Words of Love

Inspired by Cleo’s readalong of Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving, I thought I would post some of my favorite quotations on the theme of love. It turns out I’ve collected quite a few …

A Meeting on the Bridge – Emile Claus, date unknown

“Love mustn’t forget that she is Wisdom’s sister.” — Rudolf Steiner

“If what we love be some Alastair, some mirage, even that mirage has a relative reality, the only reality which we are, at the moment we perceive it, capable of perceiving. To extinguish or deny such love as we have is to be without any light whatsoever; for love, and not that denial of living impulse my father’s generation so named, is will.” — Kathleen Raine

“God is behind all things, but all things hide God. Things are black, human beings opaque. To love someone is to make them transparent.” — Victor Hugo

“It is a mysterious and yet simple secret known to the sages of all ages: the most minute act of selfless devotion, every act of compassion given in love, makes us richer, whereas every effort towards posssession and power weakens our strength and makes us poorer. Every time we act in the spirit of selflessness, out of loving sacrifice, every compassionate act of service, every reunciation of self-interest, looks like a squandering, a self-deprivation, and yet the truth is such acts enrich us and make us grow. No other way leads forward and upward.” — Hermann Hesse

“Surely Christianity, rightly understood, is the Science of Love.” — Helen Keller

“Love can’t be pinned down by a definition, and it certainly can’t be proved, any more than anything else important in life can be proved…I am slowly coming to understand with my heart as well as my head that love is not a feeling. It is a person.” — Madeleine L’Engle

“But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” — Thornton Wilder

12 thoughts on “Words of Love

    1. Indeed. I read all of his novels a while back and it was a wonderful experience. The Bridge of San Luis Rey (from which the quote is taken) and Theophilus North are my favorites.


  1. Wonderful quotes, Lory and I love that painting!! I think my favourite is Victor Hugo’s quote, but I’m a Hugo fan. Wilder’s is so interesting and L’Engle …. oh, they’re all so good! Thanks so much for participating in the read-along. Your comments have been so perceptive and much appreciated!


    1. Les Miserables is so very quotable! I found so many marvelous nuggets to treasure in Hugo’s language.

      Thank you for the readalong, your summaries are so thorough and helpful too.


  2. A suitably lovely selection, Lory. Thanks, especially, for the Thornton Wilder one, which is possibly my favourite. Did you intend us to choose, I wonder?


    1. The thought did not occur to me – I don’t think I could choose favorites myself! I did put Wilder last because it’s such a lovely ending. Hard to beat that one.


  3. I’ve just downloaded a copy of Bridge of San Luis Rey from the NYPL — Russell Banks writes in the forward to this edition (2003) that the book is “as close to perfect a moral fable as we are ever likely to get in American literature.” I think I’m in the mood for something exactly like this. Thanks for the nudge!


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