A blog for the comprehensive understanding of Literature, Applied Linguistics and ELT

December 4, 2017

Rudyard Kipling Quick Facts

Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, novelist and story writer of the late Victorian period.

Rudyard Kipling Quick Facts


  • Birth Name: Joseph Rudyard Kipling
  • Date of Birth: December 30, 1865
  • Place of Birth: Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
  • Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
  • Death: January 18, 1936
  • Place of Death: Middlesex Hospital, London, England
  • Cause of Death: Duodenal ulcer
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: British
  • Place of Burial: Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, London
  • Gravestone Inscription:
“ KIPLING. BORN 30th DEC. 1865
 DIED 18th JAN. 1936.”
  • Father: John Lockwood Kipling
  • Mother: Alice Kipling (née MacDonald)
  • Siblings:
  1. Sister-Alice Kipling (1868–1948)
  2. Brother-John Kipling (1870–1870)
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Spouse: Caroline Starr Balestier (m. 1892) (1862–1939)
  • Children:
  1. Daughter-Elsie Kipling (1896–1976)
  2. Daughter-Josephine Kipling (1892–1899)
  3. Son-John Kipling (1897–1915)
  • Alma Mater: United Services College
  • Known for: his brilliant storytelling capability, reflected especially in his tale of children
  • Rudyard Kipling was criticized for: his celebration of British imperialism
  • Rudyard Kipling was influenced by: Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 –1894), H. Rider Haggard (1856 –1925), Joel Chandler Harris (1848 –1908), and Ibn Tufail (c. 1105 – 1185).
  • Kipling’s Works Inspired:  NA

Notable Awards

  • Nobel Prize in literature (1907)
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Literature (1926)


“I never made a mistake in my life; at least, never one that I couldn't explain away afterwards.”
Rudyard Kipling, Under The Deodars

Did You Know?

  • Rudyard Kipling was the eldest child to John Lockwood Kipling and Alice Kipling.
  • His father was an art teacher, illustrator and museum curator.
  • Kipling was the first to use Cockney dialect in serious poetry.
  • Kipling was named after the Rudyard Lake in Rudyard, Staffordshire, England.
  • Rudyard Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907.
  • Kipling was the first English to receive the prestigious Nobel Prize.
  • Kipling is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature to date.
  • His Nobel Prize citation reads: “in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author”.
  • Kipling’s first collection of poetry Departmental Ditties was published in 1886.
  • His first collection of prose Plain Tales from the Hills was published in 1888 in Calcutta.
  • The ashes of Kipling were buried in Poets' Corner next to the graves of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.
  • In 1892, Rudyard Kipling married Caroline Starr Balestier.
  • Kipling's daughter Josephine died from influenza at the age of six.
  • His son, John was killed at the Battle of Loos while serving with the British Army during the First World War.


November 9, 2017

Quotations by George Gordon Byron

George Gordon Byron, (1788 –1824), was a major English poet and one of the influential representatives of the Romantic Movement.

“Death, so call’d, is a thing which makes men weep, And yet a third of life is pass’d in sleep.” ~ George Gordon Byron, Don Juan, Canto XIV

“She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes...”
~ George Gordon Byron, She Walks in Beauty

“Oh, God! it is a fearful thing
To see the human soul take wing
In any shape, in any mood.”
~ George Gordon Byron, The Prisoner of Chillon

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew, upon a thought produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions think.”
~ George Gordon Byron, Don Juan, Canto III

“ When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past—
For years fleet away with the wings of the dove—
The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
Our sweetest memorial the first kiss of love.”
~ George Gordon Byron, The First Kiss of Love,

“In secret we met
 In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
 Thy spirit deceive.
 If I should meet thee
 After long years,
 How should I greet thee?
 With silence and tears.”
~ George Gordon Byron,  When We Two Parted (1808)

“And thou wert lovely to the last,
Extinguish'd, not decay'd;
As stars that shoot along the sky
Shine brightest as they fall from high.”
~ George Gordon Byron, And Thou Art Dead as Young and Fair (1812).

“I am the very slave of circumstance
And impulse — borne away with every breath!
Misplaced upon the throne — misplaced in life.
I know not what I could have been, but feel
I am not what I should be — let it end.”
~ George Gordon Byron, Sardanapalus

“Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most
Must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth,
The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.”
~ George Gordon Byron, Manfred

“Though the day of my Destiny's over,
And the star of my Fate hath declined,
Thy soft heart refused to discover
The faults which so many could find.”
~ George Gordon Byron,   Stanzas to Augusta

“The world is a bundle of hay,
Mankind are the asses that pull,
Each tugs in a different way—
And the greatest of all is John Bull!”
~ George Gordon Byron,   Letter to Thomas Moore (22 June 1821).

