Amos Oz

Literary Birthday – 4 May – Amos Oz

Amos Oz was born 4 May 1939 and died 28 December 2018.

Amos Oz Quotes

  1. Words create conceptions and self-conceptions and ultimately nations. They can start and stop wars. They can wound and heal. Choosing words carefully is a moral responsibility.
  2. When I was little, my ambition was to grow up to be a book. Not a writer. People can be killed like ants. Writers are not hard to kill either. But not books: however systematically you try to destroy them, there is always a chance that a copy will survive and continue to enjoy a shelf-life in some corner on an out-of-the-way library somewhere in Reykjavik, Valladolid or Vancouver.
  3. The opposite of compromise is not integrity. The opposite of compromise is not idealism. The opposite of compromise is fanaticism and death.
  4. Fundamentalists live life with an exclamation point. I prefer to live my life with a question mark.
  5. Literature is about telling stories. Now, the gift of literature is that, in some lucky cases, reading a novel or a story makes the reader more curious, more open-minded. It may open a third eye in the middle of the reader’s forehead.
  6. Writing a poem is like having an affair, a one-night stand; a short story is a romance, a relationship; a novel is a marriage – one has to be cunning, devise compromises, and make sacrifices.
  7. Literature may make the reader re-examine some of his or her own conventions, look at himself or herself in a different way, look at others in a different way.
  8. Actually, who hasn’t been through the ghastly experience of sitting in front of a blank page, with its toothless mouth grinning at you: Go ahead, let’s see you lay a finger on me? A blank page is actually a whitewashed wall with no door and no window. Beginning to tell a story is like making a pass at a total stranger in a restaurant.
  9. Every decent man had to be against fascism, period.

Amos Oz was an Israeli writer, novelist, journalist, and intellectual. He was also a professor of Hebrew literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He was the author of 40 books, including novels, short story collections, children’s books, and essays, and his work has been published in 45 languages, more than that of any other Israeli writer. He wrote A Tale of Love and Darkness.

Source for image

Fronteiras do Pensamento, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 4th May 2019