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    Posted on Feb 10, 2015

    49 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In British Literature

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    I asked ~book twitter~ for their favourite literary quotes from British authors. Here are some of the best responses, mixed in with some of my favourites...

    Via Flickr: flatworldsedge / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by @marinedebray

    “And into the heart of the storm, with a cry that pierced all other sounds, tearing the clouds asunder, the Nazgul came shooting like flaming bolts, as caught in the fiery ruin of hill and sky they crackled, withered, and went out.”

    – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

    Suggested by @illucifer

    "The sense of being absolutely in the right and longed-for place is fixed and guaranteed by every ray in the universe"

    – Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

    Suggested by @WELBooks

    Via Flickr: jixxer / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    "Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe"

    – Lewis Carroll, The Jabberwocky

    Suggested by @HannahBurden

    "The tree of nonsense is watered with error, and from its branches swing the pumpkins of disaster."

    – Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World

    Suggested by @sassthat

    Via Flickr: victius / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by @acaseforbooks

    “Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.”

    – George Orwell, 1984

    Suggested by @TomJamesBrook

    AS kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;

    As tumbled over rim in roundy wells

    Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s

    Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

    Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

    Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

    Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

    Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

    – Gerard Manley Hopkins, As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme

    Suggested by @marinedebray

    Via Flickr: _belial / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    "Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief."

    – William Shakespeare, Hamlet

    Suggested by @EliotAnderson

    “Him the Almighty Power

    Hurled headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky

    With hideous ruin and combustion down

    To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

    In adamantine chains and penal fire,

    Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms.”

    – John Milton, Paradise Lost

    Suggested by @Anna_Mazz

    Via Flickr: jixxer / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    “A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”

    – Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

    Suggested by @elizabethmoya

    “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”

    – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

    Suggested by @SometimesKaren

    “Her heart was heavy because it was open, and so things filled it, and so things rushed out of it, but still the heart kept beating, tough and frighteningly powerful and meaning to shrug off the rest of her and continue on its own.”

    ― Helen Oyeyemi, Mr. Fox

    Via Flickr: cgolightly / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    "Her hands were resting on his glossy fur. Somewhere in the garden a nightingale was singing, and a little breeze touched her hair and stirred the leaves overhead. All the different bells of the city chimed, once each, this one high, that one low, some close by, others farther off, one cracked a peevish, another grave and sonorous, but agreeing in all their different voices on what the time was, even if some of them got to it a little more slowly than others.”

    – Phillip Pullman, His Dark Materials

    Suggested by @allygolightly94

    "It was the day my grandmother exploded"

    – Iain Banks, The Crow Road

    Suggested by @fords42 and others

    Via unsplash.com / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

    – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

    Suggested by @eileencumisky

    “You’re just in time for a little smackerel of something.”

    – A.A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh

    Suggested by @Imelda_Evans

    Via Flickr: flatworldsedge / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by @whydoanything

    “The important thing was to love rather than be loved”

    – W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

    “Fortitude. … It means fixity of purpose. It means endurance. It means having the strength to live with what constrains you.”

    ― Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

    Via Flickr: nattu / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by @Holly_BourneYA

    “I shall also take you forth and carve our names together in a yew tree, haloed with stars…”

    – Ted Hughes, Letters of Ted Hughes

    “We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back the tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answer to inquiries say, “Oh, nothing!” Pride helps; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our hurts— not to hurt others.”

    ― George Eliot, Middlemarch

    Via Flickr: flatworldsedge / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by @Bridgend6

    “She wasn’t a person to whom things happen. She did all the happenings.”

    – Muriel Spark, Aiding and Abetting

    “But surely to tell these tall tales and others like them would be to speed the myth, the wicked lie, that the past is always tense and the future, perfect.”

    – Zadie Smith, White Teeth

    Via Flickr: viktorsimonic / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by @acaseforbooks

    "He slept curled against her back, a dark comma against her pale elegant phrase.”

    ― A.S. Byatt, Possession

    “But time given to wishing for what can’t be is not only spent, but wasted, and for all that we waste we shall be accountable.”

    – Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower

    Via Flickr: adrian_kingsley-hughes / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    “What is pertinent is the calmness of beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.”

    – Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

    “And so they entwined their lives to drink from the pools of each other’s sadness. From these special watering holes, each man drew strength.”

    ― Monica Ali, Brick Lane

    Via Flickr: azrasta / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by @acaseforbooks

    “If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.”

    — W. H. Auden, The More Loving One

    “There must be more to man than that, surely? That we are not just one, but a multitude.”

    – Marcus Sedgwick, Midwinterblood

    Via Flickr: flatworldsedge / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    “A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”

    – Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

    “To live in Wales is to be conscious

    At dusk of the spilled blood

    That went into the making of the wild sky,

    Dyeing the immaculate rivers

    In all their courses.”

    – R.S. Thomas

    Suggested by @JoBarrow

    Via Flickr: 47515486@N05 / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by @Miss_Annie_Rose

    “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”

    – Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

    Suggested by @Cotchabamba

    “You play you win, you play you lose. What you risk reveals what you value"

    – Jeanette Winterson, The Passion

    Suggested by @TV_Kicks

    Via Flickr: adrian_kingsley-hughes / Creative Commons / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by @10n6inthisstyle

    “We carry the lives we’ve imagined as we carry the lives we have, and sometimes a reckoning comes of all the lives we have lost.”

    ― Helen MacDonald, H is for Hawk

    "Exit pursued by a bear."

    – William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale

    Suggested by Carlie_Dawn

    I am but one slow-reading man in a library of unread books, so this is not a definitive list, by any means. If there is a sentence by a British author that makes your heart soar, add it below so others may fly.

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