Graham Greene

Graham
Greene
1904
1991

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright

Author Quotes

To be in love is to see yourself as someone else sees you, it is to be in love with the falsified and exalted image of yourself. In love we are incapable of honor — the courageous act is no more than playing a part to an audience of two.

What have we all got to expect that we allow ourselves to be so lined with disappointment?

Why doesn't hatred kill desire? I would have given anything to sleep. I would have behaved like a schoolboy if I had believed in the possibility of a substitute. But there was a time when I had tried to find a substitute, and it hadn't worked.

You think it more difficult to turn air into wine than to turn wine into blood?

Sentimentality -- that's what we call the sentiment we don't share.

So much of a novelist’s writing, as I have said, takes place in the unconscious: in those depths the last word is written before the first word appears on the paper. We remember details of our story, we do not invent them.

That was the worst period of all: it is my profession to imagine, to think in images: fifty times through the day, and immediately I woke during the night, a curtain would rise and the play would begin: always the same play, Sarah making love, Sarah with X, doing the same things that we had done together, Sarah kissing in her own particular way, arching herself in the act of sex and uttering that cry like pain, Sarah in abandonment. I would take pills at night to make me sleep quickly, but I never found any pills that would keep me asleep till daylight.

The next best thing to talking to her is talking about her.

Then I allowed himself to strike, like his childhood hero Allan Quatermain, off on that long slow Which underground stream bore him on Toward the interior of the dark continent where I Hoped That He Might find a permanent home, in a city where I Could be accepted as a citizen, as a citizen without any pledge of faith, not the City of God or Marx, but the city called Peace of Mind.

They can print statistics and count the populations in hundreds of thousands, but to each man a city consists of no more than a few streets, a few houses, a few people. Remove those few and a city exists no longer except as a pain in the memory, like a pain of an amputated leg no longer there.

To me comfort is like the wrong memory at the wrong place or time: if one is lonely one prefers discomfort.

What is cowardice in the young is wisdom in the old, but all the same one can be ashamed of wisdom.

Why, after all, should we expect God to punish the innocent with more life?

You try to draw everything into the net of your faith, father, but you can't steal all the virtues... I expect the cavemen wept to see another's tears.

She came out of the crematorium, and there from the twin towers above her head fumed the very last of Fred, a thin stream of grey smoke from the ovens. Fred dropped indistinguishable grey ash on the pink blossoms: he became part of the smoke nuisance over London, and Ida wept. [After Hale's cremation]

So much of life [is] a putting-off of unhappiness for another time. Nothing [is] ever lost by delay.

That whisky priest, I wish we had never had him in the house.

The old lady knelt, saying her 'Hail Mary'; She didn't believe — but among Catholics even the skeptical are courteous.

There are dreams which belong only partly in the unconscious; these are the dreams we remember on waking so vividly that we deliberately continue them, and so fall asleep again and wake and sleep and the dream goes on without interruption, with a thread of logic the pure dream doesn't possess.

They deserved nothing less than the truth--a vacant universe and a cooling world, the right to be happy in any way they chose.

To take an Annamite to bed with you is like taking a bird: they twitter and sing on your pillow

What I've done is far worse than murder - that's an act, a blow, a stab, a shot: it's over and done, but I'm carrying my corruption around with me. It's the coating of my stomach.' He threw her wrists aside like seeds towards the stony floor. 'Never pretend I haven't shown my love.

With a novel, which takes perhaps years to write, the author is not the same man he was at the end of the book as he was at the beginning. It is not only that his characters have developed--he has developed with them, and this nearly always gives a sense of roughness to the work: a novel can seldom have the sense of perfection which you find in Chekhov's story, The Lady with the Dog.

You were there teaching me to squander, so that one day we might have nothing left except this love of You. But You are too good to me. When I ask You for Pain, You give me peace. Give it him too. Give him my peace-he needs it more.

She couldn't avoid being serious about things she cared for, and happiness made her grave at the thought of all the things which might destroy it.

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

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright