Quiz about Quotes from Great Writers
Quiz about Quotes from Great Writers

Quotes from Great Writers Trivia Quiz


Here are some quotes from famous writers throughout history. See how many you know, but make sure you have fun doing so.

A multiple-choice quiz by Creedy. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
Creedy
Time
3 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
347,164
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Easy
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
2219
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 73 (8/10), YamaV (10/10), johnnycat777 (10/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. "The civility which money will purchase is rarely extended to those who have none". Which English writer said this, please, sir? Hint

Charles Dickens
Jane Austen
William Shakespeare
Emily Bronte

2. Which great naturalist and author wrote "An American monkey ... after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men"? Hint

Captain Cook
Charles Darwin
Tarzan
George Bernard Shaw

3. Which prolific British author once remarked, "There is but an inch of difference between the cushioned chamber and the padded cell"? Hint

Mark Twain
G.K. Chesterton
Gene Roddenberry
William Faulkner

4. "A highbrow is a man or woman of thoroughbred intelligence who rides his mind at a gallop across country in pursuit of an idea". Which great female English writer who was a member of the Bloomsbury Group said this? Hint

Virginia Woolf
Emily Bronte
Jane Austen
Elizabeth Gaskell

5. "He was a bold man that first ate an oyster". Which Irish author, who wrote an unusual book relating to bodily size, said this? Hint

William Shakespeare
Mark Twain
Jonathan Swift
F. Scott Fitzgerald

6. "Why is it that when you awake to the world of realities, you nearly always feel, sometimes very vividly, that the vanished dream has carried with it some enigma which you have failed to solve?" Which great Russian writer said this? Hint

Vladimir Schwarzenegger
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Helina Bestrzynski
Dmitry Medvedev

7. "The Nations of the earth are mostly swayed by fear - fear of the sort that a little cheap oratory turns easily to rage, hate and violence". Which novelist who wrote "Heart of Darkness" in 1902 said this? Hint

Charles Dickens
Winston Churchill
Joseph Conrad
Oscar Wilde

8. Which English author of "Adam Bede" wrote, "The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history"? Hint

Henry Handel Richardson
George Eliot
Currer Bell
George Sand

9. Which persecuted Irish born playwright and author remarked "For an artist to marry his model is as fatal as for a gourmet to marry his cook: the one gets no sittings and the other gets no dinners"? Hint

Edgar Allan Poe
Oscar Wilde
Walt Whitman
Ralph Waldo Emerson

10. This amazing man was a vaudeville, radio, film and television star, scriptwriter, stand-up comedian, and an author of ten best sellers. "When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick" is an off the cuff remark he once made. Who is he? Hint

Brad Pitt
George Burns
Vincent Price
Ronald Reagan


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. "The civility which money will purchase is rarely extended to those who have none". Which English writer said this, please, sir?

Answer: Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens lived from 1812 to 1870. He came from a poor, hard-working family, and by the time he was twelve years old, his father was in prison for debt. Dickens had to go out to work to help earn money to feed the family and never forgot the harshness and inequality of this experience. He studied hard and worked his way up to become a stenographer and then a reporter. It was in this latter job that he began to write under the pen name, Boz. Most of the short stories he wrote were centred on the ordinary people of London, and he paints many a brilliant word picture of the harsh realities of life in the nineteenth century. One of his famous novels, "Oliver Twist", was published in 1838. It tells the story of a young orphan boy, brought up in a poverty and harshness. He inadvertently gets mixed up in the criminal life, but manages to overcome all and find happiness at the novel's conclusion. The work tells an engrossing tale that is also a cry for social justice for the young unwanted waifs of London.

Dickens was a powerful, compassionate and prolific writer, and the longer he is dead, the more his reputation grows - but he was no paragon of virtue. Married to one woman, who bore him ten children, he was deeply in love with one of her sisters, was more than fond of another, and had a discreet affair with one or two other women.
2. Which great naturalist and author wrote "An American monkey ... after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men"?

Answer: Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) argued for the theory of evolution. He had initially studied to become a doctor but changed his mind and studied to become a minister, then changed his mind again. He finally settled on working on his theories of evolution and natural selection for the rest of his life. He is known for his great work "On the Origin of the Species ..." (1859) in this regard.

