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Quotes of the day: Rebecca West
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Published Saturday, December 20, 2014 @ 6:31 PM EST
Dec 20 2014

Dame Cicely Isabel Fairfield DBE (December 21, 1892 – March 15, 1983), known as Rebecca West, was a British author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was widely considered to be among the important public intellectuals of the 20th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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A good cause has to be careful of the company it keeps.

After any disturbance (such as two world wars coinciding with a period of growing economic and monetary incomprehensibility) we find our old concepts inadequate and look for new ones. But it unfortunately happens that the troubled times which produce an appetite for new ideas are the least propitious for clear thinking.

All our Western thought is founded on this repulsive pretence that pain is the proper price of any good thing.

Before a war military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war it seems more like astrology.

Did St. Francis preach to the birds? Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats.

Everyone realizes that one can believe little of what people say about each other. But it is not so widely realized that even less can one trust what people say about themselves.

God forbid that any book should be banned. The practice is as indefensible as infanticide.

I do not myself find it agreeable to be 90, and I cannot imagine why it should seem so to other people. It is not that you have any fears about your own death, it is that your upholstery is already dead around you.

I find to my astonishment that an unhappy marriage goes on being unhappy when it is over.

If it be ungentlemanly to kiss and tell, it is still further from gentlemanliness to pray and tell.

If there is a God, I don't think He would demand that anyone bow down or stand up to Him. I often have a suspicion that God is still trying to work things out and hasn't finished.

It is not possible that a just God should forgive people who are wicked because another person who was good endured agony by being nailed to a cross.

It is queer how it is always one's virtues and not one's vices that precipitate one into disaster.

It is sometimes very hard to tell the difference between history and the smell of skunk.

Journalism is the ability to meet the challenge of filling space.

Just how difficult it is to write a biography can be reckoned by anybody who sits down and considers just how many people know the truth about his or her love affairs.

Most works of art, like most wines, ought to be consumed in the district of their fabrication.

Motherhood is the strangest thing, it can be like being one's own Trojan horse.

I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.

So life ought to be a struggle of desire towards adventures whose nobility will fertilise the soul and lead to the conception of new, glorious things.

The bad is more easily perceived than the good. A fresh lobster does not give such pleasure to the consumer as a stale one will give him pain.

The general tendency to be censorious of the vices to which one has not been tempted.

The main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics and women are idiots.

The point is that nobody likes having salt rubbed into their wounds, even if it is the salt of the earth.

The trouble about man is twofold. He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple.

The word 'idiot' comes from a Greek root meaning private person. Idiocy is the female defect: intent on their private lives, women follow their fate through a darkness deep as that cast by malformed cells in the brain. It is no worse than the male defect, which is lunacy: men are so obsessed by public affairs that they see the world as by moonlight, which shows the outlines of every object but not the details indicative of their nature.

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.

There are two kinds of imperialists- imperialists and bloody imperialists.

There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all.

There is one common condition for the lot of women in Western civilization and all other civilizations that we know about for certain, and that is, woman as a sex is disliked and persecuted, while as an individual she is liked, loved, and even, with reasonable luck, sometimes worshipped.

There is, of course, no reason for the existence of the male sex except that sometimes one needs help with moving the piano.

Unfortunately, all gatherings convened for the betterment of the human lot show a tendency to gas themselves, and not with laughing-gas either.

Whatever happens, never forget that people would rather be led to perdition by a man, than to victory by a woman.

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(December 21 is also the birthday of Benjamin Disraeli.)


Categories: Quotes of the day, Rebecca West


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