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Top 400 Graham Greene Quotes (2023 Update)
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Graham Greene Quote: “What is cowardice in the young is wisdom in the old, but all the same one can be ashamed of wisdom.”
Graham Greene Quote: “I had come into this affair with my eyes open, knowing that one day this must end, and yet, when the sense of insecurity, the logical belief in the hopeless future descended like melancholia, I would badger her and badger her, as though I wanted to bring the future in now at the door, an unwanted and premature guest.”
Graham Greene Quote: “There are men whom one has an irresistible desire to tease: men whose virtues one doesn’t share.”
Graham Greene Quote: “You were there teaching me to squander, so that one day we might have nothing left except this love of You. But You are too good to me. When I ask You for Pain, You give me peace. Give it him too. Give him my peace-he needs it more.”
Graham Greene Quote: “You have a sense of humour. I am in favor of jokes. They have political value. Jokes are a release for the cowardly and the impotent.”
Graham Greene Quote: “He was filled with horror at the thought of what a child becomes, and what the dead must feel watching the change from innocence to guilt and powerless to stop it.”
Graham Greene Quote: “When I began to write our story down, I thought I was writing a record of hate, but somehow the hate has got mislaid and all I know is that in spite of her mistakes and her unreliability, she was better than most. It’s just as well that one of us should believe in her: she never did in herself.”
Graham Greene Quote: “He had received already a larger dose of life than he had bargained for, and he was scared.”
Graham Greene Quote: “What do we ever get nowadays from reading to equal the excitement and the revelation in those first fourteen years?”
Graham Greene Quote: “Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.”
Graham Greene Quote: “She was like a landscape you see from the train, and you want to stop just there.”
Graham Greene Quote: “My second wife – I was still young then – she left me, and I made the mistake of winning her back. It took me years to lose her again after that. She was a good woman. It is not easy to lose a good woman. If one must marry it is better to marry a bad woman.”
Graham Greene Quote: “All the emotions have something in common. People are quite aware of the sorrow there always is in lust, but they are not so aware of the lust there is in sorrow.”
Graham Greene Quote: “For an artist to think in terms of success is like a priest trying to think in terms of success.”
Graham Greene Quote: “The economy of a novelist is a little like that of a careful housewife who is unwilling to throw away anything that might perhaps serve its turn.”
Graham Greene Quote: “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.”
Graham Greene Quote: “The Church is in the world, it is part of the suffering in the world, and though Christ condemned the disciple who struck off the ear of the high priest’s servant, our hearts go out in sympathy to all who are moved to violence by the suffering of others. The Church condemns violence, but it condemns indifference more harshly. Violence can be the expression of love, indifference never. One is an imperfection of charity, the other the perfection of egoism.”
Graham Greene Quote: “If I were writing a novel I would end it here: a novel, I used to think, has to end somewhere, but I’m beginning to believe my realism has been at fault all these years, for nothing in life now ever seems to end. Chemists tell you matter is never completely destroyed, and mathematicians tell you that if you halve each pace in crossing a room, you will never reach the opposite wall, so what an optimist I would be if I thought that this story ended here.”
Graham Greene Quote: “Self-expression is a hard and selfish thing. It eats everything, even the self. At the end you find you haven’t even got a self to express.”
Graham Greene Quote: “It’s strange how the human mind swings back and forth, from one extreme to another. Does truth lie at some point of the pendulum’s swing, at a point where it never rests, not in the dull perpendicular mean where it dangles in the end like a windless flag, but at an angle, nearer one extreme than another? If only a miracle could stop the pendulum at an angle of sixty degrees, one would believe the truth was there.”
Graham Greene Quote: “Switzerland is only bearable covered with snow,” Aunt Augusta said, “like some people are only bearable under a sheet.”
Graham Greene Quote: “The main characters in a novel must necessarily have some kinship to the author, they come out of his body as a child comes from the womb, then the umbilical cord is cut, and they grow into independence. The more the author knows of his own character the more he can distance himself from his invented characters and the more room they have to grow in.”
