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Top 10 Literary Quotes from The Simpsons

Greg Zimmerman

Staff Writer

Greg Zimmerman blogs about contemporary literary fiction at The New Dork Review of Books and holds down a full-time gig as a trade magazine editor. Follow him on Twitter: @NewDorkReview.

The Simpsons is famous for many things — being the longest running American sitcom (and animated series) ever, unleashing a number culturally trendy expressions (“Worst episode ever,” etc.), and for being just generally awesome. But perhaps its most notable accomplishment is setting an unofficial record for most guest spots by literary authors. If you want a list of all the books and authors mentioned on The Simpsons, this article at The Atlantic accomplishes that admirably. On the other hand, if you want a list of the best and funniest literary quotes from Springfield’s nuclear family, here you go.



10. While visiting Ireland…

Lisa: “Oh, it must be Bloomsday. Every June 16, lovers of James Joyce follow the route traveled by Leopold Bloom in the novel Ulysses.”

Bart: “What you’re saying is, we’ve run out of fun things to do.”  


9. On the over-analyzation of fiction, or why the curtains are blue

Lisa: “Miss Tan, I loved The Joy Luck Club. It really showed me how the mother-daughter bond can triumph over adversity.”

Amy Tan: “No, that’s not what I meant at all. You couldn’t have gotten it more wrong.”

Lisa: “But…”

Amy Tan: “Please just sit down. I’m embarrassed for both of us.”


8. Taking the words right out of many women readers’ mouths:

Krusty the Klown: “Shut up, Updike!” 


7. On the “real” value of fiction…

Lisa: “I think books have an amazing power to bring people together. Look, even Cletus is checking one out.”

Cletus: “Now hold still. Nothing cracks a turtle like Leon Uris.”


6. Lisa, wise beyond her years in the ways of the world…

Lisa: “These (writers) are my only friends: grown up nerds like Gore Vidal, and even he’s kissed more boys than I ever will.”

Marge: Girls, Lisa. Boys kiss girls.”


5. Is this true, Gaiman fans? 

Neil Gaiman: “I’ve heisted my way to the bestseller list once again. And the most brilliant part is… I don’t even know how to read!”

Also, on that episode; Homer: “I just hope we remembered to put in enough steampunk. Whatever that is.”


4. Thomas Pynchon un-recluses. 

First, on one episode; Lisa: “Are you reading Gravity’s Rainbow?”

College Girl (condescendingly): “Well, rereading.”

Then, on a later episode; Pynchon: “These wings are ‘V’-licious! I’ll put this recipe in ‘The Gravity’s Rainbow Cookbook’, right next to ‘The Frying of Latke 49.'”  

(Note: This quote is far, far funnier than his quote earlier in the episode when he says he loves Marge’s book almost as much as he loves cameras…but that’s pretty funny, too.)


3. Capturing Philip Roth in a single image.








2. What EVERYONE’S thinking, with JK Rowling…

Lisa: “Can you tell me what happens at the end of the series?”

JK Rowling (kind of ticked): “Yes, he grows up and marries you… Is that what you want to hear?”

Lisa (sighs, happily):  “Yes…”


1. Author rivalries, Franzen and Chabon-style. 

Michael Chabon: “That’s it, Franzen! I think your nose needs some ‘corrections!'”  

(Note: Chabon and Franzen are reportedly good friends in real life.)

On that same episode; Bart: “Hey, writers! The Da Vinci Code just sold another hundred copies!” (loud moan from the writers).