Literary Quotations
Browse quotes by source | Browse quotes by author


A man is the sum of his misfortunes.

WILLIAM FAULKNER, The Sound and the Fury

Man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.

JOHN STEINBECK, The Grapes of Wrath

They are secret things. Women are supposed to be the ones good at keeping secrets, and I guess they do keep a few, but any woman who knows anything at all would tell you she's never really seen into any man's heart. The soil of a man's heart is stonier.... Bedrock's close. A man grows what he can ... and he tends it.

STEPHEN KING, Pet Sematary

Among all creatures that breathe on earth and crawl on it there is not anywhere a thing more dismal than man is.

HOMER, The Iliad

The hardest man ... is but a shell.

The best definition of man is: a being that goes on two legs and is ungrateful.

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY, Notes from the Underground

Numberless are the world's wonders, but none
More wonderful than man.


Man is a means for turning things into spirit and turning spirit into things.

JOHN UPDIKE, Rabbit Redux

Seat thyself sultanically among the moons of Saturn, and take high abstracted man alone; and he seems a wonder, a grandeur, and a woe. But from the same point, take mankind in mass, and for the most part, they seem a mob of unnecessary duplicates, both contemporary and hereditary.


Men don’t want anything they get too easy. But on the other hand, men lose interest quickly.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, A Streetcar Named Desire

This magnificent butterfly finds a little heap of dirt and sits still on it; but man he will never on his heap of mud keep still.


Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.


Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel.

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY, Crime and Punishment

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.


Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter, and none of those instincts are given much play at the warehouse!


For seeing they saw not, and hearing they understood not, but like shapes in a dream they wrought all the days of their lives in confusion.

AESCHYLUS, Prometheus Bound

Every man--I know this--turns weak, pliant, ridiculous as soon as he's in love.


When God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it.


The Law of the Jungle, which never orders anything without a reason, forbids every beast to eat Man except when he is killing to show his children how to kill, and then he must hunt outside the hunting-grounds of his pack or tribe. The real reason for this is that man-killing means, sooner or later, the arrival of white men on elephants, with guns, and hundreds of brown men with gongs and rockets and torches. Then everybody in the jungle suffers. The reason the beasts give among themselves is that Man is the weakest and most defenseless of all living things, and it is unsportsmanlike to touch him.


Some men are so wonderfully blest by nature that they don't need to prove theirselfs night after night; they're so fine-lookin' and so special, they can keep a woman pantin' with the pure mem'ry an' the wild hope that what happened once is liable to happen again.

A man was like a child with his appetites. A woman had to yield him what he wanted, or like a child he would probably turn nasty and flounce away and spoil what was a very pleasant connection.

D. H. LAWRENCE, Lady Chatterley's Lover

We are game-playing, fun-having creatures, we are the otters of the universe.


All men are boys time is trying to outsmart.

JOHN UPDIKE, Rabbit Redux

Man is the animal that laughs at himself.

ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, Stranger in a Strange Land

In the center of an irrational universe governed by an irrational Mind stands rational man.


More Men Quotes