“My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of Love are gone;
The worm — the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone!”
~ George Gordon Byron,   On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year

“Tis strange,-but true; for truth is always strange;
Stranger than fiction: if it could be told,
How much would novels gain by the exchange!
How differently the world would men behold!”
~ George Gordon Byron, Don Juan

“He who hath bent him o'er the dead
Ere the first day of death is fled,—
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress,
Before decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers.”
~ George Gordon Byron,The Giaour

“Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt
In solitude, where we are least alone.”
~ George Gordon Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

“I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me: and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
of human cities torture.”
~ George Gordon Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

“The thorns which I have reap’d are of the tree
I planted,—they have torn me,—and I bleed: 
I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed.”
~ George Gordon Byron, I. Personal, Lyric, and Elegiac England

“Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life.
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
And tints tomorrow with prophetic ray!”
~ George Gordon Byron, The Bride of Abydos, Canto II, stanza 20

“Death, so call’d, is a thing which makes men weep,
And yet a third of life is pass’d in sleep.”
~ George Gordon Byron, Don Juan, Canto XIV


November 1, 2017

“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” as a Modern Poem

Modernism is a movement in literature that lasted from roughly the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. The era marked landmark progress in science and technology, industrialization and globalization. Although these are all indicatives of modernism, the modernist writers, however, diverted their interest into otherwise.Their prime objective was to highlight the potential incongruities underneath the surface advancement.They observed that with the increased reliance on science and technology, and the gradual removal of the individual from rural community into urban isolation, the individual and society were at odds with one another. Moreover, they also witnessed that the devastation caused by the World War I left the civilization declined rather than improved.

T.S. Eliot is one of the pioneering literary figures of the modernist movement. In his works he opted to infuse the trending issues of his time. Eliot’s earliest tour de force, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, indicated a groundbreaking literary shift from late 19th-century Romantic poetry to Modernism. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock encapsulates nearly all of the major tenets of the subject movement:

Free Verse

The modernists significantly deviated from the strict meter formulated by the Romantic school of poetry.They preferred free verse which follows neither a rhyme scheme nor a consistent meter. To be relevant to the era The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is also composed in free verse. However, the poem does not fully follow the free verse; rather it adheres to some formal rhymes as well.

Stream of Consciousness

Stream of consciousness is a popular mode of narration in the modern era. The modernist writers often used this technique to perplex the audience, by leaving things vague or unexplained.That is why works narrated by this technique are often difficult to follow. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock also employs the stream of consciousness technique to present the inner thoughts or anguish of a neurotic, isolated, hesitant, and cynical man named Prufrock. The aforesaid subject clearly releases his indecisive thoughts in the following lines:
“And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”


Alienation is one of the central themes in the modern era. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock also hinges around this theme. The poet explores alienation through the title character Prufrock, who is paralyzed by indecision and worry about his appearance to others, particularly to women. His inability to properly express his love and fears of rejection supersede his natural desire to be with a woman, which in turn created an awkward and isolated character that is aloof from society. Prufrock believes that  his paralysis has stemmed from the silent criticism of those around him, and thus he thinks that he will be free of his paralyzing fear once he isolates himself from others. This idea is further reinforced by his wandering at dusk through the narrow back alleys of the seedier side of the city where the only beings are the common class people. Since here he is isolated from the people he knows, he finds the most comfort in the company of complete strangers:
“Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...”

Urban Setting

The modernists significantly deviated from the Romantics in the matter of choosing the setting. Whereas the former used a rural setting to explore nature from emotional or imaginary point of view, the latter employed an urban setting to portray the city life realistically with its hustle and bustle.Eliot also followed his contemporaries and confined his TheLove Song of J. Alfred Prufrock within an urban setting which is evident in the following lines:
“The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.”


