P. D. James

P. D. James

Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park OBE FRSA FRSL (3 August 192027 November 2014), commonly known as P. D. James, was an English crime writer and Conservative life peer in the House of Lords.


Time to be Earnest - a Fragment of BiographyEdit

  • I don't see why escapist literature should not also be a work of art.
  • The intention of any novelist must surely be to make that straight avenue to the human heart.
  • Every novelist write what he or she needs to write, a subconscious compulsion to express and explain his unique view of reality.
    • Time to be Earnest - a Fragment of Biography Faber & Faber, London 1999.

The Children of Men (1992)Edit

  • If from infancy you treat children as gods they are liable in adulthood to act as devils.
    • Chapter 1.
  • I knew that what I had felt was envy or regret, not for something lost but for something never achieved.
  • Use some reverence. Remember what he was only a minute ago. You wouldn't have dared laid a hand on him.
    • Dr. Theodore Faron About Xan.
  • We can experience nothing but the present moment, live in no other second of time, and to understand this is as close as we can get to eternal life.
  • Darling, you can't promise that...but I like to hear you say it.
  • I didn't love him, but I liked him being in love with me.
  • When my turn comes I propose to take my lethal capsule comfortably in bed at home and preferably on my own.
  • Generosity is a virtue for individuals, not Governments. When governments are generous it is with other people's money, other people's safety, other people's future.
  • Whatever else I am now, I'm never bored.
  • I'm not a tyrant, but I can't afford to be merciful. Whatever it is necessary to do, I will do it.
  • Perhaps His experiment went spectacularly wrong, sir. Perhaps He's just baffled. Seeing the mess, not knowing how to put it right. Perhaps not wanting to put it right. Perhaps He only had enough power left for one final intervention. So He made it. Whoever He is, whatever He is, I hope he burns in His own Hell.
    • A driver upon being asked if he believed in God.
  • We all die alone. We shall endure death as once we enjoyed birth. You can't share either experience.
    • Woolvington.
  • The Man Penal settlement. Do you know whats happening there? The murders, the starvation, the complete breakdown of law and order.
  • We do. The question is, how do you?
  • I don't want to kill you.
  • &You're going to have to, Xan. You may have to kill her, too.
  • I don't think God bargains.
  • Oh yes he does. I may not be religious but I know my Bible. My mother saw to that. He bargains all right. But He's supposed to be just. If he wants belief He'd better provide some evidence.
  • That He exists?
  • That he cares.
    • Chapter 27, P. 186.


  • I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism.
    • Paris Review (1995), as cited in The Oxford Treasury of Sayings and Quotations (2011), ed. Susan Ratcliffe, Oxford University Press, p. 250 : ISBN 0199609128
  • I don’t think writers choose the genre, the genre chooses us. I wrote out of the wish to create order out of disorder, the liking of a pattern.
    • Interview with Jake Kerridge, The Telegraph, 26 Sep 2009 [1].
  • It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.
  • I can understand the poor and stupid voting for Marxism or one of its fashionable variants. If you've no hope of being other than a slave, you may as well opt for the most efficient form of slavery.

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