- [His reply to the chairman's other stock question, which had previously never failed to embarrass the claimant: 'Tell me, Mr. Strachey, what would you do if you saw a German soldier trying to violate your sister?' With an air of noble virtue:] 'I would try to get between them.'
- If this is dying, then I don't think much of it.
- The history of the Victorian Age will never be written: we know too much about it. For ignorance is the first requisite of the historian - ignorance, which simplifies and clarifies, which selects and omits, with a placid perfection unattainable by the highest art.
- It is perhaps as difficult to write a good life as to live one.
- It is not [the biographer's] business to be complimentary; it is his business to lay bare the facts of the case, as he understands them...dispassionately, impartially, and without ulterior motives.
- His style is perfect joy, and it is only when one has come across a fairer and kindlier handling of one of his victims that one is resentful of his tittering.
- One observed a number of discordant features - a feminine sensibility, a delight in the absurd, a taste for exaggeration and melodrama, a very mature judgement and then some lack of human substance, some hereditary thinness in the blood that at times gave people who met him an odd feeling in the spine. He seemed almost indecently lacking in ordinariness.
- Pass a person through your mind, with all the documents, and see what comes out. That seems to be your method. Also, choose them, in the first place, because you dislike them.
- To mark a man's faults and failings was, for Johnson, to indicate where he had diverged from his true relation to God; for Strachey it was an agreeable intellectual pastime, which flattered his sense of superiority both to his subject and to the illusion-ridden mob.