Graham Greene

Graham
Greene
1904
1991

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright

Author Quotes

She was not too young to be wise, but she was too young to know that wisdom shouldn't be spoken aloud when you are happy.

Suddenly I realized she was asleep. Exhausted by her flight she had fallen asleep against my shoulder as so many times, in taxis, in buses, on a park-seat. I sat still and let her be. There was nothing to disturb her in the dark church. The candles napped around the virgin, and there was nobody else there. The slowly growing pain in my upper arm where her weight lay was the greatest pleasure I had ever known.

The hurt is in the act of possession; we are too small in mind and body to possess another person without pride or to be possessed without humiliation. In a way I was glad my wife had struck out at me again – I had forgotten her pain for too long, and this was the only kind of recompense I could give her. Unfortunately the innocent are always involved in any conflict. Always, everywhere, there is some voice crying from a tower.

The trouble is I don't believe my unbelief.

There wasn't any point in being angry with anyone - the offender was too obviously myself.

This was hell then; it wasn't anything to worry about: it was just his own familiar room.

We never get accustomed to being less important to other people than they are to us — Martins felt the little jab of dispensability.

When we are young we are a jungle of complications. We simplify as we get older.

You cannot conceive, nor can I, of the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.

She was proud of her power of prophecy, though she had not yet lived to see any of her prophecies fulfilled.

Suffering is not increased by the number: a body can contain all the suffering that can sense the world.

The imagination hadn't awoken. That was his strength. He couldn't see through other people's eyes, or feel with their nerves. Only the music made him uneasy.

The truth has never been of any real value to any human being - it is a symbol for mathematicians and philosophers to pursue. In human relations kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.

There's a virtue in slowness, which we have lost.

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.

We praise heroes as though they are rare, and yet we are always ready to blame another man for lack of heroism.

When we get to the end of human beings we have to delude ourselves into a belief in God, like a gourmet who demands more complex sauces with his food.

You cannot control what you love--you watch it driving recklessly towards the broken bridge, the torn-up track, the horror of seventy years ahead.

Simplicity belonged by right to those who were native-born, those who could take the conditions of life, however bizarre, for granted.

Sweat cleaned you as effectively as water. But this was the race which had invented the proverb that cleanliness was next to godliness - cleanliness, not purity.

The main characters in a novel must necessarily have some kinship to the author, they come out of his body as a child comes from the womb, then the umbilical cord is cut, and they grow into independence. The more the author knows of his own character the more he can distance himself from his invented characters and the more room they have to grow in.

The woman had gone down on her knees and was shuffling slowly across the cruel ground towards the group of crosses: the dead baby rocked on her back. When she reached the tallest cross she unhooked the child and held the face against the wood and afterwards the loins: then she crossed herself, not as ordinary Catholics do, but in a curious and complicated pattern which included the nose and ears. Did she expect a miracle? And if she did, why should it not be granted her? the priest wondered. Faith, one was told, could move mountains, and here was faith--faith in the spittle that healed the blind man and the voice that raised the dead. The evening star was out: it hung low down over the edge of the plateau: it looked as if it was within reach: and a small hot wind stirred. The priest found himself watching the child for some movement. When none came, it was as if God had missed an opportunity. The woman sat down, and taking a lump of sugar from her bundle, began to eat, and the child lay quiet at the foot of the cross. Why, after all, should we expect God to punish the innocent with more life?

There's no such thing as gratitude in politics.

Thought's a luxury. Do you think the peasant sits and thinks of God and Democracy when he gets inside his mud hut at night?

We'd forgive most things if we knew the facts.

Author Picture
First Name
Graham
Last Name
Greene
Birth Date
1904
Death Date
1991
Bio

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright