Anthony Burgess quotes

  • Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Love #Life #Relationship

  • Beckett does not believe in God, though he seems to imply that God has committed an unforgivable sin by not existing.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Believe #Doe #Sin

  • When a man cannot chose, he ceases to be a man.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Men #Choices

  • Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Design #Culture #Matter

  • But what I do I do because I like to do.
    -- Anthony Burgess

  • We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Writing #Fearless

  • There is a satisfactory boniness about grammar which the flesh of sheer vocabulary requires before it can become a vertebrate and walk the earth.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Vocabulary #Earth #Flesh

  • Well, well, well, well. If it isn't fat, stinking billygoat Billy-Boy in poison. How art thou, thy globby bottle of cheap, stinking chip-oil? Come and get one in the yarbles, if you have any yarbles, you eunuch jelly thou.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Art #Boys #Oil

  • Literature is all, or mostly, about sex.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Sex #Writing #Literature

  • All human life is here, but the Holy Ghost seems to be somewhere else.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Ghost #Life Is #Holy

  • Language exists less to record the actual than to liberate the imagination.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Imagination #Records #Language

  • The purpose of education is to fit us for life in a civilised community, and it seems to follow from the subjects we study that the two most important things in civilised life are Art and Science.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Education #Art #Two

  • The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Order #Evil #Choices

  • ...We're a government that believes in everybody having the illusion of free will.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Believe #Government #Free Will

  • There is, in fact, not much point in writing a novel unless you can show the possibility of moral transformation, or an increase in wisdom, operating in your chief character or characters.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Writing #Character #Facts

  • Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Men #Evil #Dystopia

  • It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Evil #Inhuman

  • If you believe in an unseen Christ, you will believe in the unseen Christlike potential of others.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Believe #Unseen #Christ

  • The book I am best known for, or only known for, is a novel I am prepared to repudiate: written a quarter of a century ago, a jeu d'esprit knocked off for money in three weeks, it became known as the raw material for a film which seemed to glorify sex and violence. The film made it easy for readers of the book to misunderstand what it was about, and the misunderstanding will pursue me till I die. I should not have written the book because of this danger of misinterpretation.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Sex #Book #Violence

  • It's always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you're going.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Hymns #Where You Come #Celebration

  • Life is, of course, terrible.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Life Is #Terrible

  • Each man kills the thing he loves.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Broken Heart #Men

  • A novelist should not be too intelligent either, although... he may be permitted to be an intellectual.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Intelligent #Intellectual #Intelligence

  • The downtrodden are the great creators of slang.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Slang #Downtrodden #Creator

  • If you expect the worst from a person you can never be disappointed.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Worst #Disappointed #Persons

  • The next morning I woke up at oh eight oh oh hours, my brothers, and as I still felt shagged and fagged and fashed and bashed and my glazzies were stuck together real horrorshow with sleepglue, I thought I would not go to school.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Morning #Brother #Real

  • And, my brothers, it was real satisfaction to me to waltz-left two three, right two three-and carve left cheeky and right cheeky, so that like two curtains of blood seemed to pour out at the same time, one on either side of his fat filthy oily snout in the winter starlight.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Brother #Real #Winter

  • If I had died it would have been even better for you political bratchnies, would it not, pretending and treacherous droogs as you are.' But all that came out was er er er.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Political #Pretending

  • There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Three #Alex #Evening

  • Eat this sweetish segment or spit it out. You are free.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Spit

  • Great Music, it said, and Great Poetry would like quieten Modern Youth down and make Modern Youth more Civilized. Civilized my syphilised yarbles.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Down And #Youth #Great Music

  • And I sort of frowned about that, thinking. 'You felt ill this afternoon,' he said, 'because you're getting better. When we're healthy we respond to the presence of the hateful with fear and nausea. You're becoming healthy, that's all.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Thinking #Healthy #Get Better

  • How wicked, my brothers, innocent milk must always seem to me now.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Brother #Wicked #Milk

  • I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.
    -- Anthony Burgess

  • Then, brothers, it came. Oh, bliss, bliss and heaven. I lay all nagoy to the ceiling, my gulliver on my rookers on the pillow, glazzies closed, rot open in bliss, slooshying the sluice of lovely sounds. Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Brother #Heaven #Lovely

  • I was cured all right.
    -- Anthony Burgess

  • It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Life #Real #Color

  • To be left alone is the most precious thing one can ask of the modern world.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Solitude #World #Modern