He demonstrated, from his thousands of notes on plants and animals in different parts of the globe, that "species of plants and animals are not constant, but subject to change, and that the species that exist now evolved by natural means from other species that existed previously; (and) the expediency observable in nature was created, and is being created, by the natural selection of random changes that are useful for the organism..."

His theories on evolution and natural selection are very interesting and based on observation over time. Measurable observations are always the hallmark of good scientists. It's when the leap is made to theories based on those findings that the problems arise. Some people consider Darwin to be "one of the most influential figures in human history". On the other hand, his ideas were met with the sternest resistance by various churches and other powerful organisation of the time. For many years, science and religion clashed head on as a result. Despite this, when he died in 1882 he was given a state funeral - an extremely rare honour.

Darwin was related to the famous Wedgwood pottery family through his mother.
3. Which prolific British author once remarked, "There is but an inch of difference between the cushioned chamber and the padded cell"?

Answer: G.K. Chesterton

These days Chesterton (1874-1936) is most closely identified with the series of Father Brown detective stories, but he was a much deeper and intellectual thinker than is commonly realised. Indeed, George Bernard Shaw, his verbal sparring partner and friend, described Chesterton as "a man of colossal genius". Chesterton, who liked to use humour and paradox to put his serious points across, covered a vast array of issues in his works. These included articles on politics, capitalism, socialism, economics, theology and works of "philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics...and fiction". Oh my goodness. The following is a list of his literary output during the course of his life: "80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4,000 essays and several plays". That's in addition to his various newspaper columns and his articles written for inclusion in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. That's amazing!

He was a rather large man in build, tall and heavy, with a very comfortable girth. When asked during the First World War why he wasn't out on the Front, he replied with the hilarious rejoinder, "If you go round to the side, you will see that I am". He also remarked, "Thieves respect property. They merely wish your property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it". Make no mistake though. This brilliant man was an incredibly deep and powerful thinker and writer. He was the Steven Hawking of the literary world.

The other three authors listed above are all American.
4. "A highbrow is a man or woman of thoroughbred intelligence who rides his mind at a gallop across country in pursuit of an idea". Which great female English writer who was a member of the Bloomsbury Group said this?

Answer: Virginia Woolf

Virginia (1882-1941) was the daughter of the English author and critic Sir Leslie Stephen, so writing, it seems, was in her genes. She was homeschooled and grew up spending hours of every day in her father's enormous library which was filled with fascinating books on every topic under the sun. What a resource! She also married a writer and critic, and of course became a prolific writer herself. The Bloomsbury Group, with whom she associated, was a crowd of intellectuals, artists and fellow writers. They met once a week to discuss a wide array of intellectual, religious, artistic and sexual topics, or anything other category that intrigued their rapier like minds, and sent them galloping "across the country in pursuit of an idea".

The main theme that winds its way through many of Virginia's own works was her "stream of consciousness" technique. This reveals the hidden thoughts and inner experiences of her characters, and it can be a little disconcerting at times to read. Some of her well known works include "Jacob's Room (1922) and "Mrs Dalloway" (1925) and "Orlando" (1928). Poor Virginia's mental health was unstable at times and she experienced at least two well known breakdowns. She drowned herself in 1941 because she was afraid that she was going insane.
5. "He was a bold man that first ate an oyster". Which Irish author, who wrote an unusual book relating to bodily size, said this?

Answer: Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift was an intriguing mix. He was a writer who also was the Anglican Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Ireland. And his personality was an oddly juxtaposed combination of snobbishness, disdain of the ruling elite - and compassion for the poor. Born in 1667, to a comfortably off family, it would be his uncle who was the primary influence on the development of Swift's intellectual pursuits. Uncle Swift, in short, paid for the boy's education.

In Swift's second appointment as a chaplain to a small flock of only fifteen people, he developed a beautiful garden, planted many lovely and graceful trees, remodelled the vicarage - and built a canal to fill in his spare time. He appeared to have endless piles of energy. At the same time he began to write political pamphlets for publication.

On attaining his Doctorate in Divinity in 1702, Swift, instead of devoting his time to a fine ecclesiastical career, peculiarly devoted most of his time to writing instead. He mixed socially and creatively with many other fine writers of the day, and helped to form the Scriblerus Writer's Club with them. These included members such as Alexander Pope and John Gay. Swift's writing output increased dramatically during this period - and he also became very politically active as well. In fact, he seemed to have his finger in a large array of many pies, none of which included religion. He's quite a fascinating character to study, including his rather gruesome death in 1745.

