Anthony Burgess Quotes

Anthony Burgess Quotes

We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.

Language exists less to record the actual than to liberate the imagination.

People don't want to know. They have to be made to know. Whether they act on what they know is up to them. But they have to know.

When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.

Life's only choosing when to die. Life's a big postponement because the choice is so difficult. It's a tremendous relief not to have to choose.

Self-interest, fear of physical pain, drove him to that grotesque act of self-abasement. Its insincerity was clearly to be seen. He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice.

Oh? And what's so stinking about it?.

A perverse nature can be stimulated by anything. Any book can be used as a pornographic instrument, even a great work of literature if the mind that so uses it is off-balance. I once found a small boy masturbating in the presence of the Victorian steel-engraving in a family Bible.

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

The heresy of an age of reason,' or some such slovos [words]. 'I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.

You're a romantic,” said Crabbe. “You expect too much. Reality's always dull, you know, but when we see that it's all there is, well-it miraculously ceases to be dull.

Look, I don't see why bad artists - I mean artists who are obviously incompetent... - why they should be presented hypocritically as good artists just because they're supposed to be advancing the frontiers of freedom of expression or... ...demonstrating that there should be no limit on subject matter.

Literature is the aesthetic exploitation of language

It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil.

The common people will let it go, oh yes. They will sell liberty for a quieter life. That is why they must be prodded, prodded.

I wish people would think of me as a musician who writes novels, instead of a novelist who writes music on the side.

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.

When we pray we admit defeat.

In a story you had to find a reason, but real life gets on very well without even Freudian motivations.

There is only one kind of immorality in fiction, and that is when you write badly.

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

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