C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Fiction is the microscope of truth.


Truth, severe by fairy fiction drest.


Parent of golden dreams—romance!


The greater portion of our lives is thrown away in fiction; it is only in maturer years that we awake to the stern realities of life.

James Ellis.

Tales that have the rime of age.


An old novel has a history of its own.

Alexander Smith.

Every novel is a debtor to Homer.


Novels are to love as fairy tales to dreams.


Wondrous strong are the spells of fiction.


I have often maintained that fiction may be much more instructive than real history.

John Foster.

Man is a poetical animal, and delights in fiction.


Truth and fiction are so aptly mixed that all seems uniform and of a piece.


  • More strange than true, I never may believe
  • These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
  • Shakespeare.

    Unbind the charms that in slight fables lie, and teach that truth is truest poesy.


    No author ever drew a character consistent to human nature but what he was forced to ascribe it to many inconsistencies.


    In employing fiction to make truth clear and goodness attractive, we are only following the example which every Christian ought to propose to himself.


    Those who relish the study of character may profit by the reading of good works of fiction, the product of well-established authors.


    Fiction may be said to be the caricature of history.


    Who would with care some happy fiction frame, so mimics truth it looks the very same.


    Fiction is most powerful when it contains most truth; and there is little truth we get so true as that which we find in fiction.

    J. G. Holland.

    If you would understand your own age, read the works of fiction produced in it. People in disguise speak freely.

    Arthur Helps.

    He cometh to you with a tale which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimney-corner.

    Sir P. Sidney.

  • When fiction rises pleasing to the eye,
  • Men will believe, because they love the lie;
  • But truth herself, if clouded with a frown,
  • Must have some solemn proof to pass her down.
  • Churchill.

    Fiction is no longer a mere amusement; but transcendent genius, accommodating itself to the character of the age, has seized upon this province of literature, and turned fiction from a toy into a mighty engine.


    Fiction is of the essence of poetry as well as of painting; there is a resemblance in one of human bodies, things, and actions which are not real, and in the other of a true story by fiction.


    Every fiction since Homer has taught friendship, patriotism, generosity, contempt of death. These are the highest virtues; and the fictions which taught them were therefore of the highest, though not of unmixed, utility.

    Sir J. Mackintosh.

    Addison acknowledged that he would rather inform than divert his reader; but he recollected that a man must be familiar with wisdom before he willingly enters on Seneca and Epictetus. Fiction allures him to the severe task by a gayer preface. Embellished truths are the illuminated alphabet of larger children.


    The most influential books, and the truest in their influence, are works of fiction.***They repeat, they re-arrange, they clarify the lessons of life; they disengage us from ourselves, they constrain us to the acquaintance of others; and they show us the web of experience, but with a singular change—that monstrous, consuming ego of ours being, nonce, struck out.

    Robert Louis Stevenson.