  • Women thrive on novelty and are easy meat for the commerce of fashion. Men prefer old pipes and torn jackets.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Fashion #Men #Meat

  • The unconscious mind has a habit of asserting itself in the afternoon.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Mind #Afternoon #Awareness

  • You needn't take it any further, sir. You've proved to me that all this ultraviolence and killing is wrong, wrong, and terribly wrong. I've learned me lesson, sir. I've seen now what I've never seen before. I'm cured! Praise Bog! I'm cured! I was cured alright.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Lessons #Bogs

  • Every dogma has its day.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Life And Love #Dogma

  • Bath twice a day to be really clean, once a day to be passably clean, once a week to avoid being a public menace.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Baths #Cleanliness #Week

  • We all need money, but there are degrees of desperation.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Money #Degrees #Needs

  • It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions, little 6655321.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Nice #Night #Men

  • It'll be your own torture," he said, serious. "I hope to God it'll torture you to madness.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Serious #Madness #Said

  • It had been a wonderful evening and what I needed now, to give it the perfect ending, was a little of the Ludwig Van.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Giving #Perfect #Littles

  • What's it going to be then, eh?
    -- Anthony Burgess

  • Blockbusting fiction is bought as furniture. Unread, it maintains its value. Read, it looks like money wasted. Cunningly, Americans know that books contain a person, and they want the person, not the book.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Book #Looks #Fiction

  • Immortality makes sense only when the individual soul can be thought of as merging into a great collective mush of sainthood. If we take anything with us into the next world, it is not what survives in the memories of our relicts.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Memories #Soul #Sainthood

  • We are supposed to be the children of Seth; but Seth is too much of an effete nonentity to deserve ancestral regard. No, we are the sons of Cain, and with violence can be associated the attacks on sound, stone, wood and metal that produced civilization.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Children #Son #Civilization

  • Literature ceases to be literature when it commits itself to moral uplift; it becomes moral philosophy or some such dull thing.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Uplifting #Philosophy #Literature

  • All art preserves mysteries which aesthetic philosophers tackle in vain.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Art #Philosopher #Mystery

  • What critics often ask for is the impossible, though this may be a salutary means of extending the borders of art.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Art #Mean #Borders

  • I have heard earnest American sociologists say that American children have a right to the divorce experience as an enriching element of an advanced civilisation.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Children #Divorce #Elements

  • All novels are experimental.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Fiction #Novel

  • Only in England is the perversion of language regarded as a victory for democracy.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #America #Victory #Democracy

  • Keep away from physicians. It is all probing and guessing and pretending with them. They leave it to Nature to cure in her own time, but they take the credit. As well as very fat fees.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Doctors #Physicians #Credit

  • To devastate is easier and more spectacular than to create.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Easier #Spectacular

  • A work of fiction should be, for its author, a journey into the unknown, and the prose should convey the difficulties of the journey.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Journey #Fiction #Should

  • I think art is sublimated libido. You can’t be a eunuch priest, and you can’t be a eunuch artist.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Art #Thinking #Libido

  • If you expect the worst from a person, you can't ever be disappointed... The pessimist takes a sort of gloomy pleasure in observing the depths to which human behaviour can sink. Everyone likes to have his deepest convictions confirmed; that is one of the most abiding of human satisfaction.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Depth #Abiding #Behaviour

  • Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Art #Soul #Growing

  • If you write fiction you are, in a sense, corrupted. There's a tremendous corruptibility for the fiction writer because you're dealing mainly with sex and violence. These remain the basic themes, they're the basic themes of Shakespeare whether you like it or not.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Sex #Writing #Fiction

  • Blessed tree and blessed birds, that were to be neither saved nor damned.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Blessed #Bird #Tree

  • The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder. Oh, it was wonder of wonders. And then, a bird of like rarest spun heavenmetal, or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now, came the violin solo above all the other strings, and those strings were like a cage of silk around my bed. Then flute and oboe bored, like worms of like platinum, into the thick thick toffee gold and silver. I was in such bliss, my brothers.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Wise #Brother #Wine

  • The trouble began with Forster. After him it was considered ungentlemanly to write more than five or six novels.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Art #Writing #Six

  • The practice of fiction can be dangerous: it puts ideas into the head of the world.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Practice #Ideas #Fiction

