Graham Greene

Graham
Greene
1904
1991

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright

Author Quotes

My second wife - I was still young then - she left me, and I made the mistake of winning her back. It took me years to lose her again after that. She was a good woman. It is not easy to lose a good woman. If one must marry it is better to marry a bad woman.

Oh, I’m not a Berkeleian. I believe my back’s against this wall. I believe there’s a sten gun over there.

People don't like reality; they don't like common sense until age forces it on them.

It was not merely that his brother was dead. His brain, too young to realize the full paradox, wondered with an obscure self- pity why it was that the pulse of his brother's fear went on and on, when Francis was now where he had always been told there was no more terror and no more--darkness.

Like some wines our love could neither mature nor travel.

My second wife left me because she said I was too ambitious. She didn't realize that it is only the dying who are free from ambition. And they probably have the ambition to live. Some men disguise their ambition--that's all. I was in a position to help this young man my wife loved. He soon showed his ambition then. There are different types of ambition - that is all, and my wife found she preferred mine. Because it was limitless. They do not feel the infinite is an unworthy rival, but for a man to prefer the desk of an assistant manager - that is an insult.

Oh, it's not done, 'I said,' but neither is adultery or theft or running away from the enemy's fire. The not done things are done every day, Henry. It's part of modern life. I've done most of it them myself.

People talk about the courage of condemned men walking to the place of execution: sometimes it needs as much courage to walk with any kind of bearing towards another person's habitual misery.

It is one of the strange discoveries a man can make that life, however you lead it, contains moments of exhilaration; there are always comparisons which can be made with worse times: even in danger and misery the pendulum swings.

It was not the kind of surroundings in which any one with free will — if such a man existed — would have chosen to await death.

Love had turned into love affair with a beginning and an end.

My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.

Oh, she doesn't belong to anybody now,' he said, and suddenly I saw her for what she was - a piece of refuse waiting to be cleared away: if you needed a bit of hair you could take it, or trim her nails if nail trimmings had value to you. Like a saint's her bones could be divided up - if anybody required them. She was going to be burnt soon, so why shouldn't everybody have what he wanted first? What a fool I had been during three years to imagine that in any way I had possessed her. We are all possessed by nobody, not even by ourselves.

Perhaps a novelist has a greater ability to forget than other men--he has to forget or become sterile. What he forgets is the compost of the imagination.

It is the destiny of a lover to watch unhappiness hardening like a cast around his mistress.

It was the hour of prayer. Black-beetles exploded against the walls like crackers. More than a dozen crawled over the tiles with injured wings. It infuriated him to think that there were still people in the state who believed in a loving and merciful God. There are mystics who are said to have experienced God directly. He was a mystic, too, and what he had experienced was vacancy — a complete certainty in the existence of a dying, cooling world, of human beings who had evolved from animals for no purpose at all. He knew.

Lust is not the worst thing. It is because any day, any time, lust may turn into love that we have to avoid it. And when we love our sin then we are damned indeed.

Never presume yours is a better morality.

Oh,' the priest said, 'that's another thing altogether - God is love. I don't say the heart doesn't feel a taste of it, but what a taste. The smallest glass of love mixed with a pint pot of ditch-water. We wouldn't recognize that love. It might even look like hate. It would be enough to scare us - God's love. It set fire to a bush in the desert, didn't it, and smashed open graves and set the dead walking in the dark. Oh, a man like me would run a mile to get away if he felt that love around.

Perhaps his laughter saved them — it must be difficult to shoot a laughing man: you have to feel important to kill.

It is the earliest dream that I can remember, earlier than the witch at the corner of the nursery passage, this dream of something outside that has got to come in. The witch, like the masked dancers, has form, but this is simply power, a force exerted on a door, an influence that drifted after me upstairs and pressed against windows.

It was the little things which tripped you up.

Man is made by the places in which he lives.

No danger anywhere, it seemed to Rollo Martins of that sudden reckless moment when the scent of hair or a hand against the side alters life.

Old age saves us from the realization of a great many fears.

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

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright