Robertson Davies

Robertson
Davies
1913
1995

Canadian Novelist, Playwright, Critic, Journalist and Professor

Author Quotes

Their very conservatism is secondhand, and they don't know what they are conserving.

We always undervalue what we have never been without.

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

The people of the United States, perhaps more than any other nation in history, love to abase themselves and proclaim their unworthiness, and seem to find refreshment in doing so... That is a dark frivolity, but still frivolity.

Never marry your childhood sweetheart; the reasons that make you choose her will all turn into reasons why you should have rejected her.

The critic is the duenna in the passionate affair between playwrights, actors and audiences - a figure dreaded, and occasionally comic, but never welcome, never loved.

Never harbor grudges; they sour your stomach and do no harm to anyone else.

Literary critics, however, frequently suffer from a curious belief that every author longs to extend the boundaries of literary art, wants to explore new dimensions of the human spirit, and if he doesn't, he should be ashamed of himself.

Men who look young, act young, and everlastingly harp on the fact that they are young-but who nevertheless think and act with a degree of caution what would be excessive in their grandfathers-are the curses of the world.

I see Canada as a country torn between a very northern, rather extraordinary, mystical spirit which it fears and its desire to present itself to the world as a Scotch banker.

If you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.

Do not suppose, however, that I intend to urge a diet of classics on anybody. I have seen such diets at work. I have known people who have actually read all, or almost all, the guaranteed Hundred Best Books. God save us from reading nothing but the best.

A man must be obedient to the promptings of his innermost heart.

Canada was settled, in the main, by people with a lower middle-class outlook, and a respect, rather than an affectionate familiarity, for the things of the mind.

You're all mad for words. Words are just farts from a lot of fools who have swallowed too many books. Give me things!

Women tell men things that men are not very likely to find out for themselves.

You have to come to terms with yourself and your place in the scheme of life

You never see what you want to see, forever playing to the gallery.

Wisdom is a variable possession. Every man is wise when pursued by a mad dog, fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion.

Women always think that if they tell a man not to be pompous that will shut him up, but I am an old hand at that game. I know that if a man bides his time his moment will come.

Why are so many people ashamed of having intelligence and using it? There is nothing democratic about such an attitude. To pretend to be less intelligent that one is deceives nobody and begets dislike, for intelligence cannot be hidden; like a cough, it will out, stifle it how you may. No man has ever won commendation for standing at less than his full height, either physically, morally, or intellectually.

Why do people all over the world, and at all times, want marvels that defy all verifiable facts? And are the marvels brought into being by their desire or is their desire an assurance rising from some deep knowledge, not to be directly experienced and questioned, that the marvelous is indeed an aspect of the real?

Whoever declares a child to be delicate thereby crowns and anoints a tyrant.

Whether you are really right or not doesn't matter; it's the belief that counts.

When irony first makes itself known in a young man's life, it can be like his first experience of getting drunk; he has met with a powerful thing which he does not know how to handle.

Author Picture
First Name
Robertson
Last Name
Davies
Birth Date
1913
Death Date
1995
Bio

Canadian Novelist, Playwright, Critic, Journalist and Professor