  • With both agents and publishers hungry for bestsellers, literature will have to end up as a cottage industry.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Cottages #Agents #Literature

  • As we grow older, the memories of early life brighten, those of maturity and senescence grow dim and confused.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Memories #Confused #Maturity

  • I start at the beginning, go on to the end, then stop.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Goes On #Ends

  • Fumbling for a word is everybody's birthright.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Birthright

  • We only need to wear shoes because the British built roads which hurt our feet.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Funny #Hurt #Shoes

  • I was very lighthearted. This often the way when the abandonment of personal responsibility is enforced: neither wronged innocence or just guilt can seriously impair the sensation of freedom one has.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Responsibility #Guilt #Way

  • I've always felt that English women had to be approached in a sisterly manner, rather than an erotic manner.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #England #Sisterly

  • John Kenneth Galbraith and Marshall McLuhan are the two greatest modern Canadians that the U.S. has produced.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Two #Modern #Kenneth

  • Without class differences, England would cease to be the living theatre it is.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Class #Differences #Theatre

  • Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Order #Evil #Choices

  • Put it off for a bit. All life is putting off. Well, not entirely.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Life Is #Wells

  • But don't think that it's a system or a culture or a state or a person that does the letting down. It's our expectations that let us down. It begins in the warmth of the womb and the discovery that it's cold outside. But it's not the cold's fault that it's cold.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Thinking #Discovery #Expectations

  • Delimitation is always difficult. The world is one, life is one. The sweetest and most heavenly of activities partake in some measure of violence - the act of love, for instance; music, for instance.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #World #Violence #Life Is

  • Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Opposites #Moral #Life Is

  • In two thousand years all our generals and politicians may be forgotten, but Einstein and Madame Curie and Bernard Shaw and Stravinsky will keep the memory of our age alive.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Memories #Years #Two

  • A word in a dictionary is very much like a car in a mammoth motor show - full of potential but temporarily inactive.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Car #Shows #Dictionary

  • The writer's life seethes within but not without.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Writing

  • For the serious artist does not satisfy needs
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Artist #Doe #Needs

  • I mean, there's little enough in this life, really, and you only find it worth living for the odd moments, and if you think you're going to have those odd moments again, then it makes life wonderful and have a meaning.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Life #Mean #Thinking

  • Rome's just a city like anywhere else. A vastly overrated city, I'd say. It trades on belief just as Stratford trades on Shakespeare.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Rome #Cities #Belief

  • As a chamber hung round about with looking-glasses represents the face upon every turn, thus all the world doth the mercy and the bounty of God; though that be visible, yet it discovers an invisible God and his invisible properties.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #God #Glasses #World

  • The adult relation to books is one of absorbing rather than being absorbed.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Book #Adults #Relation

  • The aura of the theocratic death penalty for adultery still clings to America, even outside New England, and multiple divorce, which looks to the European like serial polygamy, is the moral solution to the problem of the itch.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Divorce #America #Looks

  • This is great art, we've been told this by the great pundits of our age. And in consequence why should we bother to learn? There's nothing more delightful than to be told, 'You don't have to learn, my boy. There's nothing in it. Modern art? There's nothing in it.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Art #Boys #Age

  • Writers are rarely their own best critics, nor are critics.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Critics

  • You have no idea how pleasant it is not to have any future. It's like having a totally efficient contraceptive.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Future #Ideas #Pleasant

  • But, brothers, this biting of their toe-nails over what is the CAUSE of badness is what turns me into a fine laughing malchick. They don't go into what is the cause of GOODNESS, so why of the other shop?
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Brother #Laughing #Biting

  • He said it was artificial respiration but now I find I'm to have his child.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Children #Said #Respiration

  • Violence among young people is an aspect of their desire to create. They don't know how to use their energy creatively so they do the opposite and destroy.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Opposites #People #Desire

  • Where do I come into all of this? Am I just some animal or dog?' And that started them off govoreeting real loud and throwing slovos at me. So I creeched louder still, creeching: 'Am I just to be like a clockwork orange?
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Dog #Real #Animal

  • I viddied that thinking is for the gloopy ones and that the oomny ones use like inspiration and what Bog sends. For now it was lovely music that came to my aid.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Inspiration #Thinking #Lovely

  • When the State withers, humanity flowers.
    -- Anthony Burgess

    #Flower #Humanity #States