Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

English Intellectual, Essayist, Critic, Novelist

"Like the bee sting, the promiscuous leave behind in each encounter something of themselves by which they are made to suffer."

"Optimism and self-pity are the positive and negative poles of modern cowardice."

"The man who is master of his passions is Reason's slave."

"We are all serving a life sentence in the dungeon of self."

"We hate what we fear and so where hate is, fear is lurking."

"Friendships which last are those wherein each friend respects the other's dignity to the point of not wanting anything from him."

"Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate it; a child who fears noises becomes a man who hates noise."

"In my religion there would be no exclusive doctrine; all would be love, poetry and doubt."

"Melancholy and remorse form the deep leaden keel which enables us to sail into the wind of reality."

"Most of the beauty of women evaporates when they achieve domestic happiness at the price of their independence."

"A life based on reason will always require to be balanced by an occasional bout of violent and irrational emotion, for the instinctual drives must be satisfied."

"Civilization is an active deposit which is formed by the combustion of the Present with the Past. Neither in countries without a Present nor in those without a Past is it to be discovered."

"Everything is a dangerous drug except reality, which is unendurable."

"Most people do not believe in anything very much and our greatest poetry is given to us by those who do."

"Our memories are card indexes consulted, and then put back in disorder by authorities whom we do not control."

"Reality, union with reality, is the true state of the soul when confident and healthy. Unreality is what keeps us from ourselves, and most pleasures are unreal."

"The one way to get thin is to reestablish a purpose in life... Obesity is a mental state, a disease brought on by boredom and disappointment."

"The secret of happiness (and therefore of success) is to be in harmony with existence, to be always willing "to be joined to the universe without being more conscious of it than an idiot," to let each wave of life wash us a little farther up the shore."

"There is no hate without fear. Hate is crystallized fear, fear's dividend, fear objectivises. We hate what we fear and so where hate is, fear is lurking. Thus we hate what threatens our person, our liberty, our privacy, our income, popularity, vanity and our dreams and plans for ourselves. If we can isolate this element in what we hate we may learn to cease from hating."

"Truth is a river that is always splitting up into arms that reunite. Islanded between the arms the inhabitants argue for a lifetime as to which is the main river."

"We fear something before we hate it; a child who fears noises becomes a man who hates noise."

"We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy."

"As we grow older, in fact, we discover that the lives of most human beings are worthless except in so far as they contribute to the enrichment and emancipation of the spirit. "

"Greed, like the love of comfort, is a kind of fear. "

"Slums may be breeding-grounds of crime, but middle-class suburbs are incubators of apathy and delirium."

"We cannot be happy until we can love ourselves without egotism and our friends without tyranny."

"We create the world in which we live; if that world becomes unfit for human life, it is because we tire of our responsibility."