The four characteristics of humanism are curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race.
— E. M. Forster
But nothing in India is identifiable, the mere asking of a question causes it to disappear or to merge in something else.
Letters have to pass two tests before they can be classed as good: they must express the personality both of the writer and of the recipient.
No man can be an agnostic who has a sense of humour.
Liking one person is an extra reason for liking another.
Two cheers for Democracy; one because it admits variety, and two because it permits criticism.
The sort of poetry I seek resides in objects man can't touch.
I am certainly an ought and not a must.
Charm, in most men and nearly all women, is a decoration.
Reverence is fatal to literature.
No one is India.
One of the evils of money is that it tempts us to look at it rather than at the things that it buys.
Only people who have been allowed to practise freedom can have the grown-up look in their eyes.
Paganism is infectious, more infectious than diphtheria or piety.
The more highly public life is organized the lower does its morality sink.
One is certain of nothing but the truth of one's own emotions.
People have their own deaths as well as their own lives, and even if there is nothing beyond death, we shall differ in our nothingness.
Either life entails courage, or it ceases to be life.
The woman who can't influence her husband to vote the way she wants ought to be ashamed of herself.
For our vanity is such that we hold our own characters immutable, and we are slow to acknowledge that they have changed, even for the better.
Tolerance is a very dull virtue. It is boring. Unlike love, it has always had a bad press. It is negative. It merely means putting up with people, being able to stand things.
Oxford is Oxford: not a mere receptacle for youth, like Cambridge. Perhaps it wants its inmates to love it rather than to love one another.
I never could get on with representative individuals but people who existed on their own account and with whom it might therefore be possible to be friends.
Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.
I'm a holy man minus the holiness.
It is the vice of a vulgar mind to be thrilled by bigness.
History develops, art stands still.
Only a writer who has the sense of evil can make goodness readable.
Only a struggle twists sentimentality and lust together into love.
The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.
The English countryside, its growth and its destruction, is a genuine and tragic theme.
If there is on earth a house with many mansions, it is the house of words.
We are all like Scheherazade's husband, in that we want to know what happens next.
There is much good luck in the world, but it is luck. We are none of us safe. We are children, playing or quarrelling on the line.
The work of art assumes the existence of the perfect spectator, and is indifferent to the fact that no such person exists.
We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand.
The fact is we can only love what we know personally. And we cannot know much. In public affairs, in the rebuilding of civilization, something less dramatic and emotional is needed, namely tolerance.
England has always been disinclined to accept human nature.
The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then queen died of grief is a plot.
Love is always being given where it is not required.
One marvels why the middle classes still insist on so much discomfort for their children at such expense to themselves.
The sadness of the incomplete, the sadness that is often Life, but should never be Art.
Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him.
Be soft, even if you stand to get squashed.
Surely the only sound foundation for a civilization is a sound state of mind.
The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal.
I have no mystic faith in the people. I have in the individual.
Those who prepared for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy.
Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvellous than the land.
There is something majestic in the bad taste of Italy.