Quotes by Graham Greene

Get quotes of the day


How do you feel today?    I feel ...

Henry Graham Greene, OM (October 2, 1904 April 3, 1991) was a prolific English novelist, playwright, short story writer and critic whose works explore the ambiguities of modern man and ambivalent moral or political issues in a contemporary setting. Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a mere "Catholic novelist", his religion informs most of his novels, and many of his best works (e.g. Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter and The Power and the Glory) are explicitly Roman Catholic in content and preoccupations.

Add to my favourites Get these quotes on a PDF
It is impossible to go through life without trust: that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.

In human relationships, kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.
If you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or is it the same faith under another mask?
However great a man's fear of life, suicide remains the courageous act, the clear-headed act of a mathematician. The suicide has judged by the laws of chance -- so many odds against one that to live will be more miserable than to die. His sense of mathematics is greater than his sense of survival. But think how a sense of survival must clamor to be heard at the last moment, what excuses it must present of a totally unscientific nature.
A petty reason perhaps why novelists more and more try to keep a distance from journalists is that novelists are trying to write the truth and journalists are trying to write fiction.
Point me out the happy man and I will point you out either egotism, selfishness, evil --or else an absolute ignorance.
There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.
Media is just a word that has come to mean bad journalism.
Morality comes with the sad wisdom of age, when the sense of curiosity has withered.
Sentimentality--that's what we call the sentiment we don't share.
Behind the complicated details of the world stand the simplicities: God is good, the grown-up man or woman knows the answer to every question, there is such a thing as truth, and justice is as measured and faultless as a clock. Our heroes are simple: they are brave, they tell the truth, they are good swordsmen and they are never in the long run really defeated. That is why no later books satisfy us like those which were read to us in childhood --for those promised a world of great simplicity of which we knew the rules, but the later books are complicated and contradictory with experience; they are formed out of our own disappointing memories.
He entered the territory of lies without a passport for return.
When we are not sure, we are alive.
He felt the loyalty we feel to unhappiness -- the sense that is where we really belong.
Against the beautiful and the clever and the successful, one can wage a pitiless war, but not against the unattractive: then the millstone weighs on the breast.
It is the story-teller's task to elicit sympathy and a measure of understanding for those who lie outside the boundaries of State approval.
People talk about the courage of condemned men walking to the place of execution: sometimes it needs as much courage to walk with any kind of bearing towards another person's habitual misery.
A murderer is regarded by the conventional world as something almost monstrous, but a murderer to himself is only an ordinary man. It is only if the murderer is a good man that he can be regarded as monstrous.
Reality in our century is not something to be faced.
His hilarity was like a scream from a crevasse.
Innocence always calls mutely for protection when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it: innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.
Failure too is a form of death...
God created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed -- that is the meaning of evolution.
Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim. It is, one is told, the unforgivable sin, but it is a sin the corrupt or evil man never practices. He always has hope. He never reaches the freezing-point of knowing absolute failure. Only the man of goodwill carries always in his heart this capacity for damnation.
We are all of us resigned to death: it's life we aren't resigned to.
Cynicism is cheap -- you can buy it at any Monoprix store -- it's built into all poor-quality goods.
I have often noticed that a bribe has that effect -- it changes a relation. The man who offers a bribe gives away a little of his own importance; the bribe once accepted, he becomes the inferior, like a man who has paid for a woman.
Communism, my friend, is more than Marxism, just as Catholicism is more than the Roman Curia. There is a mystique as well as a politick. Catholics and Communists have committed great crimes, but at least they have not stood aside, like an established society, and been indifferent. I would rather have blood on my hands than water like Pilate.
We mustn't complain too much of being comedians -- it's an honorable profession. If only we could be good ones the world might gain at least a sense of style. We have failed -- that's all. We are bad comedians, we aren't bad men.
Those who marry God can become domesticated too -- it's just as hum-drum a marriage as all the others. The word Love means a formal touch of the lips as in the ceremony of the Mass, and Ave Maria like dearest is a phrase to open a letter. This marriage like the world's marriages was held together by habits and tastes shared in common between God and themselves -- it was God's taste to be worshipped and their taste to worship, but only at stated hours like a suburban embrace on a Saturday night.
Unhappiness in a child accumulates because he sees no end to the dark tunnel. The thirteen weeks of a term might just as well be thirteen years.
If I had to choose between life in the Soviet Union and life in the U. S. A. , I would certainly choose the Soviet Union.