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Cyril Connolly quotes (49)

A best-seller is the golden touch of mediocre talent.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

A great writer creates a world of his own and his readers are proud to live in it. A lesser writer may entice them in for a moment, but soon he will watch them filing out.
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A lazy person, whatever the talents with which he set out, will have condemned himself to second-hand thoughts and to second-rate friends.
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All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others.
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Always be nice to those younger than you, because they are the ones who will be writing about you.
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As repressed sadists are supposed to become policemen or butchers so those with an irrational fear of life become publishers.
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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
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Civilization is maintained by a very few people in a small number of places and we need only some bombs and a few prisons to blot it out altogether.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

Classical and romantic: private language of a family quarrel, a dead dispute over the distribution of emphasis between man and nature.
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For what is liberty but the unhampered translation of will into act?
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Greed, like the love of comfort, is a kind of fear.
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Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate it; a child who fears noises becomes a man who hates noise.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

Idleness is only a coarse name for my infinite capacity for living in the present.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

Imprisoned in every fat man a thin man is wildly signaling to be let out.
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In the sex war, thoughtlessness is the weapon of the male, vindictiveness of the female.
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It is a mistake to expect good work from expatriates for it is not what they do that matters but what they are not doing.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

It is only in the country that we can get to know a person or a book.
Cyril Connolly   Category: Nature

Like water, we are truest to our nature in repose.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

No city should be too large for a man to walk out of in a morning.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

No one over thirty-five is worth meeting who has not something to teach us, - something more than we could learn for ourselves, from a book.
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No taste is so acquired as that for someone else's quality of mind.
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Our memories are card indexes consulted and then returned in disorder by authorities whom we do not control.
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Purity engenders Wisdom, Passion avarice, and Ignorance folly, infatuation and darkness.
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Slums may well be breeding grounds of crime, but middle class suburbs are incubators of apathy and delirium.
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The artist is a member of the leisured classes who cannot pay for his leisure.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

The artist one day falls through a hole in the brambles, and from that moment he is following the dark rapids of an underground river which may sometimes flow so near to the surface that the laughing picnic parties are heard above.
Cyril Connolly   Category: Art

The civilized are those who get more out of life than the uncivilized, and for this we are not likely to be forgiven.
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The dread of lonliness is greater than the fear of bondage, so we get married.
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The more books we read, the clearer it becomes that the true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of any consequence.
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The only way for writers to meet is to share a quick peek over a common lamp-post.
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The past is the only dead thing that smells sweet.
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The secret of success is to be in harmony with existence, to be always calm to let each wave of life wash us a little farther up the shore.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

The true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece and no other task is of any consequence.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

The true index of a man's character is the health of his wife.
Cyril Connolly   Category: Marriage

The worst vice of the solitary is the worship of his food.
Cyril Connolly   Category: Food

There are many who dare not kill themselves for fear of what the neighbours will say.
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There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

There is no pain equal to that which two lovers can inflict on one another. This should be made clear to all who contemplate such a union. The avoidance of this pain is the beginning of wisdom, for it is strong enough to contaminate the rest of our lives.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

Those of us who were brought up as Christians and have lost our faith have retained the sense of sin without the saving belief in redemption. This poisons our thought and so paralyses us in action.
Cyril Connolly   Category:

Today the function of the artist is to bring imagination to science and science to imagination, where they meet, in the myth.
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Vulgarity is the garlic in the salad of life.
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We love but once, for once only are we perfectly equipped for loving.
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We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament, and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy.
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When we have ceased to love the stench of the human animal, either in others or in ourselves, then are we condemned to misery, and clear thinking can begin.
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When young we are faithful to individuals, when older we grow loyal to situations and to types.
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Whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising.
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Words today are like the shells and rope of seaweed which a child brings home glistening from the beach and which in an hour have lost their luster.
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Youth is a period of missed opportunities.
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