Graham Greene

Graham
Greene
1904
1991

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright

Author Quotes

One forgets so quickly one’s own youth.

Pity is cruel. Pity destroys.

It isn't. When you come to think of it a quite respectable trade, the detection of the innocent, for aren't lovers nearly always innocent? They have committed no crime, they are certain in their own minds that they have done no wrong, 'as long as no one but myself is hurt', the old tag is ready on their lips, and love, of course, excuses everything -- so they believe and so I used to believe in the days when I loved.

It's a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love.

Me? You are laughing at me. Put your hand here. This has no theology.' I mocked myself while I made love. I flung myself into pleasure like a suicide on to a pavement.

Nothing in life was as ugly as death.

One has no talent. I have no talent. It's just a question of working, of being willing to put in the time.

Point me out the happy man and I will point you out either egotism, selfishness, evil - or else an absolute ignorance.

It seemed after all that one never really missed a thing. To be a human being one had to drink the cup. If one were lucky on one day, or cowardly on another, it was presented on a third occasion.

It's not really much good tearing out a page because you can see the place where it's been torn... You can pull a stamp out,' she said with terrible youthful clarity, 'and you don't know that it's ever been there.

Media is just a word that has come to mean bad journalism.

Now when I'm writing it's already tomorrow and I'm afraid of getting to the end of yesterday. As long as I go on writing, yesterday is today and we are still together.

One never knows enough about characters in real life to put them into novels. One gets started and then, suddenly, one cannot remember what toothpaste they use; what are their views on interior decoration, and one is stuck utterly. No, major characters emerge; minor ones may be photographed.

Politics in Turkey are taken more seriously than they are at home. It was only quite recently that they executed a Prime Minister. We dream of it, but they act.

It seemed to Scobie that life was immeasurably long. Couldn’t the test of man have been carried out in fewer years? Couldn’t we have committed our first major sin at seven, have ruined ourselves for love or hate at ten, have clutched at redemption on a fifteen-year-old deathbed?

It's strange how the human mind swings back and forth, from one extreme to another. Does truth lie at some point of the pendulum's swing, at a point where it never rests, not in the dull perpendicular mean where it dangles in the end like a windless flag, but at an angle, nearer one extreme than another? If only a miracle could stop the pendulum at an angle of sixty degrees, one would believe the truth was there. Well, the pendulum swung today and I thought, instead of my own body, of Maurice's. I thought of certain lines life had put on his face as personal as a line of his writing: I thought of a new scar on his shoulder that wouldn't have been there if once he hadn't tried to protect another man's body from a falling wall. He didn't tell me why he was in hospital those three days: Henry told me. That scar was part of his character as much as his jealousy. And so I thought, do I want that body to be vapor (mine yes, but his?), and I knew I wanted that scar to exist through all eternity. But could my vapor love that scar? Then I began to want my body that I hated, but only because it could love that scar. We can love with our minds, but can we love only with our minds? Love extends itself all the time, so that we can even love with our senseless nails: we love even with our clothes, so that a sleeve can feel a sleeve.

Melodrama is one of my working tools and it enables me to obtain effects that would be unobtainable otherwise; on the other hand I am not deliberately melodramatic; don't get too annoyed if I say that I write in the way that I do because I am what I am.

O God, forgive me - I am a proud, lustful, greedy man. I have loved authority too much. These people are martyrs - protecting me with their own lives. They deserve a martyr to care for them - not a man like me, who loves all the wrong things.

One of the things which danger does to you after a time is, well, to kill emotion. I don't think I shall ever feel anything again except fear. None of us can hate anymore - or love.

Pyle could see pain when it was in front of his eyes. (I don’t write that as a sneer; there are so many of us who can’t.)

It was a city to visit, not a city to live in, but it was the city where Wormold had first fallen in love and he was held to it as though to the scene of a disaster. Time gives poetry to a battlefield.

I've caught belief like a disease. I've fallen into belief like I fell in love.

Men can become twins with age. The past was their common womb; the six months of rain and the six months of sun was the period of their common gestation. They needed only a few words and a few gestures to convey their meaning. They had graduated through the same fevers, they were moved by the same love and contempt.

O God, You've done enough, you've robbed me of enough, I'm too tired and old to learn to love, leave me alone forever.

One's life is more formed, I sometimes think, by books than by human beings: it is out of books one learns about love and pain at second hand. Even if we have the happy chance to fall in love, it is because we have been conditioned by what we have read, and if I had never known love at all, perhaps it was because my father's library had not contained the right books.

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

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright