Literary Birthday – 24 March – Olive Schreiner

Olive Schreiner was born 24 March 1855, and died 11 December 1920.


  1. Perhaps the old monks were right when they tried to root love out; perhaps the poets are right when they try to water it. It is a blood-red flower, with the colour of sin; but there is always the scent of a god about it.
  2. How hard it is to make your thoughts look anything but imbecile fools when you paint them with ink on paper.
  3. When the curtain falls no one is ready.
  4. Of all cursed places under the sun, where the hungriest soul can hardly pick up a few grains of knowledge, a girls boarding-school is the worst. They are called finishing schools, and the name tells accurately what they are. They finish everything but imbecility and weakness, and that they cultivate. They are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question, Into how little space a human being can be crushed?
  5. Everything has two sides – the outside that is ridiculous, and the inside that is solemn.
  6. There has been a thunderstorm; the ground, as far as the eye can reach, is covered with white hail; the clouds are gone, and overhead a deep blue sky is showing; far off a great rainbow rests on the white earth. We, standing in a window to look, feel the cool, unspeakably sweet wind blowing in on us, and a feeling of longing comes over us–unutterable longing, we cannot tell for what.
  7. No good work is ever done while the heart is hot and anxious and fretted.
  8. Men are like the earth and we are the moon; we turn always one side to them, and they think there is no other, because they don’t see it – but there is.
  9. My feeling is that there is nothing in life but refraining from hurting others, and comforting those that are sad.
  10. Our fathers had their dreams; we have ours; the generation that follows will have its own. Without dreams and phantoms man cannot exist.
  11. Wisdom never kicks at the iron walls it can’t bring down.
  12. He who sits supine and intellectually inert, while great evils are being accomplished, sins wholly as much as he whose positive action produces them, and must pay the same price. The man at the helm who goes to sleep cannot blame the rock when the ship is thrown upon it.

Olive Schreiner was a South African author, anti-war campaigner, and intellectual. She is remembered for her novel, The Story of an African Farm, which has been highly acclaimed ever since its was published in 1883.

Source for Image:

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 24th March 2014