Swift is known more than anything else, perhaps, for his work "Gulliver's Travels" (1726). In this book, Gulliver spends time in four different lands. These include the Land of Lilliput, where he is a giant - before he moves to Brobdingnag, where he is only one twelfth the size of the people in that land. From there he moves to the flying island of Laputa in which people are obsessed with creating art, mathematical works and the development of science - none of which has any practical use. The fourth part of his journey is a places inhabited by the Houyhnhnms, where people are deformed and base, and where the land is ruled by the intelligent horse-like Houyhnhnms. Gulliver visits several other places on his travels, all strange and bizarre, inhabited by people of varying unpleasant shapes. This book, in fact, is a great political satire on all society's categories of the time. Swift attacks them all for their hypocrisy and stupidity and lack of compassion. Just as a final comment, it also reflects, to a degree, Swift's obsession with the ugliness of the human body.
6. "Why is it that when you awake to the world of realities, you nearly always feel, sometimes very vividly, that the vanished dream has carried with it some enigma which you have failed to solve?" Which great Russian writer said this?

Answer: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I sincerely hope I don't have to spell his name too many times in this section.

Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821 and died in 1881. His father was a viciously harsh man who drove his own serfs to such a state of desperation that they murdered him. As Dostoyevsky grew older, and began to experiment with his writing forms, he joined a group of radicals who attacking the injustice of the Tsarist regime. Not that it got them anywhere. They were caught and all trucked off to do hard labour in Siberia for a few years. On his return, he poured out his heart with his pen, and in the years that followed, wrote novels, essays, short stories and various other literary works. His most famous production, of course, is "Crime and Punishment" which was published over the twelve months of 1866 in serial form. Not what I'd recommend for a bit of light reading, however. On the other hand, highly recommended if you wish to be thoroughly depressed. My stars, he's heavy going - but a great writer, nevertheless. When he died in 1881, such was his reputation, that his funeral was attended by forty thousand people.

The quote above was taken from his novel "The Idiot" which was published in 1869. This is another of Dostoyevsky's cheerful works - about as cheerful, in fact, as a taxation audit.
7. "The Nations of the earth are mostly swayed by fear - fear of the sort that a little cheap oratory turns easily to rage, hate and violence". Which novelist who wrote "Heart of Darkness" in 1902 said this?

Answer: Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad was an English novelist of Polish descent, who was born in 1857 and died in 1924. Themes often present in his works include symbolism to stress the impact of various situations, nautical settings, and the clash between western societies and non-western cultures.

This is seen perfectly in the grim novel "Heart of Darkness" where the narrator of the novel, once a decent man, gives way to the dark impulses that seeped through his soul when he visits Africa. It's a deeply disturbing work and is approximately on par with the dark and depressing themes found in Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", or Wilde's "Picture of Dorian Gray".

They all make me shudder. The quote above expresses one of Conrad's obsessions in life - how easy it is to be drawn towards the darkness he believed was inherent in all of us.
8. Which English author of "Adam Bede" wrote, "The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history"?

Answer: George Eliot

Mary Ann Evans, a.k.a. George Eliot, was born in England in 1819, and died there in 1880. Her life and her work spanned the greater part of the Victorian era. During that time, she wrote seven well known novels. These included "The Mill on the Floss" (1860) and "Silas Marner" (1861) and "Middlemarch" (1871-72). Her works, most of which are placed in provincial settings, are noted for their "realism and psychological insight".

Female authors were published during this era, but they were bound, to a great degree, by what society expected of them - light, romantic works. Eliot, who worked as a journalist and translator of other written works, wanted to write works with a little more depth than what could only be described as Barbara Cartland productions. Another deeper reason behind her decision to hide her real identity, perhaps, was the fact that she lived with a married man for more than twenty years. How that would have scandalised Victorian society! Not only that, but she also worked as the head of a literary business for some time; completely lost her religious faith; developed several embarrassing crushes on unavailable men; and was generally looked upon as having an unattractive and undesirable appearance unlikely to draw suitable suitors to her side. Poor girl. That was a damning indictment in those days.

