Literary Quotations
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Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY, Crime and Punishment

All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it.

WALT WHITMAN, Leaves of Grass

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!

How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be
When there's no help in truth!

SOPHOCLES, Oedipus Rex

There are some things that can't be the truth even if they did happen.

The symmetry of form attainable in pure fiction can not so readily be achieved in a narration essentially having less to do with fable than with fact. Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges.


The truth.... It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.

The truth is like a strung-out pimp in the middle of a storm.


There seems to be a deep change in the way men now look at the world, as if one truth should drive out another--as if whatever is not their truth, must be falsehood.


Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.

WILLIAM BLAKE, Proverbs of Hell

Happy is he who has the pure truth in him.
He will regret no sacrifice that keeps it.

It is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth. It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind.

There is a way of meeting error while on the road of truth.

VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables

Truth is truth
To the end of reckoning.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Measure for Measure

I sometimes have these spells of compulsive truth. But as Lady Macbeth would say, "The fit is momentary."

Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it.

AYN RAND, Atlas Shrugged

We shall have an open mind, and not let a little bit of truth check the rush of a big truth, like a small rock does a railway truck. We get the small truth first. Good! We keep him, and we value him; but all the same we must not let him think himself all the truth in the universe.


Truth might be heroic, but it was not within the range of practical domestic politics.

SAMUEL BUTLER, The Way of All Flesh

It makes no difference what words we use to tell the same truths.


If I speak the truth, the fact does not hide it.

DANTE ALIGHIERI, The Divine Comedy

I have no gift of words, but I speak the truth.


I've found it takes at least two and generally three things to alter the course of a life: You slip around the truth once, and then again, and one more time, and there you are, feeling, for a moment, that it was sudden, your arrival at the bottom of the heap.

JANE HAMILTON, A Map of the World

If any man ever dared to translate all that is in his heart, to put down what is really his experience, what is truly his truth, I think then the world would go to smash, that it would be blown to smithereens and no god, no accident, no will could ever again assemble the pieces, the atoms, the indestructible elements that have gone to make up the world.

HENRY MILLER, Tropic of Cancer

Truth doesn't run on time like a commuter train.

People see what they want to see and what people want to see never has anything to do with the truth.


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