alan bennett Quotes

Alan Bennett Quotes

Birth Date: 1934-05-09 (Wednesday, May 9th, 1934)

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Quotes

    • Geoff: We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules.
    • Polly: Education with socialists, it's like sex, all right as long as you don't have to pay for it.
    • I lack what the English call character, by which they mean the power to refrain.
    • That's a bit like asking a man crawling across the Sahara whether he would prefer Perrier or Malvern water.
    • Headmaster: I have never understood this liking for war. It panders to instincts already catered for within the scope of any respectable domestic establishment.
    • Headmaster: Shyness had always been a disease with him, and it was shyness and a longing for anonymity that made him disguise himself. Clad in the magnificent white silk robes of an Arab prince, with in his belt the short curved, gold sword of the Ashraf descendants of the Prophet, he hoped to pass unnoticed through London. Alas, he was mistaken. 'Who am I?' he would cry despairingly. 'You are Lawrence of Arabia' passers-by would stop him and say, 'And I claim my five pounds.'
    • Headmaster: They were all socialists. Why is it always the intelligent people who are socialists?
    • Schoolmaster: But God, whatever else He is, and of course He is everything else, is not a fool.
    • Franklin: Have you ever thought, Headmaster, that your standards might perhaps be a little out of date? Headmaster: Of course they're out of date. Standards always are out of date. That is what makes them standards.
    • Headmaster: Mark my words, when a society has to resort to the lavatory for its humour, the writing is on the wall.
    • Franklin: Sapper, Buchan, Dornford Yates, practitioners in that school of Snobbery with Violence that runs like a thread of good-class tweed through twentieth-century literature.
    • It wasn't until some time later that I realized that, without it being one of the most momentous encounters in western literature, my mother had met T. S. Eliot. I tried to explain to her the significance of the great poet, but without much success, The Waste Land not figuring very largely in Mam's scheme of things. 'The thing is,' I said finally, 'he won the Nobel Prize.' 'Well,' she said, with that unerring grasp of inessentials which is the prerogative of mothers, 'I'm not surprised. It was a beautiful overcoat.'
    • He had never read Proust, but he had somehow taken a short cut across the allotments and arrived at the same conclusions.
    • An article on playwrights in the Daily Mail, listed according to Hard Left, Soft Left, Hard Right, Soft Right and Centre. I am not listed. I should probably come under Soft Centre.
    • The majority of people perform well in a crisis and when the spotlight is on them; it's on the Sunday afternoons of this life, when nobody is looking, that the spirit falters.
    • To play Trivial Pursuit with a life like mine could be said to be a form of homeopathy.
    • We have fish and chips, which W. and I fetch from the shop in Settle market-place. Some local boys come in and there is a bit of chat between them and the fish-fryer about whether the kestrel under the counter is for sale. W. takes no notice of this, to me, slightly surprising conversation:Only when I mention it to W. does he explain Kestrel is now a lager. I imagine the future is going to contain an increasing number of incidents like this, culminating with a man in a white coat saying to one kindly, 'And now can you tell me the name of the Prime Minister?'
    • Kafka could never have written as he did had he lived in a house. His writing is that of someone whose whole life was spent in apartments, with lifts, stairwells, muffled voices behind closed doors, and sounds through walls. Put him in a nice detached villa and he'd never have written a word.
    • I have no doubt that in heaven the angels will regard the blessed as a necessary evil.
    • One of the good things about Larkin is that he still has you firmly by the hand as you cross the finishing-line, whereas reading Auden is like doing a parachute-drop: for a while the view is wonderful, but then you end up on your back in the middle of a ploughed field and in the wrong county.
    • The Channel is a slipper-bath of irony through which we pass these serious Continentals in order not to be infected by their gloom.
    • He is interested in the feelings of the squash ball, and of the champagne bottle that launches the ship. In a football match his sympathy is not with either of the teams but with the ball, or, in a match ending nil-nil, with the hunger of the goalmouth.
    • However, living in Tel Aviv, he was spared the fate of equivalent figures in English culture, an endless round of arts programmes where those who have known the famous are publicly debriefed of their memories, knowing as their own dusk falls that they will be remembered only for remembering someone else.
    • Our father the novelist; my husband the poet. He belongs to the ages - just don't catch him at breakfast. Artists, celebrated for their humanity, they turn out to be scarcely human at all.
    • Schweitzer in the Congo did not derive more moral credit than Larkin did for living in Hull.
    • Writer: I don't know whether you've ever looked into a miner's eyes - for any length of time, that is. Because it is the loveliest blue you've ever seen. I think perhaps that's why I live in Ibiza, because the blue of the Mediterranean, you see, reminds me of the blue of the eyes of those Doncaster miners.
    • Writer: What, above all, I'm primarily concerned with is the substance of life, the pith of reality. If I had to sum up my work, that's it, really. I'm taking the pith out of reality.
    • If you find yourself born in Barnsley and then set your sights on being Virginia Woolf it is not going to be roses all the way.
    • alan bennett

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