Sarah's Favorite Lines of Literature

In which Sarah shares her love of laughter and literature.

Don Pedro: In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
Beatrice: Yea, my lord. I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care.
Much Ado About Nothing (2.1.309-311)
William Shakespeare
Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett

Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett

I’m afraid I’ve never had an entirely serious turn of mind. Like the immortal Elizabeth Bennet, I dearly love to laugh. This is why I’m going share some of my favorite lines of literaturethe funny version. It was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to these, so I apologize if I’ve left out one of your favorites. And don’t worry: I’ll make a list of more serious lines. You’ll get your Robert Frost eventually.

We’ll start with one of my favorite literary couples.

Kenneth Branagh as Benedick

Kenneth Branagh as Benedick

William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing
Beatrice: “I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick: nobody marks you.”
Benedick: “What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?”

Benedick: “Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to bid you come into dinner;' there's a double meaning in that...”

Dorothy Dunnett
Queen's Play
Fighting with the Prince of Barrow was like fighting a curtain. Robin gave up.

Game of Kings
“I wish to God,” said Gideon with mild exasperation, “that you’d talk—just once—in prose like other people.”

Game of Kings
Repressively, Lymond himself answered. “I dislike being discussed as if I were a disease. Nobody ‘got’ me,” he said.

William Dean Howells
The Rise of Silas Lapham
To a girl everything a young man does is of significance; and if he holds a shaving down with his foot while she pokes through it with her parasol, she must ask herself what he means by it.

Stella Gibbons
Cold Comfort Farm
One of the disadvantages of almost universal education was the fact that all kinds of persons acquired a familiarity with one's favorite writers. It gave one a curious feeling; it was like seeing a drunken stranger wrapped in one's dressing gown.

Kate Beckinsale as Flora Poste, Maria Miles as Elfine Starkadder, and Joanna Lumley as Mary Smiling (left to right)

Kate Beckinsale as Flora Poste, Maria Miles as Elfine Starkadder, and Joanna Lumley as Mary Smiling (left to right)

Cold Comfort Farm
“My idea of hell is a very large party in a cold room where everybody has to play hockey properly.”

“By the way, I adore my bedroom, but do you think I could have the curtains washed? I believe they are red; and I should so like to make sure.”

Sir Terry Pratchett
Going Postal
If he'd been a hero, he would have taken the opportunity to say, "That's what I call sorted!" Since he wasn't a hero, he threw up.

The Truth
“Character assassination. What a wonderful idea. Ordinary assassination only works once, but this one works every day.”

Coffee was only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your slightly older self.

Oscar Wilde
An Ideal Husband
Lord Goring: “Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.”

Rupert Everett as Lord Goring

Rupert Everett as Lord Goring

An Ideal Husband
Lord Goring: “You see, Phipps, Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.”

The Importance of Being Earnest
Algernon: “I don't play accurately--any one can play accurately--but I play with wonderful expression.”

Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility
“Mrs. Jennings was a widow, with an ample jointure. She had only two daughters, both of whom she had lived to see respectably married, and she had now therefore nothing to do but to marry all the rest of the world.”

Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist
“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”

Dorothy Sayers
Gaudy Night
“How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.”

“All the children seem to be coming out quite intelligent, thank goodness. It would have been such a bore to be the mother of morons, and it’s an absolute toss-up, isn’t it? If one could only invent them, like characters in books, it would be much more satisfactory to a well-regulated mind.”

Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland
“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
“Ah,” said Arthur, “this is obviously some strange use of the word ‘safe’ that I wasn't previously aware of.”

Mos Def as Ford Prefect and Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent

Mos Def as Ford Prefect and Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
“Look," said Arthur, "would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”  

Mark Twain
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.


I hope you've enjoyed these! There are so many that I had to leave out, so I'll just have to share part 2 in the future.

Do you have any favorite lines?

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