At the beginning of the 1850s she met a married man who found her attractive, however, and by 1854, the lovebirds were living together in domestic bliss. Furthermore, in spite of not being legally so, they were introducing themselves as Mr and Mrs Lewes. In fact, such was their love for each other, that Eliot dedicated her third novel "To my beloved husband, George Henry Lewes...written in the sixth year of our life together...". To be surrounded by the security of love was the incentive that enabled Eliot to write her great works. Sadly, George Lewes died in 1878. In 1880, the grief-stricken Eliot, still needing that security of love, married a man twenty years younger than herself. More scandal! Her new (and legal) husband, said to be unstable, tried to commit suicide on their honeymoon by jumping off a high balcony in Venice. Either that, or he accidentally fell off instead. Elliot wasn't able to enjoy this marriage however, or produce any more great works. She died in December of that same year. It is to be understood, then, why she made that remark featured in this question. Her life was an historical epic all on its own.
9. Which persecuted Irish born playwright and author remarked "For an artist to marry his model is as fatal as for a gourmet to marry his cook: the one gets no sittings and the other gets no dinners"?

Answer: Oscar Wilde

Poor old Oscar Wilde! He had dared to be different, but failed to hide his differences under a cloak of what was socially acceptable for the times in which he lived. Born in Ireland in 1854, he died in Paris in 1900, a broken man, impoverished, shunned, humiliated and scorned. He had toppled down to this level, from his position as one of the most sought after wits in Britain, because of his time spent in an English prison. The crime which saw his placed there was that of gross indecency relating to his homosexual escapades. He had fallen in love with the son of a member of the British aristocracy, and fallen out with the young man's furious father, the Marquess of Queensberry in the process. Known, during the time in which he lived for his brilliantly witty works for stage, we remember Wilde best today, more than 100 years after his death for his one great novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" which was published in 1890.

The basic theme running through this work is that of the struggle between the good and evil inherent in a man's nature. It is presented in a supernatural format. A portrait by a sensitive and beauty loving artist, Basil Hallward, of a young and beautiful man, Dorian Gray, begins to change and alter throughout time. This takes place as its model falls temptation to a very depraved and hedonistic life style introduced to him by one Lord Henry. Yet the young man himself, Dorian Gray, remains astonishingly young and beautiful still. The painting at the close of the novel is disgusting, repulsive to the eye, diseased and evil, a face that reveals the depraved real life Gray has led over the years as he indulged in every crime, every temptation he so desired. One can barely look at the true evil leering out from the portrait's frame. At the close of the novel, in an attempt to find forgiveness for the hideous life he has led, Dorian Gray plunges a knife deep into the heart of the painting, screams in agony, and drops dead to the floor. When the police break into his room on the frightened request of his servants, Gray is revealed, contorted with agony on the floor, with all the loathsome marks of sin the portrait had portrayed now present on his own body. The painting however had reverted to that of the young, beautiful and pure young man he once was. It scared me half witless the first time I read that book.

In a revealing letter sent to an acquaintance, Wilde remarked of his novel that "Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks me: Dorian is what I would like to be - in other ages, perhaps".
10. This amazing man was a vaudeville, radio, film and television star, scriptwriter, stand-up comedian, and an author of ten best sellers. "When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick" is an off the cuff remark he once made. Who is he?

Answer: George Burns

The darling old George Burns was known, more than anything else, for his career as a comedian and actor. A lesser known fact about him is that he was a top selling author with a total of ten books to his credit. He also wrote scripts for "vaudeville, films, radio, and, finally, television" throughout his long life as an entertainer. A few of his books include "The Third Time Around" (1980) and "Gracie: A Love Story" (1988) and, amazingly, in his hundredth year "100 Years 100 Stories" (1996).

Born in New York in 1896, George Burns died in Beverly Hills in 1996, at the grand old age of 100 years and 49 days. He was truly blessed by sharing much of that journey with the great love of his life, Gracie Allen. They spent a long career together as the top-rated comedy team of Burns and Allen. When she died in 1964 at the age of 69, he was absolutely distraught with grief. He wouldn't die until another thirty-two years had passed, but before he did, he had the wording on their joint crypt altered to read "Gracie Allen and George Burns - Together Again". He did this because, after being known for years as the Burns and Allen team, he wanted Gracie to have top billing at last. Those few words are probably his greatest written work of all.
Source: Author Creedy

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