A novelist who writes nothing for 10 years finds his reputation rising. Because I keep on producing books they say there must be something wrong with this fellow.
— J. B. Priestley
I know only two words of American slang, 'swell' and 'lousy'. I think 'swell' is lousy, but 'lousy' is swell.
As we read the school reports on our children, we realize a sense of relief that can rise to delight that thank Heaven nobody is reporting in this fashion on us.
The greatest writers of this age... are aware of the mystery of our existence.
The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.
If we openly declare what is wrong with us, what is our deepest need, then perhaps the death and despair will by degrees disappear.
The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?
We should like to have some towering geniuses, to reveal us to ourselves in colour and fire, but of course they would have to fit into the pattern of our society and be able to take orders from sound administrative types.
Accidents, try to change them - it's impossible. The accidental reveals man.
We pay when old for the excesses of youth.
Many a man is praised for his reserve and so-called shyness when he is simply too proud to risk making a fool of himself.
Public opinion polls are rather like children in a garden, digging things up all the time to see how they're growing.
There are plenty of clever young writers. But there is too much genius, not enough talent.
Like its politicians and its war, society has the teenagers it deserves.
In plain words: now that Britain has told the world that she has the H-Bomb she should announce as early as possible that she has done with it, that she proposes to reject in all circumstances nuclear warfare.
If you are a genius, you'll make your own rules, but if not - and the odds are against it - go to your desk no matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper - write.
She was a handsome woman of forty-five and would remain so for many years.
To show a child what once delighted you, to find the child's delight added to your own - this is happiness.
Marriage is like paying an endless visit in your worst clothes.
To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.
Living in an age of advertisement, we are perpetually disillusioned. The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch.
There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age, I missed it coming and going.
Comedy, we may say, is society protecting itself - with a smile.
Western man is schizophrenic.
Britain, which in the years immediately before this war was rapidly losing such democratic virtues as it possessed, is now being bombed and burned into democracy.
Perhaps it would be better not to be a writer, but if you must, then write.
Our trouble is that we drink too much tea. I see in this the slow revenge of the Orient, which has diverted the Yellow River down our throats.
I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.
I never read the life of any important person without discovering that he knew more and could do more than I could ever hope to know or do in half a dozen lifetimes.
Be yourself is about the worst advice you can give to some people.
The greater part of critics are parasites, who, if nothing had been written, would find nothing to write.