15 Memorable D.H. Lawrence Quotes

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons / Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Though he courted controversy throughout most of his life and career, particularly following the publishing of 1928’s Lady Chatterley's Lover—which, due to its erotic content, was banned in America until 1959—today, D.H. Lawrence is widely considered one of the 20th century’s most influential writers.

But Lawrence was much more than a novelist: He was also a prolific playwright, poet, literary critic, and painter. Here are 15 memorable quotes from the famously controversial author.

1. On the Root of All Things

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure."

2. On the Fleeting Nature of Love

"Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration."

3. On Accepting One's Flaws

"The cruelest thing a man can do to a woman is to portray her as perfection."

4. On Taking Chances

"When one jumps over the edge, one is bound to land somewhere."

5. On Reading Between the Lines

"I hold that the parentheses are by far the most important parts of a non-business letter."

6. On Dreams

"I can never decide whether my dreams are the result of my thoughts, or my thoughts the result of my dreams."

7. On Challenging Authority

"We have to hate our immediate predecessors to get free from their authority."

8. On the Joy of Living

"For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive."

9. On Separating an Artist from His or Her Art

"Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it."

10. On Making the Most of Life

"Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved."

11. On Trusting Your Instincts

"Be a good animal, true to your animal instincts."

12. On Finding Love

"Those that go searching for love only make manifest their own lovelessness, and the loveless never find love, only the loving find love, and they never have to seek for it."

13. On Embracing Passion

"Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot."

14. On Money

"Money poisons you when you've got it, and starves you when you haven't."

15. On Fighting for Freedoms

"Do not allow to slip away from you freedoms the people who came before you won with such hard knocks."

For more fascinating facts and stories about your favorite authors and their works, check out Mental Floss's new book, The Curious Reader: A Literary Miscellany of Novels and Novelists, out May 25!