"Literature transforms and intensifies ordinary language, deviates systematically from everyday speech. If you approach me at a bus stop and murmur "Thou still unravished bride of quietness," then I am instantly aware that I am in the presence of the literary."
"Society is the stage on which manners are shown; novels are the literature. Novels are the journal or record of manners; and the new importance of these books derives from the fact, that the novelist begins to penetrate the surface, and treat this part of life more worthily."
"In the labyrinth of a difficult text, we find unmarked forks in the path, detours, blind alleys, loops that deliver us back to our point of entry, and finally the monster who whispers an unintelligible truth in our ears."
"I am grown old, and have possibly lost a great deal of that fire, which formerly made me love fire in others at any rate, and however attended with smoke: but now I must have all sense, and cannot, for the sake of five righteous lines, forgive a thousand absurd ones."
"What will you say, when I tell you truly, that I cannot possibly read our countryman Milton through. I acknowledge him to have most sublime passages, some prodigious flashes of light; but then you must acknowledge that light is often followed by darkness visible, to use his own expression."