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15 Literary Quotes about Autumn: An Ode to This Season’s Grace

15 Literary Quotes about Autumn: An Ode to This Season’s Grace

Take the time to embrace the sweeping sensations of this season: renewal, inspiration, nostalgia, delight, the bittersweetness of life – bottled up in the air. These literary quotes about autumn are the perfect descriptions to satisfy your musing heart.

Let’s revel in the magic of this season. Just for another moment longer… and then another. 

Let's wake up to the earth in a bright and fantastical way.

Let’s fall in love with the very air we’re breathing, the sounds of crackling fires, the woods we walk crisply through, the world of color about us.

Gathering quotes like fallen acorns is one of my favorite pastimes. I could not carry them all, but I chose those that I couldn’t risk not bringing home.

These autumn quotes, excerpted from novels and letters and poetry collections, distill, I dare say so perfectly, the essence of autumn’s artistry.

Want to meditate on the season? Here's one inspired by the falling leaves. I love this one.

15 Lovely Literary Quotes about Autumn

1. “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill—several thrills? I’m going to decorate my room with them.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

2. “Fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white and silence of winter. Fall is begging for us to dance and sing and write with just the same drama and blaze.” — Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

3. “Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” ― Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's

4. “Even now I remember those pictures, like pictures in a storybook one loved as a child. Radiant meadows, mountains vaporous in the trembling distance; leaves ankle-deep on a gusty autumn road; bonfires and fog in the valleys; cellos, dark window-panes, snow.”― Donna Tartt, The Secret History

5. “It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.”― P.D. James, A Taste for Death

6. “It was a beautiful bright autumn day, with air like cider and a sky so blue you could drown in it.”― Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

7. “Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn — that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness — that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” ― Jane Austen, Persuasion

8. “November — with uncanny witchery in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes – days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees.” — L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle

9. “He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.”― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

10. “Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” — George Eliot, letter to Miss Lewis, 1st October 1841

11. “I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne

12. “At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” — Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on Cézanne

13. “In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild heavens, and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can feel the breath of winter, morning and evening — no days so calm, so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air.” — Alexander Smith, “An Essay on an Old Subject”

14. “Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up. It is the pastime of a full quarter of the year. Dead trees, sere leaves, dried grass and herbs—are not these a good part of our life? And what is that pride of our autumnal scenery but the hectic flush, the sallow and cadaverous countenance of vegetation? its painted throes, with the November air for canvas?” — Henry David Thoreau, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1842 March 11th

15. “The maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a gigantic red torch. The oaks along the roadway glowed yellow and bronze. The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet. Everywhere she walked the color shouted and sang around her … In October any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible.” — Elizabeth George Speare, The Witch of Blackbird Pond

. . .

Tell me:

Which of these quotes is your favorite?

Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I'd love to know!

Enjoy yourself and the changing world reflected on the waters of your heart.

Autumn love,


Comments on this post (1)

  • Oct 24, 2021

    Lovely collection of fall quotes. Donna, Diane and Jane are some of my favorite authors!

    — Margaret

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