Evelyn Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh

Evelyn
Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh
1903
1966

English Novelist, Biographer and Journalist

Author Quotes

The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are. With anyone over fifty you can be fairly confident what's been taught and what's been left out. But these young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into depths of confusion you didn't know existed.

They should have told me that at the end of that gay journey and flower-strewn path were the hideous lights of home and the voices of children.

What an immature, self-destructive, antiquated mischief is man! How obscure and gross his prancing and chattering on his little stage of evolution! How loathsome and beyond words boring all the thoughts and self-approval of his biological by-product! this half-formed, ill-conditioned body! this erratic, maladjusted mechanism of his soul: on one side the harmonious instincts and balanced responses of the animal, on the other the inflexible purpose of the engine, and between them man, equally alien from the being of Nature and the doing of the machine, the vile becoming!

My dear, I could hardly keep still in my chair. I wanted to dash out of the house and leap in a taxi and say, Take me to Charles's unhealthy pictures. Well, I went, but the gallery after luncheon was so full of absurd women in the sort of hats they should be made to eat, that I rested a little--I rested here with Cyril and Tom and these saucy boys. Then I came back at the unfashionable time of five o'clock, all agog, my dear; and what did I find? I found, my dear, a very naughty and very successful practical joke. It reminded me of dear Sebastian when he liked so much to dress up in false whiskers. It was charm again, my dear, simple, creamy English charm, playing tigers.

Of course those that have charm don't really need brains.

Rex has never been unkind to me intentionally. It's just that he isn't a real person at all; he's just a few faculties of a man highly developed; the rest simply isn't there.

That kernel of gaiety that never breaks.

The truth is that Oxford is simply a very beautiful city in which it is convenient to segregate a certain number of the young of the nation while they are growing up.

Thus strategists hesitate over the map, the few pins and lines of coloured chalk, contemplating a change in the pins and lines, a matter of inches, which outside the room, out of sight of the studious officers, may engulf the past, present and future in ruin or life. She was a symbol to herself then, lacking the life of both child and woman; victory and defeat were changes of pin and line; she knew nothing of war.

What is adolescence without trash?

My dear, I should like to stick you full of barbed arrows like a p-p-pin cushion...Where do you lurk? I shall come down your burrow and ch-chivvy you out like an old st-t-toat.

Of the many smells of Athens two seem to me the most characteristic - that of garlic, bold and deadly like acetylene gas. And that of dust, soft and warm and caressing like tweed.

Saints are simply men and women who have fulfilled their natural obligation which is to approach God.

That was the change in her from ten years ago; that, indeed, was her reward, this haunting, magical sadness which spoke straight to the heart and struck silence; it was the completion of her beauty.

The worse I am, the more I need God. I can't shut myself out from His mercy. That is what it would mean; starting a life with you, without Him.

To know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom.

What is it about being on a boat that makes everyone behave like a film star?

My theme is memory, that winged host that soared about me one grey morning of war-time. These memories, which are my life--for we possess nothing certainly except the past--were always with me. Like the pigeons of St. Mark's, theywere everywhere, under my feet, singly, in pairs, in little honey-voiced congregations, nodding, strutting, winking, rolling the tender feathers of their necks, perching sometimes, if I stood still, on my shoulder or pecking a broken biscuit from between my lips; until, suddenly, the noon gun boomed and in a moment, with a flutter and sweep of wings, the pavement was bare and the whole sky above dark with a tumult of fowl. Thus it was that morning. These memories are the memorials and pledges of the vital hours of a lifetime. These hours of afflatus in the human spirit, the springs of art, are, in their mystery, akin to the epochs of history, when a race which for centuries has lived content, unknown, behind its own frontiers, digging, eating, sleeping, begetting, doing what was requisite for survival and nothing else, will, for a generation or two, stupefy the world; commit all manner of crimes, perhaps; follow the wildest chimeras, go down in the end in agony, but leave behind a record of new heights scaled and new rewards won for all mankind; the vision fades, the soul sickens, and the routine of survival starts again. The human soul enjoys these rare, classic periods, but, apart from them, we are seldom single or unique; we keep company in this world with a hoard of abstractions and reflections and counterfeits of ourselves -- the sensual man, the economic man, the man of reason, the beast, the machine and the sleep-walker, and heaven knows what besides, all in our own image, indistinguishable from ourselves to the outward eye. We get borne along, out of sight in the press, unresisting, till we get the chance to drop behind unnoticed, or to dodge down a side street, pause, breathe freely and take our bearings, or to push ahead, out-distance our shadows, lead them a dance, so that when at length they catch up with us, they look at one another askance, knowing we have a secret we shall never share.

Oh, why did nobody warn me? cried Grimes in agony. I should have been told. They should have told me in so many words. They should have warned me about Flossie, not about the fires of hell. I've risked them, and I don't mind risking them again, but they should have told me about marriage. They should have told me that at the end of that gay journey and flower-strewn path were the hideous lights of home and the voices of children.

She had heard someone say something about an Independent Labour Party, and was furious that she had not been asked.

That's the public-school system all over. They may kick you out, but they never let you down.

Then I knew that the sign I had asked for was not a little thing, not a passing nod of recognition, and a phrase came back to me from my childhood of the veil of the temple being rent from top to bottom.

To understand all is to forgive all.

What is this impulse of two people to build their beastly home? It's you & me, unborn, asserting our presence. All we are is a manifestation of the impulse to family life, and if by chance we have escaped the itch ourselves, Nature forces it upon us another way.

My unhealthy affection for my second daughter has waned. Now I despise all my seven children equally.

Author Picture
First Name
Evelyn
Last Name
Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh
Birth Date
1903
Death Date
1966
Bio

English Novelist, Biographer and Journalist