A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.

— Saul Bellow

The most mouth-watering Saul Bellow quotes you will be delighted to read

There are evils that have the ability to survive identification and go on for ever... money, for instance, or war.


I am a phoenix who runs after arsonists.


Associate with the noblest people you can find;

read the best books; live with the mighty; but learn to be happy alone.


The worst of all deceptions is self-deception.


Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.


Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.


In every community there is a class of people profoundly dangerous to the rest.

I don't mean the criminals. For them we have punitive sanctions. I mean the leaders. Invariably the most dangerous people seek the power. While in the parlors of indignation the right-thinking citizen brings his heart to a boil. (p. 51)


It's usually the selfish people who are loved the most.

They do what you deny yourself, and you love them for it. You give them your heart.


You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.


In an age of madness, to expect to be untouched by madness is a form of madness.

But the pursuit of sanity can be a form of madness, too


A fool can throw a stone in a pond that 100 wise men can not get out.


All human accomplishment has this same origin, identically.

Imagination is a force of nature. Is this not enough to make a person full of ecstasy? Imagination, imagination, imagination! It converts to actual. It sustains, it alters, it redeems!


About Saul Bellow

Quotes 219 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Novelist
Birthday October 16

People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.


Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.


Psychoanalysis pretends to investigate the Unconscious.

The Unconscious by definition is what you are not conscious of. But the Analysts already know what's in it -- they should, because they put it all in beforehand.


Psychoanalysis pretends to investigate the Unconscious.

The Unconscious by definition is what you are not conscious of. But the Analysts already know what's in it - they should, because they put it all in beforehand.


Everybody knows there is no fineness or accuracy of suppression;

if you hold down one thing, you hold down the adjoining.


Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity.


There was a disturbance in my heart, a voice that spoke there and said, I want, I want, I want! It happened every afternoon, and when I tried to suppress it it got even stronger.


Take our politicians: they're a bunch of yo-yos.

The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of cliches.


Losing a parent is something like driving through a plate-glass window.

You didn't know it was there until it shattered, and then for years to come you're picking up the pieces -- down to the last glassy splinter.


Goodness is achieved not in a vacuum, but in the company of other men, attended by love.


The life of every citizen is becoming a business.

This, it seems to me, is one of the worst interpretations of the meaning of human life history has ever seen. Man's life is not a business.


In Los Angeles all the loose objects in the country were collected, as if America had been tilted and everything that wasn't tightly screwed down had slid into Southern California.


We mustn't forget how quickly the visions of genius become the canned goods of intellectuals.


With one long breath, caught and held in his chest, he fought his sadness over his solitary life. Don't cry, you idiot! Live or die, but don't poison everything.


The secret motive of the absent-minded is to be innocent while guilty.

Absent-mindedness is spurious innocence.


I've never turned over a fig leaf yet that didn't have a price tag on the other side.


A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and the multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life.


All a writer has to do to get a woman is to say he's a writer. It's an aphrodisiac.


The first undressing of two lovers is a most special event.


The late philosopher Morris R. Cohen of CCNY was asked by a student in the metaphysics course, Professor Cohen, how do I know that I exist? The keen old prof replied, And who is asking?


Boredom is an instrument of social control.

Power is the power to impose boredom, to command stasis, to combine this stasis with anguish. The real tedium, deep tedium, is seasoned with terror and with death.


People don't realize how much they are in the grip of ideas.

We live among ideas much more than we live in nature.


I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.


Our society, like decadent Rome, has turned into an amusement society, with writers chief among the court jesters


A man should be able to hear, and to bear, the worst that could be said of him.


The main reason for rewriting is not to achieve a smooth surface, but to discover the inner truth of your characters.


California is like an artificial limb the rest of the country doesn't really need. You can quote me on that.


I blame myself for not often enough seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Somewhere in his journals, Dostoyevky remarks that a writer can begin anywhere, at the most commonplace thing, scratch around in it long enough, pry and dig away long enough, and lo!, soon he will hit upon the marvelous.


Anxiety destroys scale, and suffering makes us lose perspective.


There is an immense, painful longing for a broader, more flexible, fuller, more coherent, more comprehensive account of what we human beings are, who we are and what this life is for.


I've discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing.

They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, 'To hell with you.'


Human character is smaller now, people don't have durable passions;

they've replaced passions with excitement.


Fidelity is for phonographs


The stillness in art characterizes prayer, and the eye of the storm.


... an era of turmoil and ideological confusion, the principal phenomenon of the present age.


One thought-murder a day keeps the psychiatrist away.


Open discussion of many major public questions has for some time now been taboo.

We can't open our mouths without being denounced as racists, misogynists, supremacists, imperialists or fascists. As for the media, they stand ready to trash anyone so designated.

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