A collage of text over images

The best literary quotes about hope and optimism

You don't have to look far to find hope in a book. These authors have lent their words to the power of optimism.

Books bring us entertainment, inspiration and ideas. They allow us to reflect on the world around us, and escape from it. And, at times of upheaval and confusion, words from authors can spark that most valuable thing of all: hope. Here are some of the greatest meditations on optimism in literature.

Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses

"Everyone must dream. We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming – well, that's like saying you can never change your fate.

Bram Stoker, Dracula

"There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights."

George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

"We can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them."

Toni Morrison, Beloved

"You are your best thing." 

Emily Dickinson, The Poems of Emily Dickinson

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

"Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly."

Frank Herbert, Dune

"Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic."

Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget."

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”

Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."

Image: Alicia Fernandes / Penguin

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more