Communism, my friend, is more than Marxism, just as Catholicism is more than the Roman Curia. There is a mystique as well as a politick. Catholics and Communists have committed great crimes, but at least they have not stood aside, like an established society, and been indifferent. I would rather have blood on my hands than water like Pilate.
Topics: Socialism, Communism
People talk about the courage of condemned men walking to the place of execution: sometimes it needs as much courage to walk with any kind of bearing towards another person’s habitual misery.
Topics: Money, Misery
If you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or is it the same faith under another mask?
I had very good dentures once. Some magnificent gold work. It’s the only form of jewelry a man can wear that women fully appreciate.
A murderer is regarded by the conventional world as something almost monstrous, but a murderer to himself is only an ordinary man. It is only if the murderer is a good man that he can be regarded as monstrous.
We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.
Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.
Topics: Challenges, Wine, Alcohol
We are all of us resigned to death: it’s life we aren’t resigned to.
Behind the complicated details of the world stand the simplicities: God is good, the grown-up man or woman knows the answer to every question, there is such a thing as truth, and justice is as measured and faultless as a clock. Our heroes are simple: they are brave, they tell the truth, they are good swordsmen and they are never in the long run really defeated. That is why no later books satisfy us like those which were read to us in childhood—for those promised a world of great simplicity of which we knew the rules, but the later books are complicated and contradictory with experience; they are formed out of our own disappointing memories.
If I had to choose between life in the Soviet Union and life in the U. S. A. , I would certainly choose the Soviet Union.
I have often noticed that a bribe has that effect—it changes a relation. The man who offers a bribe gives away a little of his own importance; the bribe once accepted, he becomes the inferior, like a man who has paid for a woman.
Topics: Corruption, Defects
Failure too is a form of death…
Unhappiness in a child accumulates because he sees no end to the dark tunnel. The thirteen weeks of a term might just as well be thirteen years.
Cynicism is cheap—you can buy it at any Monoprix store—it’s built into all poor-quality goods.
Those who marry God can become domesticated too—it’s just as hum-drum a marriage as all the others. The word Love means a formal touch of the lips as in the ceremony of the Mass, and Ave Maria like dearest is a phrase to open a letter. This marriage like the world’s marriages was held together by habits and tastes shared in common between God and themselves—it was God’s taste to be worshipped and their taste to worship, but only at stated hours like a suburban embrace on a Saturday night.
Innocence always calls mutely for protection when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it: innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.
A treasure is to be valued for its own sake and not for what it will buy.
We mustn’t complain too much of being comedians—it’s an honorable profession. If only we could be good ones the world might gain at least a sense of style. We have failed—that’s all. We are bad comedians, we aren’t bad men.
Against the beautiful and the clever and the successful, one can wage a pitiless war, but not against the unattractive: then the millstone weighs on the breast.
You think it more difficult to turn air into wine than to turn wine into blood?
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Dodie Smith British Novelist
- Dorothy L. Sayers English Novelist, Playwright
- Gladys Bronwyn Stern British Novelist
- J. B. Priestley British Novelist, Playwright, Essayist
- Doris Lessing British Novelist, Poet
- Agatha Christie British Novelist
- William Shakespeare British Playwright
- V. S. Pritchett British Short Story Writer
- W. Somerset Maugham British Novelist
- Arnold J. Toynbee British Historian