English novelist, poet, critic, teacher
- More will mean worse.
- Encounter magazine (July 1960) (referring to the proposed expansion of higher education)
- A bad review may spoil your breakfast, but you shouldn't allow it to spoil your lunch.
- Attributed in Aren't We Due a Royalty Statement? (1993) by Giles Gordon, and The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1999) by Elizabeth M. Knowles, p. 14
- Your attitude measures up to the two requirements of love. You want to go to bed with her and can't, and you don't know her very well. Ignorance of the other person topped up with deprivation, Jim. You fit the formula all right, and what's more you want to go on fitting it.
- There was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.
A Case of Samples: Poems 1946–1956 (1956)Edit
- Man's love is of man's life a thing apart;
Girls aren't like that.
- "A Bookshop Idyll"
- Cf. Lord Byron, Don Juan, "Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, / 'Tis woman's whole existence."
Take a Girl Like You (1960)Edit
- A great British prime minister once remarked that the people were divided into two nations, the rich and the poor, and in effect that these had no knowledge of each other. One might say the same, perhaps, of those who live in parts of the world where segregation by races is practised. But these barriers, or the reasons for them, belong to a part of our history which is fortunately passing away. There is one barrier, however, which no amount of progress or tolerance or legislation can ever diminish. I'm talking about the barrier between the attractive and the unattractive.
- Ch. 17
- Friendship includes charity. But there's no charity in sex.
- Ch. 17
- 'You're still the same girl. What people do doesn't change their nature.'
She shook her head.[…] 'What they do is their nature,' she said.
- Patrick Standish and Jenny Bunn in Ch. 27
One Fat Englishman (1963)Edit
- It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children.
A Look Round the Estate: Poems, 1957–1967 (1968)Edit
- Should you revisit us
Stay a little longer
And get to know the place...
On local life we trust
The resident witness
Not the royal tourist.
- "New Approach Needed", about the Second Coming, (p. 27)
What Became of Jane Austen? And Other Questions (1970)Edit
- We should be wrong to demand that a critic must stay on the point all the time; it is enough if he remains in orbit around it.
- "Phoenix Too Frequent" Critique of D. H. Lawrence
Jake's Thing (1978)Edit
- If there's one word that sums up everything that's gone wrong since the war, it's Workshop. After Youth, that is. (pg. 140)
Collected Poems, 1944-1979 (1979)Edit
- Be glad you're fifty — and
That you got there while things were nice,
In a world worth looking at twice.
So here's wishing you many more years,
But not all that many. Cheers!
- "Ode to Me", (p. 134)
Stanley and the Women (1984)Edit
- There isn't another other sex. (p. 254)
The Old Devils (1986)Edit
- It’s quite a problem for retired people, I do see. All of a sudden the evening starts starting after breakfast. All those hours with nothing to stay sober for. Or nothing to naturally stay sober during, if you see what I…We used to laugh at Malcolm’s dad, the way he used to mark up the wireless programs in Radio Times in different-coloured pencils. Never caught him listening to any of them but it was an hour taken care of.
- While he was climbing the litter-strewn steps his left ball gave a sharp twinge, on and off like a light-switch, then again after he had sat down. Nothing. Just one of the aches and pains that come and go. No significance.
- Any man in the company of two women is outnumbered four to one however amiable they may be.
Difficulties with Girls (1988)Edit
- Difficulties with Girls. London: Hutchinson, 1988
- 'Oh, I see,' said Jenny. 'But you're just getting these men [New Age gurus] to help you all feel better. I thought when you talked about helping people you meant other people. You know, like the blind.'
'Isn't everybody blind, in one way or another?' asked Wendy.
- Ch. 11, p. 158
- 'Shitty things are always simple. Same as great things. Patrick Standish, in conversation.'
- Ch. 17, p. 248. The speaker is Patrick Standish, copyrighting his own witticism.
- Nothing divided people more deeply than how they felt about cats.
- Ch. 19, p. 274