A gif of the words 'Winter kept us warm, covering us in forgetful snow'

The best literary quotes about winter

In the depths of winter books can offer escape and solace from the season, as these beautifully chilly quotes show.

With long nights and grey days, it's easy to be dismissive about winter. But the darkest, coldest season of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) can also provide time to reflect, recharge and relish nature's time of pause. In the world of literature, winter has also provided plenty of inspiration – here are some of the best quotes about the season. 

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person.”

Maya Angelou

"I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

"A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship."

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

"I could hear everything, together with the hum of my hotel neon. I never felt sadder in my life. LA is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities; New York gets godawful cold in the winter but there's a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets. LA is a jungle."

Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase

"Russian writers have a way with aphorisms. They probably spend all winter thinking them up.”

Stella Gibbons, Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm

"In the night the snow came. She awoke on Christmas morning in that unmistakeable light, coming up from the earth and shining between her curtains."

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind

"O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

TS Eliot, The Waste Land

"Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow"

Thomas De Quincy, Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o’clock, warm hearth rugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without.”

Toni Morrison, Beloved

"Outside, snow solidified itself into graceful forms. The peace of winter stars seemed permanent."

Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more