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 :: 1903-1974, British Critic

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A great writer creates a world of his own and his readers are proud to live in it. A lesser writer may entice them in for a moment, but soon he will watch them filing out.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Writers and Writing]

 

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A lazy person, whatever the talents with which he set out, will have condemned himself to second-hand thoughts and to second-rate friends.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Laziness]

 

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A writer is in danger of allowing his talent to dull who lets more than a year go past without finding himself in his rightful place of composition, the small single unluxurious ''retreat'' of the twentieth century, the hotel bedroom.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Hotels]

 

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All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Charm]

 

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As repressed sadists are supposed to become policemen or butchers so those with an irrational fear of life become publishers.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Publishing and Publishers]

 

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Civilization is an active deposit which is formed by the combustion of the present with the past. Neither in countries without a Present nor in those without a Past is it to be encountered. Proust in Venice, Matisse's birdcages overlooking the flower market at Nice, Gide on the seventeenth-century quais of Toulon, Lorca in Granada, Picasso by Saint-Germain-des-PrTs: there lies civilization and for me it can exist only under those liberal regimes in which the Present is alive and therefore capable of assimilating the Past.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Civilization]

 

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Civilization is maintained by a very few people in a small number of places and we need only some bombs and a few prisons to blot it out altogether.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Terrorism]

 

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Classical and romantic: private language of a family quarrel, a dead dispute over the distribution of emphasis between man and nature.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Style]

 

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Except for poverty, incompatibility, opposition of parents, absence of love on one side and of desire to marry on both, nothing stands in the way of our happy union.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Marriage]

 

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Greed, like the love of comfort, is a kind of fear.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Greed]

 

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Green leaves on a dead tree is our epitaph -- green leaves, dear reader, on a dead tree.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Epitaphs]

 

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I review novels to make money, because it is easier for a sluggard to write an article a fortnight than a book a year, because the writer is soothed by the opiate of action, the crank by posing as a good journalist, and having an air hole. I dislike it. I do it and I am always resolving to give it up.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Critics and Criticism]

 

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Idleness is only a coarse name for my infinite capacity for living in the present.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Idleness]

 

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Imprisoned in every fat man, a thin one is wildly signaling to be let out.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Obesity]

 

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In America every woman has her set of girl-friends; some are cousins, the rest are gained at school. These form a permanent committee who sit on each other's affairs, who ''come out'' together, marry and divorce together, and who end as those groups of bustling, heartless well-informed club-women who govern society. Against them the Couple of Ehepaar is helpless and Man in their eyes but a biological interlude.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Friends and Friendship]

 

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In the sex war, thoughtlessness is the weapon of the male, vindictiveness of the female.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Men and Women]

 

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It is a mistake to expect good work from expatriates for it is not what they do that matters but what they are not doing.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Exile]

 

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Like water, we are truest to our nature in repose.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Tranquility]

 

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Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Journalism and Journalists]

 

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Never would it occur to a child that a sheep, a pig, a cow or a chicken was good to eat, while, like Milton's Adam, he would eagerly make a meal off fruits, nuts, thyme, mint, peas and broad beans which penetrate further and stimulate not only the appetite but other vague and deep nostalgias. We are closer to the Vegetable Kingdom than we know; is it not for man alone that mint, thyme, sage, and rosemary exhale ''crush me and eat me!'' -- for us that opium poppy, coffee-berry, tea-plant and vine perfect themselves? Their aim is to be absorbed by us, even if it can only be achieved by attaching themselves to roast mutton.
~ Cyril Connolly - [Vegetarianism]

 

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