Literary Quotations
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Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and ... play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.

We must work, work. That is why we are unhappy and look at the world so sadly; we don't know what work is.

ANTON CHEKHOV, The Three Sisters

There are wise people who talk ever so knowingly and complacently about “the working classes,” and satisfy themselves that a day’s hard intellectual work is very much harder than a day’s hard manual toil, and is righteously entitled to much bigger pay.... As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t money enough in the universe to hire me to swing a pickaxe thirty days, but I will do the hardest kind of intellectual work for just as near nothing as you can cipher it down—and I will be satisfied, too.... The law of work does seem utterly unfair—but there it is, and nothing can change it: the higher the pay in enjoyment the worker gets out of it, the higher shall be his pay in cash, too.

Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby!


A person who has not done one half his day's work by ten o'clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.

EMILY BRONTË, Wuthering Heights

The pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.

JANE AUSTEN, Sense and Sensibility

For not to irksome toil, but to delight,
He made us, and delight to reason join'd.

JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost

I don't like work—no man does—but I like what is in work—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself, not for others—what no other man can ever know.

JOSEPH CONRAD, Heart of Darkness

All work is an act of philosophy.

AYN RAND, Atlas Shrugged

Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need.


Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself, and the more he tries to conceal himself the more clearly will his character appear in spite of him.

SAMUEL BUTLER, The Way of All Flesh

I have always thought that work is as common and fine as air, something that we become a part of.

JANE HAMILTON, A Map of the World

Work seemed something fundamental for man, something which enabled him to endure the aimless flight of time.

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