40 great quotes from literature that may help. These are some of our favorites from our words of wisdom quote collection.
- The mind has many watchdogs; sometimes they bark unnecessarily, but a wise man never ignores their warning. ~ A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke
- Words spoken cannot be recalled. ~ He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
- People often claim to hunger for truth, but seldom like the taste when it’s served up. ~ A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
- Fair speech may hide a foul heart. ~ The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
- It is always the unusual which alarms. ~ The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
- It is not violence that best overcomes hate-nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury. ~ Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke. ~ Count Alarcos: A Tragedy by Benjamin Disraeli
- There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. ~ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare
- “Words,” said the host, at length, “is worse’n bullets. You never know what they’ll hit.” ~ The Night Horseman by Max Brand
- Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you. ~ A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
- “When you’ve learned to laugh at the things that should be laughed at, and not to laugh at those that shouldn’t, you’ve got wisdom and understanding.” ~ Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- The fool wonders, the wise man asks. ~ Count Alarcos: A Tragedy by Benjamin Disraeli
- “All things are ready, if our minds be so.” ~ Henry V by William Shakespeare
- “No one is ever too old to do a foolish thing.” ~ Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
- “Would the world ever have been made if its maker had been afraid of making trouble? Making life means making trouble.” ~ Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
- Cheerfulness, it would appear, is a matter which depends fully as much on the state of things within as on the state of things without and around us. ~ Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
- “Just breathing isn’t living!” ~ Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
- “Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, As self-neglecting.” ~ Henry V by William Shakespeare
- The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. ~ Paradise Lost by John Milton
- To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge. ~ Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli
- “Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.” ~ Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- “Nobody can spoil a life, my dear. That’s nonsense. Things happen, but we bob up.” ~ The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
- Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. ~ David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
- “Do you know anything on earth which has not a dangerous side if it is mishandled and exaggerated? “ ~ The Land of Mist by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. ~ The Awakening by Kate Chopin
- You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men. ~ Zuleika Dobson by Sir Max Beerbohm
- Unwelcome truths are not popular. ~ The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- “And, above all things, never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you very much at your own reckoning.” ~ The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope
- How quick come the reasons for approving what we like! ~ Persuasion by Jane Austen
- Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco-pipes of of those who diffuse it: it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker. ~ Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
- “The chief proof of man’s real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.” ~ The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- She could not explain in so many words, but she felt that those who prepare for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy. ~ Howards End by E. M. Forster
- He has spent his life best who has enjoyed it most. ~ The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
- Ignorance is the parent of fear. ~ Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- “Its matter was not new to me, but was presented in a new aspect. It shook me in my habit – the habit of nine-tenths of the world – of believing that all was right about me, because I was used to it.” ~ Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
- A man will tell you that he has worked in a mine for forty years unhurt by an accident as a reason why he should apprehend no danger, though the roof is beginning to sink. ~ Silas Marner by George Eliot
- The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice. ~ Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
- Old habit of mind is one of the toughest things to get away from in the world. It transmits itself like physical form and feature. ~ A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
- “We learn from failure, not from success!” ~ Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. ~ Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
First of all, for those of you that celebrate the holiday, Happy Easter!
Secondly, I’ve added new quotes to the site. We’re now over 2,500 quotes! If you have a quote that you’d like to see added to the site, you can submit your quote here.
He lives, then, on ginger-nuts, thought I; never eats a dinner, properly speaking; he must be a vegetarian then; but no; he never eats even vegetables, he eats nothing but ginger-nuts. My mind then ran on in reveries concerning the probable effects upon the human constitution of living entirely on ginger-nuts. ~ Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville