Please comment, or feel free to share your own literary (or not) quotes if you feel so inclined!


From Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger:



From The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

It was the kind of town that made you feel like Humphrey Bogart: you came in on a bumpy little plane, and, for some mysterious reason, got a private room with a balcony overlooking the town and the harbor; then you sat there and drank until something happened.  I felt a tremendous distance between me and everything real.  Here I was on Vieques island, a place so insignificant that I had never heard of it until I’d been told to come here – delivered by one nut, and waiting to be taken off by another.

It was almost May.  I knew that New York was getting warm now, that London was wet, that Rome was hot – and I was on Vieques, where it was always hot and where New York and London and Rome were just names on a map (134).


From King Lear by Shakespeare, Act III: Scene vii

Said as he gouges out Gloucester’s second eye… I’m not sure why this phrase has stuck with me.  It’s rather gross. 

Cornwall: Out, vile jelly!


From Girls, Season 1, forget which episode

Lena Dunham is a certified genius.  Everyone in the world should watch Girls.

Hannah, to herself:  Some of the worst things you say are better than than the best things other people say.


From Six Feet Under,  Season 2, Episode 5: “The Invisible Woman”

David:  Maybe Emily Previn was autistic.  I read an article once about a high-functioning autistic person who didn’t need people, she just had a job designing these big cattle slaughterhouses and at night she came home and sat in this little machine that made her feel like she was being hugged, and that was all the intimacy she needed.

Nate:  That’s really upsetting.

Claire:  I don’t see why this person has to be mentally ill just because she had a life that doesn’t conform to some familiar image we have in our heads. I mean maybe she was living the life she wanted, a life without the hassle of other people.

Ruth:  What kind of a life is that!?!?


From Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Well, this whole book is a giant quote, but here’s a good, cute one.

We felt very nice and snug, the more so since it was so chilly out of doors; indeed out of bed-clothes too, seeing that there was no fire in the room.  The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast.  Nothing exists in itself.  If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more.  But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed, the tip of your nose of the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully and unmistakably warm. For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich.  For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blanket between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air.  Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal (58).


From The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

A beautiful, nostalgic take on American football.

“I turned and sprinted away, watching it float down at me out of the hot blue sky.  It hurt my hands again, but this time I hung on. It was a good feeling to snag a long pass, even if it was a coconut.  My hands grew red and tender, but it was a good clean feeling and I didn’t mind.  We ran short, over-the-middle passes and long floaters down the sidelines, and after a while I couldn’t help but think we were engaged in some kind of holy ritual, the reenactment of all our young Saturdays – expatriated now, lost and cut off from those games and those drunken stadiums, beyond the noise and blind to the false color of those happy spectacles – after years of jeering at football and all that football means, here I was on an empty Caribbean beach, running these silly pass patterns with all the zeal of a regular sandlot fanatic.

As we raced back and forth, falling and plunging in the surf, I recalled my Saturdays at Vanderbilt and the precision beauty of a Georgia Tech backfield, pushing us back and back with that awful belly series, a lean figure in a gold jersey, slashing over a hole that should never have been there, now loose on the crisp grass of our secondary and an unholy shout from the stands across the way; and finally to bring the bastard down, escape those blockers coming at you like cannonballs, then line up again and face that terrible machinery.  It was a torturous thing, but beautiful in its way; here were men who would never again function or even understand how they were supposed to function as well as they did today.  They were dolts and thugs for the most part, huge pieces of meat, trained to a fine edge – but somehow they mastered those complex plays and patterns, and in rare moments they were artists”(76-77).


From “A Case of Identity” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories

This quick one made me laugh.

Watson describes Sherlock Holmes as in a “‘position of unofficial adviser and helper to everybody who is absolutely puzzled, throughout three continents'”(288).


From Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

This quote very accurately sums up how I feel about my life!

“Colonel Cathcart was impervious to absolutes.  He could measure his own progress only in relationship to others, and his idea of excellence was to do something at least as well as all the men his own age who were doing the same thing even better.  The fact that there were thousands of men his own age and older who had not even attained the rank of major enlivened him with foppish delight in his own remarkable worth; on the other hand, the fact that there were men of his own age and younger who were already generals contaminated him with an agonizing sense of failure and made him gnaw at his fingernails with an unappeasable anxiety that was even more intense than Hungry Joe’s”(187).


From “Taste” by Roald Dahl, in The Best of Roald Dahl

Hilariously disgusting; I really recommend Roald Dahl’s short stories, they’re delightfully weird.

“Now everyone was watching Richard Pratt, watching his face as he reached slowly for his glass with his right hand and lifted it to his nose. The man was about fifty years old and he did not have a pleasant face.  Somehow, it was all mouth – mouth and lips – the full, wet lips of the professional gourmet, the lower lip hanging downward in the center, a pendulous, permanently open taster’s lip, shaped open to receive the rim of a glass or morsel of food.  Like a keyhole, I thought, watching it; his mouth is like a large, wet keyhole.

… For at least a minute, the smelling process continued; then, without opening his eyes or moving his head, Pratt lowered the glass to his mouth and tipped in almost half the contents.  He paused, his mouth full of wine, getting the first taste; then he permitted some of it to trickle down his throat and I saw his Adam’s apple move as it passed by.  But most of it he retained in his mouth.  And now, without swallowing again, he drew in through his lips a thin breath of air which mingled with the fumes of the wine in the mouth and passed on down into his lungs.  He held the breath, blew it out through his nose, and finally began to roll the wine around under the tongue, and chewed it, actually chewed it with his teeth as though it were bread.

It was a solemn, impressive performance, and I must say he did it well”(60-61).


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A Quasi-intelligent Humor blog

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