Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them.
The world is burdened with young fogies. Old men with ossified minds are easily dealt with. But men who look young, act young and everlastingly harp on the fact that they are young, but who nevertheless think and act with a degree of caution that would be excessive in their grandfathers, are the curse of the world. Their very conservatism is secondhand, and they don’t know what they are conserving.
Topics: Conservatives, Fear
I think of an author as somebody who goes into the marketplace and puts down his rug and says, “I will tell you a story,” and then he passes the hat.
Topics: Authors & Writing
You never see what you want to see, forever playing to the gallery.
Many a promising career has been wrecked by marrying the wrong sort of woman. The right sort of woman can distinguish between Creative Lassitude and plain shiftlessness.
Topics: Marriage, Wives
Literary critics, however, frequently suffer from a curious belief that every author longs to extend the boundaries of literary art, wants to explore new dimensions of the human spirit, and if he doesn’t, he should be ashamed of himself.
A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.
Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.
If I had my way books would not be written in English, but in an exceedingly difficult secret language that only skilled professional readers and story-tellers could interpret. Then people like you would have to go to public halls and pay good prices to hear the professionals decode and read the books aloud for you. This plan would have the advantage of scaring off all amateur authors, retired politicians, country doctors and I-Married-a-Midget writers who would not have the patience to learn the secret language.
Topics: Books, Reading
A Librettist is a mere drudge in the world of opera.
Too much traffic with a quotation book begets a conviction of ignorance in a sensitive reader. Not only is there a mass of quotable stuff he never quotes, but an even vaster realm of which he has never heard.
It is not always easy to diagnose. The simplest form of stupidity – the mumbling, nose-picking, stolid incomprehension – can be detected by anyone. But the stupidity which disguises itself as thought, and which talks so glibly and eloquently, indeed never stops talking, in every walk of life is not so easy to identify, because it marches under a formidable name, which few dare attack. It is called Popular Opinion…
The most original thing a writer can do is write like himself. It is also his most difficult task.
Very often when I am introduced to women, I think, What is she really like behind the disguise which she wears? And very often I discover that she is pleasant enough, and probably would expand and glow if she received enough affection.
Wisdom is a variable possession. Every man is wise when pursued by a mad dog, fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion.
I never heard of anyone who was really literate or who ever really loved books who wanted to suppress any of them. Censors only read a book with great difficulty, moving their lips as they puzzle out each syllable, when someone tells them that the book is unfit to read.
Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.
Several children present me with scraps of paper for autographs: obviously don’t know who I am and don’t care. I sign “Jackie Collins” and they go away quite content.
What we call luck is the inner man externalized. We make things happen to us.
A happy childhood has spoiled many a promising life.
Only a fool expects to be happy all the time.
The drama may be called that part of theatrical art which lends itself most readily to intellectual discussion: what is left is theater.
Students today are a pretty solemn lot. One of the really notable achievements of the twentieth century has been to make the young old before their time.
Although there may be nothing new under the sun, what is old is new to us and so rich and astonishing that we never tire of it. If we do tire of it, if we lose our curiosity, we have lost something of infinite value, because to a high degree it is curiosity that gives meaning and savour to life.
The greatest gift that Oxford gives her sons is, I truly believe, a genial irreverence toward learning, and from that irreverence love may spring.
Topics: Education, Universities, Colleges
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Margaret Atwood Canadian Author
- Stephen Leacock Canadian Humorist
- Marshall Mcluhan Canadian Thinker
- Graham Greene British Novelist
- James Cameron Canadian Filmmaker
- Pierre Trudeau Canadian Statesman
- Margaret Laurence Canadian Novelist
- Jeanette Winterson English Novelist
- Italo Calvino Italian Novelist, Writer
- George Bernard Shaw Irish Playwright