The majority of the modernist works are replete with allusions, an expression which enabled the writers to encapsulate the entire theme, mood, feeling and plot of those other stories, with just one word or phrase. Eliot also used allusions extravagantly in his poem TheLove Song of J. Alfred Prufrock which heightened the symbolic as well as the ironic mode of expression. For example:
  • The very title of the poem reverberates to Rudyard Kipling’s Love Song of Har Dyal, although in a rather ironic way. While Kipling’s poem is a typical love song expressing an Englishman's passion and love for his Indian lover, Eliot’s poem is a mockery of the love song, portraying the protagonist’s many failed attempts at courting women.
  • Eliot starts the poem with an epigraph drawn from the 27th canto of Dante’s Inferno to suggest the theme of secrecy. The epigraph refers to a meeting in which Guido da Montefeltro speaks with a sense of secrecy to Dante, just as Prufrock speaks with a sense of secrecy to the “you” mentioned in the poem’s very first lines:
“Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;”
  • In lines 94-95, Eliot alludes to Lazarus, a biblical character, who was sent to Hell but he wanted to come back to the earth in order to tell his friend about experiences in Hell. In the same way Prufrock is living in such a place where he seems to be dead:
“I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
  • Eliot repetitively refers to Michelangelo to portray the boring nature of a social event where no one really cares what is being said, pointlessly mingling among themselves while they try to figure out interesting bits of conversation to mention:
“In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.”
  • In lines 111-119, Prufrock considers himself to be Prince Hamlet, the title character from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. However, soon he declares that he does not have the potentialities of Hamlet and that he is more of a side character like Polonius who could be confused for a fool who appears in a scene or two:
“No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.”

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


October 30, 2017

Quotations by Emily Brontë


“Treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to them worse than their enemies.” ~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.  But, if you be ashamed of your touchiness, you must ask pardon, mind, when she comes in.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“A person who has not done one-half his day’s work by ten o’clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree—
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?”
~ Emily Brontë, Love and Friendship

“I pray every night that I may live after him; because I would rather be miserable than that he should be: that proves I love him better than myself.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it.  I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.  So much the worse for me that I am strong.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“I’m now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town.  A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death; and flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him ...”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“I’m wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there: not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart: but really with it, and in it.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“… you have left me so long to struggle against death alone, that I feel and see only death!  I feel like death!”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger ...”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 “I wish I were a girl again, half savage and hardy, and free; and laughing at injuries, not maddening under them!  Why am I so changed? … I’m sure I should be myself were I once among the heather on those hills. ”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“If he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn't love as much in eighty years as I could in a day.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“I have to remind myself to breathe—almost to remind my heart to beat!”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 “My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees.  My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.  Nelly, I am Heathcliff!  He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 “It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 “It is hard to forgive, and to look at those eyes, and feel those wasted hands,' he answered. 'Kiss me again; and don’t let me see your eyes! I forgive what you have done to me. I love my murderer—but yours! How can I?”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 “Honest people don't hide their deeds.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 “I love the ground under his feet, and the air over his head, and everything he touches, and every word he says.  I love all his looks, and all his actions, and him entirely and altogether.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 “… heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 “… he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, … but because he’s more myself than I am.  Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same ...”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.  And this is one: I’m going to tell it—but take care not to smile at any part of it.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 “… he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same ...”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!  Oh, God! it is unutterable!  I cannot live without my life!  I cannot live without my soul!”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“Your cold blood cannot be worked into a fever: your veins are full of ice-water; but mine are boiling, and the sight of such chillness makes them dance.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“A good heart will help you to a bonny face, my lad, … and a bad one will turn the bonniest into something worse than ugly.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me,
And I cannot, cannot go.”
~ Emily Brontë, The night is darkening round me

“… treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to them worse than their enemies.”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights


October 9, 2017

Quotations by D.H. Lawrence


“Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.”  ~ D.H. Lawrence, The Rainbow, 1915

“Obscenity only comes in when the mind despises and fears the body, and the body hates and resists the mind.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, The Complete Poems

 “A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“Perhaps only people who are capable of real togetherness have that look of being alone in the universe. The others have a certain stickiness, they stick to the mass.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“A woman unsatisfied must have luxuries. But a woman who loves a man would sleep on a board”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Letter to John Middleton Murry, 1913

 “One must learn to love, and go through a good deal of suffering to get to it, like any Knight of the Grail, and the journey is always towards the other soul, not away from it.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Letter to Thomas Dunlop, July 7, 1914

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love

“Love is never a fulfillment. Life is never a thing of continuous bliss. There is no paradise. Fight and laugh and feel bitter and feel bliss: and fight again. Fight, fight. That is life.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature, 1923

“But that is how men are! Ungrateful and never satisfied. When you don't have them they hate you because you won't; and when you do have them they hate you again, for some other reason. Or for no reason at all, except that they are discontented children, and can't be satisfied whatever they get, let a woman do what she may.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“The human soul needs beauty more than bread.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Nottingham and the Mining Countryside (1921)

