Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Painting a love of literature permanently on our skin

Literary tattoos are a great way for book lovers to express their love of literature visibly on their skin. Pinterest and Instagram are full of beautiful odes to the novels that have touched the hearts of many. This can include quotes from books and poems, drawings to represent images on the covers of books, and particular symbols within novels or references to the actual discipline of literature such as tattoos of fountain pens and typewriters. I love literary tattoos because they are meaningful and powerful, and show an expression of an extremely personal passion for a work of literature.

One of my favourite literary tattoos which seems to be fairly popular is the title of Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Still I Rise’, often accompanied by images of birds to reflect the poem’s symbolism. The short and snappiness of it is so powerful, yet still embodies empowerment and one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

A popular placement for these smaller literary tattoos appears to be on the wrist, somewhere clearly visible

The drawing of a mockingbird to represent the image on the cover of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is another of my favourites. It is beautiful, delicate and subtle but references a powerful work of literature, reminding people to be kind to others and overcome discrimination. A popular placement for these smaller literary tattoos appears to be on the wrist, somewhere clearly visible.

Many choose to have quotes from their favourite novels which, while also looking extremely cool, can remind them why they love the novel. A personal favourite is “not all who wander are lost” from the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien, which seems widely popular for those who love travelling. Whilst this one looks cute, I saw another on Pinterest which I thought was inspirational: “I was still me” from Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, denoting the obtaining of closure after a tragedy and can remind those who have suffered hardships to keep going.

For those who love romance novels, “I love you most ardently” from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, or “What’s past is prologue” from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, reminding people to move on from things and not live in the past.

It is the last line of the novel and a reminder to not follow the crowd and to keep going, no matter what happens

I love tattoos and I already have a heart on my ankle with a plane in to reflect my love of travel so, similarly, I am planning on getting several literary tattoos. As a lover of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, I intend to get a drawing of a sailboat with the quote “So we beat on, boats against the current”, as it is the last line of the novel and a reminder to not follow the crowd and to keep going, no matter what happens.

I also would like to get “I remembered that the real world was wide” from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre as it serves as a reminder that there is a big world waiting to be explored, and I love it’s hopefulness. I am hoping to get one based on yet another of my favourite books which is E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View, although I am currently undecided on exactly what to get.

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