Literature is the human activity that takes the fullest and most precise account of variousness, possibility, complexity, and difficulty.
The poet may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also part of the weather.
Immature artists imitate. Mature artists steal.
It is now life and not art that requires the willing suspension of disbelief
There is no connection between the political ideas of our educated class and the deep places of the imagination.
Where misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood
Youth is a time when we find the books we give up but do not get over.
Everything which the economist takes from you in the way of life and humanity, he restores to you in the form of money and wealth.
What marks the artist is his power to shape the material of pain we all have.
Some paradox of our natures leads us, when once we have made our fellow men the objects of our enlightened interest, to go on to make them the objects of our pity, then of our wisdom, ultimately of our coercion.
Every neurosis is a primitive form of legal proceeding in which the accused carries on the prosecution, imposes judgment and executes the sentence: all to the end that someone else should not perform the same process.
Even the nonreligious may exercise aesthetic judgment in matters of religion, and indeed our age has given the unbelieving a sophisticated taste in religious literature.
The function of literature, through all its mutations, has been to make us aware of the particularity of selves, and the high authority of the self in its quarrel with its society and its culture. Literature is in that sense subversive.
Arnold must have for us the something of the character of what we nowadays have taken to calling a culture hero: that is, a man who gives himself in full submission and sacrifice to his historical moment in order to comprehend and control the elements which that moment brings.
At the bottom of at least popular Marxism there has always been a kind of disgust with humanity as it is and a perfect faith in humanity as it is to be.