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“I’m a natural clown, I suppose, in writing, and one has to accept that; I can’t do anything about it. I have written one or two novels which are not specifically funny. I wrote a study of Shakespeare which was not intended to be funny, but some people regard it as such.”

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Quotes by Anthony Burgess

  1. A novelist should not be too intelligent either, although… he may be permitted to be an intellectual.
  2. Americans will listen, but they do not care to read. War and Peace must wait for the leisure of retirement, which never really comes: meanwhile it helps to furnish the living room.
  3. Bath twice a day to be really clean, once a day to be passably clean, once a week to avoid being a public menace.
  4. Books in a large university library system: 2,000,000. Books in an average large city library: 10,000. Average number of books in a chain bookstore: 30,000. Books in an average neighborhood branch library: 20,000.
  5. Every dogma has its day.
  6. He said it was artificial respiration, but now I find I am to have his child.
  7. I didn’t think; I experimented.
  8. I enjoy journalism; anybody does. You see the results immediately; you’ve got an immediate audience instead of having to wait for your audience as you do if you’re writing a book, and you get a bit of money coming in, and you can see more clearly how you’re paying the bills. But it’s not a good position for the serious novelist to be in.
  9. I went abroad to Malaya and came back and tended naturally to gravitate towards the south, I suppose, near London where things seemed to be going on; but I’m still a Lancashire man, and what I want to write someday is a novel about Manchester. Very much a regional novel.
  10. I’m a natural clown, I suppose, in writing, and one has to accept that; I can’t do anything about it. I have written one or two novels which are not specifically funny. I wrote a study of Shakespeare which was not intended to be funny, but some people regard it as such.
  11. If you believe in an unseen Christ, you will believe in the unseen Christlike potential of others.
  12. 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.
  13. Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.
  14. Life is a wretched gray Saturday, but it has to be lived through.
  15. One of the delights known to age, and beyond the grasp of youth, is that of Not Going.
  16. Readers are plentiful: thinkers are rare.
  17. The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent, experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it, if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
  18. The downtrodden are the great creators of slang.
  19. The possession of a book becomes a substitute for reading it.
  20. The unconscious mind has a habit of asserting itself in the afternoon.
  21. To write is to become disinterested. There is a certain renunciation in art.
  22. 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.
  23. We all need money, but there are degrees of desperation.
  24. When I first began to write fiction, I didn’t think I was a comic writer; I thought I was a serious writer. I was surprised when the first novel I wrote was regarded as a funny novel.
  25. Women thrive on novelty and are easy meat for the commerce of fashion. Men prefer old pipes and torn jackets.