Ray Bradbury is known to have said the following about his fellow writers: “The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”
The good writers live a full life worth writing about. Below we’ve curated 25 of the best writers from the twentieth century, showing incredibly rare photos revealing a glimpse of how they lived their lives.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
“The trouble with fiction… is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense.” – Author of The Doors of Perception
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)
“For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.” – Author of Warning to the West
Anthony Burgess (1917-1993)
“All art preserves mysteries which aesthetic philosophers tackle in vain.” – Author of A Clockwork Orange
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
“At any rate, let us love for a while, for a year or so, you and me. That’s a form of divine drunkenness that we can all try. There are only diamonds in the whole world, diamonds and perhaps the shabby gift of disillusion.” Author of Tender is the Night
Harper Lee (1926-2016)
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” – Author of To Kill a Mockingbird
Edith Wharton (1862-1937)
“There are moments when a man’s imagination, so easily subdued to what it lives in, suddenly rises above its daily level and surveys the long windings of destiny.” – Author of The Age of Innocence
Djuna Barnes (1892-1982)
“A strong sense of identity gives man an idea he can do no wrong; too little accomplishes the same.” – Author of Nightwood
Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)
“Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit — in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever.” — Author of Things Fall Apart
Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961)
“People always say things like, Oh, well, he was suffering so much that he was better off dying. But that’s not true. You’re always better off living.” – Author of The Maltese Falcon
Henry James (1843-1916)
“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance… and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.” – Author of Portrait of a Lady
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” – Author of The Old Man and the Sea
Iris Murdoch (1919-1999)
“Happiness is a matter of one’s most ordinary and everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self.” – Author of The Black Prince
James Baldwin (1924-1987)
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“To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread.” –Author of Go Tell It on the Mountain
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969)
“I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.” – Author of On the Road
Joseph Heller (1923-1999)
“Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.” – Author of Catch-22
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)
“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.” – Author of Cat’s Cradle
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-1914)
Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood. – Author of One Hundred Years of Solitude
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
“Man is not the sum of what he has already, but rather the sum of what he does not yet have, of what he could have.” – Author of Being and Nothingness
Julian Barnes (1946-present)
“It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.” – Author of The Sense of an Ending
John Galsworthy (1867-1933)
“Life calls the tune, we dance.” – Author of The Forsyte Saga
Milan Kundera (1929-present)
“We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.” – Author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Truman Capote (1924-1984)
“I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.” – Author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)
“Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that – I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much – so very much to learn.” – Author of The Bell Jar
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)
“Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.” – Author of Pale Fire
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)
“Language is a virus from outer space” – Author of Naked Lunch
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