Sigrid Undset

All my days I have longed equally to travel the right road and to take my own errant path.

No one and nothing can harm us, child, except what we fear and love.

Many a man is given what is intended for another, but no man is given another's fate.

It’s a good thing when you don’t dare do something if you don’t think it’s right. But it’s not good when you think something’s not right because you don’t dare do it.

"God will find you,” said the priest quietly. “Stay calm and do not flee from Him who has been seeking you before you even existed in your mother’s womb."

But I didn’t realize then that the consequence of sin is that you have to trample on other people.

Feelings of longing seemed to burst from her heart; they ran in all directions, like streams of blood, seeking out paths to all the places in the wide landscape where she had lived, to all her sons roaming through the world, to all her dead lying under the earth.

One cannot escape dogmas—those who hold most firmly to dogmas today are those whose only dogma is that dogmas should be feared like the plague.


Luigi Pirandello

Life is full of strange absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.

Each of us, face to face with other men, is clothed with some sort of dignity, but we know only too well all the unspeakable things that go on in the heart.

Our spirits have their own private way of understanding each other, of becoming intimate, while our external persons are still trapped in the commerce of ordinary words, in the slavery of social rules. Souls have their own needs and their own ambitions, which the body ignores when it sees that it's impossible to satisfy them or achieve them.

Inevitably we construct ourselves. Let me explain. I enter this house and immediately I become what I have to become, what I can become: I construct myself. That is, I present myself to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to achieve with you. And, of course, you do the same with me.

Whatever is a reality today, whatever you touch and believe in and that seems real for you today, is going to be, like the reality of yesterday, an illusion tomorrow.

If only we could see in advance all the harm that can come from the good we think we are doing.

We all have a world of things inside ourselves and each one of us has his own private world. How can we understand each other if the words I use have the sense and the value that I expect them to have, but whoever is listening to me inevitably thinks that those same words have a different sense and value, because of the private world he has inside himself, too.


Eugene O'Neill

I am so far from being a pessimist...on the contrary, in spite of my scars, I am tickled to death at life.

Man's loneliness is but his fear of life.

We are such things as rubbish is made of, so let's drink up and forget it.

Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of the earth and sky and sea? Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?

None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.

Curiosity killed the cat, and satisfaction brought it back.

It was a great mistake, my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a seagull or a fish. As it is, I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must be a little in love with death!

There is no present or future-only the past, happening over and over again-now.

Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.

Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always will be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.


Pearl S. Buck

Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.

To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.

Love cannot be forced, love cannot be coaxed and teased. It comes out of heaven, unasked and unsought.

The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.

There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream -- whatever that dream might be.

To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.

A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love

I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in the kindness of human beings. I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and angels.

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up. 


Gabriela Mistral

You shall create beauty not to excite the senses
but to give sustenance to the soul.

Love that stammers, that stutters, is apt to be the love that loves best.

Where there is a tree to plant, plant it yourself. Where there is an error to amend, amend it yourself. Where there is an effort that everyone dodges, do it yourself. Be the one who removes the stone from the road. 

We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need to wait. The child can not. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we can not answer 'Tomorrow,' his name is today.

Love beauty; it is the shadow of God on the universe.

Books, quiet books on the shelves, 
alive in their silence, burning in their calm; 
books, those that console, velvets of the soul, 
and that being so sad make us joy!

Education is, perhaps, the highest way to seek God.

Give me sir the strength of the waves of the sea, which make each retreat a new starting point.


Pär Lagerkvist

Bitter, too, to be forced to acknowledge in one's heart how little love has to do with kindness.

Nothing is more foreign than the world of one's childhood when one has truly left it.

No, the man said, looking past him with his empty gaze, the realm of the dead isn't anything. But to those who have been there, nothing else is anything either.

Nothing is so sure as the final oblivion.

Eternity… It has nothing to do with life, I thought; it is the contrary to all life. It is something limitless, endless, a realm of death which the living must look into with horror. Was it here that I was to dwell?

Malevolence, like love, needs few words.

Only the gods have many destinies and need never die. They are filled with everything and experience everything. Everything - except human happiness. That they can never know and therefore they grudge it to men. Nothing makes them so evil and cruel as that men should presume to be happy and forget them for the sake of their earthly happiness.


François Mauriac

If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.

No love, no friendship, can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.

To love someone is to see a miracle invisible to others.

The effort of explaining, even of expressing himself, had become, with the years, more and more terrifying to him. Whether from laziness or from inability to find the right words, he had developed almost a passion for silence.

What a fool she was ever to have imagined that there might be some place in the world where she could sink to the earth with the knowledge that there were people round her who understood, who perhaps even admired and loved her! She was fated to carry loneliness about with her as a leper carries his scabs. No one can do anything for me: no one can do anything against me.

I believe that only poetry counts ... A great novelist is first of all a great poet.

We know well only what we are deprived of.

We are, all of us, molded and re-molded by those who have loved us, and though that love may pass, we remain nonetheless their work—a work that very likely they do not recognize, and which is never exactly what they intended.


Halldór Kiljan Laxness

For man is essentially alone, and one should pity him and love him and grieve with him

Remember, any lie you are told, even deliberately, is often a more significant fact than a truth told in all sincerity.

Human beings, in point of fact, are lonely by nature, and one should feel sorry for them and love them and mourn with them. It is certain that people would understand one another better and love one another more if they would admit to one another how lonely they were, how sad they were in their tormented, anxious longings and feeble hopes.

Whoever doesn't live in poetry cannot survive here on earth.

What you have stolen can never be yours.

Like all great rationalists you believed in things that were twice as incredible as theology.

The life of man is so short that ordinary people simply cannot afford to be born.

Presently the smell of coffee began to fill the room. This was morning’s hallowed moment. In such a fragrance the perversity of the world is forgotten, and the soul is inspired with faith in the future…


Juan Ramón Jiménez

If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.

I am not I.
I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives, gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.

Life. This morning the sun made me adore it. It had, behind the dripping pine trees, the oriental brightness, orange and crimson, of a living being, a rose and an apple, in the physical and ideal fusion of a true and daily paradise.

To live is nothing more than to come here to die, to be what we were before being born, but with apprenticeship, experience, knowledge of cause, and perhaps with will.

And life takes place
inside us, with the eternal light
of an ecstatic day
which is going on somewhere else.
It is a beautiful thing,
something true and not yet real, beautiful!


Ivo Andrić

One shouldn't be afraid of the humans. Well, I am not afraid of the humans, but of what is inhuman in them.

Forgetfulness heals everything and song is the most beautiful manner of forgetting, for in song man feels only what he loves.

If people would know how little brain is ruling the world, they would die of fear.

Between the fear that something would happen and the hope that still it wouldn't, there is much more space than one thinks. On that narrow, hard, bare and dark space a lot of us spend their lives

What doesn't hurt - is not life; what doesn't pass - is not happiness.

What does your sorrow do while you sleep? -It’s awake and waiting. And when it loses patience, it wakes me up.

Lands of great discoveries are also lands of great injustices.

Of everything that man erects and builds in his urge for living nothing is in my eyes better and more valuable than bridges. They are more important than houses, more sacred than shrines. Belonging to everyone and being equal to everyone, useful, always built with a sense, on the spot where most human needs are crossing, they are more durable than other buildings and they do not serve for anything secret or bad.