“Those that go searching for love
only make manifest their own lovelessness,
and the loveless never find love,
only the loving find love,
and they never have to seek for it.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Search for Love

“Every true artist is the salvation of every other. Only artists produce for each other a world that is fit to live in.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love

“Recklessness is almost a man's revenge on his woman. He feels he is not valued so he will risk destroying himself to deprive her altogether.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

 “I can never decide whether my dreams are the result of my thoughts, or my thoughts the result of my dreams. It is very queer. But my dreams make conclusions for me. They decide things finally. I dream a decision. Sleep seems to hammer out for me the logical conclusions of my vague days, and offer me them as dreams.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Letter to Edward Garnett, January 29, 1012

“When I hear modern people complain of being lonely then I know what has happened. They have lost the cosmos.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Apocalypse

“Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“And woman is the same as horses: two wills act in opposition inside her. With one will she wants to subject herself utterly. With the other she wants to bolt, and pitch her rider to perdition.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love

“Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks.
Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools.
And their grandchildren are once more slaves.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Liberty’s Old Story

“The human being is a most curious creature. He thinks he has got one soul, and he has got dozens.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Sea and Sardinia

“The world is a raving idiot, and no man can kill it: though I’ll do my best. But you’re right. We must rescue ourselves as best we can.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“Sometimes life takes hold of one, carries the body along, accomplishes one's history, and yet is not real, but leaves oneself as it were slurred over.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

“Sleep is still most perfect, in spite of hygienists, when it is shared with a beloved.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

“Give up bearing children and bear hope and love and devotion to those already born.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

“For to desire is better than to possess, the finality of the end was dreaded as deeply as it was desired.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love

“The beautiful pure freedom of a woman was infinitely more wonderful than any sexual love.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“A man could no longer be private and withdrawn. The world allows no hermits.”
~ D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

“… human desire is the criterion of all truth and all good. Truth does not lie beyond humanity, but is one of the products of the human mind and feeling. There is really nothing to fear. The motive of fear in religion is base...”
~ D.H. Lawrence, The Rainbow

“Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.”
 ~ D.H. Lawrence, The Rainbow, 1915


October 4, 2017

Quotations by Kingsley Amis


“I thought to myself how much more welcome a faculty the imagination would be if we could tell when it was at work and when not.” ~ Kingsley Amis, The Green Man

“A man's sexual aim, he had often said to himself, is to convert a creature who is cool, dry, calm, articulate, independent, purposeful into a creature that is the opposite of these; to demonstrate to an animal which is pretending not to be an animal that it is an animal.”
~ Kingsley Amis, One Fat Englishman

“If you can't annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“Like all people who try to exhaust a subject, he exhausted his listeners.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Jake's Thing

“Doing what you wanted to do was the only training, and the only preliminary, needed for doing more of what you wanted to do.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“You'll find that marriage is a good short cut to the truth. No, not quite that. A way of doubling back to the truth. Another thing you'll find is that the years of illusion aren't those of adolescence, as the grown-ups try to tell us; they're the ones immediately after it, say the middle twenties, the false maturity if you like, when you first get thoroughly embroiled in things and lose your head. Your age, by the way, Jim. That's when you first realize that sex is important to other people besides yourself. A discovery like that can't help knocking you off balance for a time.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“Those who professed themselves unable to believe in the reality of human progress ought to cheer themselves up, as the students under examination had conceivably been cheered up, by a short study of the Middle Ages. The hydrogen bomb, the South African Government, Chioang Kaidick, Senator McCarthy himself, would then seem a light price to pay for no longer being in the Middle Ages”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“With some exceptions in science fiction and other genres I have small difficulty in avoiding anything that could be called American literature. I feel it is unnatural, not I think entirely because it uses a language that is not mine, however closely akin to my own.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage

“The rewards for being sane may not be very many, but knowing what's funny is one of them.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Stanley and the Women

“It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children.”
~ Kingsley Amis, One Fat Englishman (1963)

“How wrong people always were when they said: 'It's better to know the worst than go on not knowing either way.' No; they had it exactly the wrong way round. Tell me the truth, doctor, I'd sooner know. But only if the truth is what I want to hear.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“Never despise a drink because it is easy to make and/or uses commercial mixes. Unquestioning devotion to authenticity is, in any department of life, a mark of the naive - or worse.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking

“Wives and such are constantly filling up any refrigerator they have a claim on, even its ice-compartment, with irrelevant rubbish like food.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking

