Graham Greene

Graham
Greene
1904
1991

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright

Author Quotes

When you visualized a man or a woman carefully, you could always begin to feel pity . . . that was a quality God's image carried with it… when you saw the lines at the corners of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was impossible to hate. Hate was just a failure of imagination.

You don't bless what you love... It's when you want to love and you can't manage it. You stretch out your hands and you say God forgive me that I can't love but bless this thing anyway...We have to bless what we hate... It would be better to love, but that's not always possible.

So long as one is happy one can endure any discipline: it was unhappiness that broke down the habits of work.

That instinct for human character that is perhaps inherent in an imaginative writer.

The moment comes when a character does or says something you hadn't thought about. At that moment he's alive and you leave it to him.

The world doesn't make any heroes anymore.

There's nothing so heavy as books, sir--unless it's bricks.

Time has its revenges, but revenge seems so often sour. Wouldn’t we all do better not trying to understand, accepting the fact that no human being will ever understand another, not a wife with a husband, nor a parent a child? Perhaps that’s why men have invented God – a being capable of understanding.

What do we ever get nowadays from reading to equal the excitement and the revelation in those first fourteen years?

Why are some of us, he wondered, unable to love success or power or great beauty? Because we feel unworthy of them, because we feel more at home with failure? He didn't believe that was the reason. Perhaps one wanted the right balance, just as Christ had, the legendary figure whom he would have liked to believe in. 'Come unto me all ye that travail are and heavy laden.' Young as the girl was at that August picnic she was heavily laden with her timidity and shame. Perhaps he had merely wanted her to feel that she was loved by someone and so he began to love her himself. It wasn't pity, any more than it had been pity when he fell in love with Sarah pregnant by another man. He was there to right the balance. That was all.

You must promise me. You can't desire the end without desiring the means.' Ah, but one can, he thought, one can: one can desire the peace of victory without desiring the ravaged towns.

So many of his prayers had remained unanswered that he had hopes that this one prayer of his had lodged all the time like wax in the Eternal ear.

That was my first instinct -- to protect him. It never occurred to me that there was a greater need to protect myself. 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.

The more bare a life is, the more we fear change.

The world is not black and white. More like black and grey.

There's only things, Blackie.

To all pimps and whores a merry syphilis and a happy gonorrhea.

What happens if you drop all the things that make you I?

Why did [God] give us genitals then if he wanted us to think clearly?

You needn't be so scared. Love doesn't end. Just because we don't see each other...

So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one's days. One may be preoccupied with shopping and income tax returns and chance conversations, but the stream of the unconscious continues to flow undisturbed, solving problems, planning ahead: one sits down sterile and dispirited at the desk, and suddenly the words come as though from the air: the situations that seemed blocked in a hopeless impasse move forward: the work has been done while one slept or shopped or talked with friends.

That was the difference he had always known, between his faith and theirs, the political leaders of the people who cared only for things like the state, the republic: this child was more important than a whole continent.

The more unstable life is the less one likes the small details to alter.

The world was in her heart already, like the small spot of decay in a fruit.

They are always saying God loves us. If that's love I'd rather have a bit of kindness.

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

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright