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Quotes of the day: Evelyn Waugh

Published Thursday, April 10, 2014 @ 1:08 AM EDT
Apr 10 2014

Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh (October 28, 1903 – April 10, 1966), known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, biographies and travel books. He was also a prolific journalist and reviewer. His best-known works include his early satires Decline and Fall (1928) and A Handful of Dust (1934), his novel Brideshead Revisited (1945) and his trilogy of Second World War novels collectively known as Sword of Honour (1952–61). Waugh is widely recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the 20th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Aesthetic value is often the by-product of the artist striving to do something else.

Don't hold your parents up to contempt. After all, you are their son, and it is just possible that you may take after them.

He was gifted with the sly, sharp instinct for self-preservation that passes for wisdom among the rich.

How ungenerously in later life we disclaim the virtuous moods of our youth, living in retrospect long, summer days of unreflecting dissipation.

I don't believe that people would ever fall in love or want to be married if they hadn't been told about it. It's like abroad: no one would want to go there if they hadn't been told it existed.

I don't like Norwegians at all. The sun never sets, the bar never opens, and the whole country smells of kippers.

I have never learned French well, and I never learned any other language at all; I’ve forgotten most of my classics; I can’t often remember people’s faces in the streets; and I don’t like music. Those are very grave failings.

If politicians and scientists were lazier, how much happier we should all be.

It is a curious thing... that every creed promises a paradise that will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.

Manners are especially the need of the plain. The pretty can get away with anything.

My children weary me. I can only see them as defective adults: feckless, destructive, frivolous, sensual, humorless.

Of children as of procreation— the pleasure momentary, the posture ridiculous, the expense damnable.

One forgets words as one forgets names. One's vocabulary needs constant fertilizing or it will die.

Only when one has lost all curiosity about the future has one reached the age to write an autobiography.

Other nations use 'force;' we Britons alone use 'Might.'

Perhaps host and guest is really the happiest relation for a father and son.

Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.

The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish.

The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant they are.

To know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom.

We cherish our friends not for their ability to amuse us, but for ours to amuse them- a diminishing number in my case.

We possess nothing certainly except the past.

We schoolmasters must temper discretion with deceit.

When we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them.

You have no idea how much nastier I would be if I was not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being.

Categories: Evelyn Waugh, Quotes of the day


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