Quotes by Ivy Compton-Burnett

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The most original novelist now writing in English. more...

A leopard does not change his spots, or change his feeling that spots are rather a credit. more...

We can build upon foundations anywhere if they are well and firmly laid. more...

Parents have too little respect for their children, just as the children have too much for the parents. more...

It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape. more...

There are differnt kinds of wrong. The people sinned against are not always the best. more...

Real charity and real ability never to condemn-the one real virtue-is so often the result of a waking experience that gives a glimpse of what lies beneath things. more...

As regards plot I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots. And as I think a plot desirable and almost necessary, I have this extra grudge against life. more...

Pushing forty? She's hanging on for dear life. more...

There is more difference within the sexes than between them. more...

Anyone who picks up a Compton-Burnett finds it very hard not to put it down. more...

I never agree with the compliments paid to it. It is not a great healer. It is an indifferent and perfunctory one. Sometimes it does not heal at all. And sometimes when it seems to, no healing has been necessary. more...

My youth is escaping without giving me anything it owes me. more...

At a certain point my novels set. They set just as hard as that jam jar. And then I know they are finished. more...

People who have power respond simply. They have no minds but their own. more...

There isn't much to say. I haven't been at all deedy. more...

As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots. more...

Well, of course, people are only human... But it really does not seem much for them to be. more...

There is probably nothing like living together for blinding people to each other. more...

It is no good to think that other people are out to serve our interests. more...

Well, Buttermere, this is a day that is good to live and breathe in, that makes a man feel in his prime. Standing here in front of my house, I feel as young as when I moved into it thirty years ago, in the year eighteen hundred and fifty-nine. What aged man would you take me to be, as I step as it were casually into your view? more...

some people always have a touch of youth about them. more...

Most of the pleasure of making a book would go if it held nothing to be shared by other people. I would write for a few dozen people, and sometimes it seems that I do so, but I would not write for no-one. more...

charm should be on the surface. It has no hidden use. more...

There is danger in courage. Cowardice is a power for good. We hardly know what it prevents. more...

When I die, people will say it is the best thing for me. It is because they know it is the worst. They want to avoid the feeling of pity. As though they were the people most concerned! more...

Duty is seldom liked either by the doer or the object ... And why should it be? It is not often of advantage to either. more...

Magnifying a matter is not the way to mend it. more...

Dear, dear, the miniature world of the family! All the emotions of mankind seem to find a place in it. more...

It will be a beautiful family talk, mean and worried and full of sorrow and spite and excitement. more...

We do not discuss the members of our family to their faces ... more...

Never is a long word. more...

Ah, we have to be generous to be grateful ... One has oneself to be a giver. more...

We none of us talk to people as we do behind their backs. more...

People have never lost what they think they have. more...

it is in our minds that we live much of our life. more...

We are always children to our mothers. more...

I am ill at ease with people whose lives are an open book. more...

The plot is not very important to me, though a novel must have one, of course. It's just a line to hang the washing on. more...

A plot is like the bones of a person, not interesting like expression, or signs of experience, but the support of the whole. more...

You should not want to know the things in people's minds. If you were meant to hear them, they would be said. more...

I never know why self-sacrifice is noble. Why is it better to sacrifice oneself than someone else? more...

What concerns anyone so much as the time he has to live? more...

A person who can really be called an unselfish person, has no place in life. more...

Many people misjudge the permanent effect of sorrow, and their capacity to live in the past. more...

I wonder the human race has been so fond of migrations, when the young take so hardly to traveling ... more...

Truth is so impossible. Something has to be done for it. more...

Our desires have a way of getting bigger with our incomes. more...

People's weaker side is not necessarily their truer self. more...

We must use words as they are used, or stand aside from life. more...

[On writing:] What a difficult kind of work to choose! But of course one did not choose it. There was no choice. more...

To young people the future is still long. more...

It is not for us to hold ourselves above the position of grateful people. We have to be able to accept. Anything else shows an unwillingness to grant someone else the superior place. more...

If I were not a child with my parents, they would be more unloving toward me ... more...

Civilized life exacts its toll. more...

I think I feel on the whole that something's there trying to get out ... It's sort of trying to get out and wants help. more...

Real life seems to have no plots. more...

Appearances are not held to be a clue to the truth,' said his cousin. 'But we seem to have no other. more...

Time is not a great healer. It is an indifferent and perfunctory one. Sometimes it does not heal at all. And sometimes when it seems to, no healing has been necessary. more...

Well, of course, people are only human, said Dudley to his brother, as they walked to the house behind the women. But it really does not seem much for them to be. more...

Appearances are not held to be a clue to the truth, said his cousin. But we seem to have no other. more...

Time has too much credit, said Bridget. I never agree with the compliments paid to it. It is not a great healer. It is an indifferent and perfunctory one. Sometimes it does not heal at all. And sometimes when it seems to, no healing has been necessary. more...

There are different kinds of wrong. The people sinned against are not always the best. more...

Real life seems to have no plot. more...


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