Saul Bellow Quotes

Most popular Saul Bellow Quotes

The shadow in the garden.


Fiction is the higher autobiography.

autobiography fiction

A writer is a reader moved to emulation.

reading writers

Unexpected intrusions of beauty. That is what life is.


She was what we used to call a suicide blonde—dyed by her own hand.
— Saul Bellow


In the greatest confusion there is still an open channel to the soul.


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


I love solitude, but I prize it most when plenty of company is available.


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


You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.
— Saul Bellow
All a writer has to do to get a woman is to say he's a writer. It's an aphrodisiac.
— Saul Bellow


Alternatives, and particularly desirable alternatives, grow only on imaginary trees.


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

ignorance illusion

You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.

mistakes also the shriek of unused capacities, the doom of serving no great end or design, or contributing to no master force.


It just came to me. The great pleasure of the book was that it came so easily. All I had to do was be there with buckets to catch it.


A man may say, "From now on I'm going to speak the truth."  But the truth hears him and runs away and hides before he's even done speaking.


There are evils, as someone has pointed out, that have the ability to survive identification and go on forever—money, for instance, or war.


A writer's life is solitary, often bitter. How pleasant it is to come out of one's room, to fly about the world, make speeches, and cut a swath.


With a novelist, like a surgeon, you have to get a feeling that you've fallen into good hands—someone from whom you can accept the anesthetic with confidence.


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 the first prize.
— Saul Bellow

politics politicians

Psycho-analysis 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.


Art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos.  A stillness that 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.
— Saul Bellow