“He thought how much he liked her and had in common with her, and how much she'd like and have in common with him if she only knew him.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“When the bishop farted we were amused to hear about it. Should the ploughboy find treasure we must be told. But when the ploughboy farts... er... keep it to yourself.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Jake's Thing

“It's never pleasant to have one's unquestioning beliefs put in their historical context, as I know from experience, I can assure you.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The Green Man

“For a moment he felt like devoting the next ten years to working his way to a position as art critic on purpose to review Bertrand's work unfavorably.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“It is not extraordinary that the extraterrestrial origin of women was a recurrent theme of science fiction.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The King's English: A Guide to Modern English Usage

“Nothing short of physical handicap has ever made anybody turn over a new leaf.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The Green Man

“I thought to myself how much more welcome a faculty the imagination would be if we could tell when it was at work and when not.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The Green Man

“The human race has not devised any way of dissolving barriers, getting to know the other chap fast, breaking the ice, that is one-tenth as handy and efficient as letting you and the other chap, or chaps, cease to be totally sober at about the same rate in agreeable surroundings.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis


September 28, 2017

Quotations by Philip Larkin


“Life is first boredom, then fear. Whether or not we use it, it goes, And leaves what something hidden from us chose,    And age, and then the only end of age.”  ~ Philip Larkin, Dockery and Son

“So many things I had thought forgotten
 Return to my mind with stranger pain:
- Like letters that arrive addressed to someone
Who left the house so many years ago.”
~ Philip Larkin, Why Did I Dream of You Last Night?

“Uncontradicting solitude
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am.”
~ Philip Larkin, Best Society

“… it never worked for me.
Something to do with violence
A long way back, and wrong rewards,
And arrogant eternity.”
~ Philip Larkin, Love Again

“This is the first thing
I have understood:
Time is the echo of an axe
Within a wood.”
~ Philip Larkin, “XXVI,” The North Ship

“I have a sense of melancholy isolation, life rapidly vanishing, all the usual things. It's very strange how often strong feelings don't seem to carry any message of action.”
~ Philip Larkin, Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica

“How little our careers express what lies in us, and yet how much time they take up. It's sad, really.”
~ Philip Larkin, Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica

“Morning, noon & bloody night,
Seven sodding days a week,
I slave at filthy WORK, that might
Be done by any book-drunk freak.
This goes on until I kick the bucket.
~ Philip Larkin, Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica

“I feel the only thing you can do about life is to preserve it, by art if you're an artist, by children if you're not.”
~ Philip Larkin, Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica

“… In everyone there sleeps
A sense of life lived according to love.
To some it means the difference they could make
By loving others, but across most it sweeps
As all they might have done had they been loved.
That nothing cures ...”
~ Philip Larkin, Faith Healing

“Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.”
~ Philip Larkin, This Be The Verse

“Life is first boredom, then fear.
Whether or not we use it, it goes,
And leaves what something hidden from us chose,
And age, and then the only end of age.”

~ Philip Larkin, Dockery and Son

 “One of the quainter quirks of life is that we shall never know who dies on the same day as we do ourselves.”
~ Philip Larkin, Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica

“… we should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time”
~ Philip Larkin, The Mower

“Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.”
~ Philip Larkin, High Windows

“Since the majority of me
Rejects the majority of you,
Debating ends forwith, and we
~ Philip Larkin, Since The Majority Of Me

“Only in books the flat and final happens
Only in dreams we meet and interlock,”
~ Philip Larkin, Observation (1941)

“Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands
Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,
Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,
Luminously-peopled air ascends;
And past the poppies bluish neutral distance
Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach
Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence:
Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.”
~ Philip Larkin, The Whitsun Weddings

“The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke...
Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can't come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.”
~ Philip Larkin, High Windows

“Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word – the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages,
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.”
~ Philip Larkin, MCMXIV

“And I am sick for want of sleep;
So sick, that I can half-believe
The soundless river pouring from the cave
Is neither strong nor deep;
Only an image fancied in conceit.”
~ Philip Larkin, “XVI”, The North Ship

“Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.”
~ Philip Larkin, An Arundel Tomb

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.”
~ Philip Larkin, The Whitsun Weddings

“I would not dare
Console you if I could. What can be said,
Except that suffering is exact, but where
Desire takes charge, readings will grow erratic?”
~ Philip Larkin, The Less Deceived

“Living toys are something novel,
But it soon wears off somehow.”
~ Philip Larkin, Take One Home for the Kiddies


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