Graham Greene Quote: “The believer will fight another believer over a shade of difference; the doubter fights only with himself.”
Graham Greene Quote: “Any man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.”
Graham Greene Quote: “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.”
Graham Greene Quote: “A movie is not a book. If the source material is a book, you cannot be too respectful of the book. All you owe to the book is the spirit.”
Graham Greene Quote: “It is the same in life: sometimes it is more difficult to make a scene than to die.”
Graham Greene Quote: “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.”
Graham Greene Quote: “Doing nothing, badly.”
Graham Greene Quote: “I could have waited years, now that I knew the end of the story. I was cold and wet and very happy. I could even look with charity towards the altar and the figure dangling there. She loves us both, I thought, but if there is to be a conflict between an image and a man, I know who will win. I could put my hand on her thigh or my mouth on her breast; he was imprisoned behind the altar and couldn’t move to plead his cause.”
Graham Greene Quote: “I like to change my clothes as little as possible. I suppose some people would say the same of my ideas, the bank had taught me to be wary of whims.”
Graham Greene Quote: “Even though my reason wanted the state of death, I was afraid like a virgin of the act. I would have liked death to come with due warning, so that I could prepare myself. For what? I didn’t know, nor how, except by taking a look around at the little I would be leaving.”
Graham Greene Quote: “Man made God in his own image, so it’s natural he should love him. You know those distorting mirrors at fairs. Man’s made a beautifying mirror too in which he sees himself lovely and powerful and just and wise. It’s his idea of himself. He recognizes himself easier than in the distorting mirror which only makes him laugh, but how he loves himself in the other.”
Graham Greene Quote: “Poverty is apt to strike suddenly like influenza, it is well to have a few memories of extravagance in store for bad times.”
Graham Greene Quote: “When I began to realize how often we quarrelled, how often I picked on her with nervous irritation, I became aware that our love was doomed: love had turned into a love-affair with a beginning and an end.”
Graham Greene Quote: “All good novelists have bad memories.”
Graham Greene Quote: “You are lovely, brilliant, witty... the incredible words which would relieve her of any need to repay him or refuse his gifts; loveliness and wit were priced higher than any gift he offered, while if a girl were loved, even old women of hard experience would admit her right to take and never give.”
Graham Greene Quote: “He began to realize what the criminal class knows so well, the impossibility of explaining anything to a man with power.”
Graham Greene Quote: “I was afraid of burglars and Indian thugs and snakes and fires and Jack the Ripper, when I should have been afraid of thirty years in a bank and a take-over bid and a premature retirement and the Deuil du Roy Albert.”
Graham Greene Quote: “Innocence must die young if it isn’t to kill the souls of men.”
Graham Greene Quote: “What are others worth that they have the nerve to sneer at any human being?”
Graham Greene Quote: “One can’t always be wise, can one, in a world like this?”
Graham Greene Quote: “I’m sick with life, I’m rotten with health.”
Graham Greene Quote: “One has no talent. I have no talent. It’s just a question of working, of being willing to put in the time.”
Graham Greene Quote: “There were occasions when Shakespeare was a very bad writer indeed. You can see how often in books of quotations. People who like quotations love meaningless generalizations.”
Graham Greene Quote: “I wished I had been able to make her look that way, but it is the destiny of a lover to watch unhappiness hardening like a cast around his mistress.”
Graham Greene Quote: “The Captain turned away from the mirror and said, ‘Thank God, I’m not in danger of prison here. I’m only in danger of death.”
Graham Greene Quote: “For God’s sake stop making people in your image. Harry was real. He wasn’t just your hero and my lover. He was Harry. He was in a racket. He did bad things. What about it? He was the man we knew.”
Graham Greene Quote: “Whew,′ he said, ‘I’m glad that’s over, Thomas. I’ve been feeling awfully bad about it.’ It was only too evident that he no longer did.”
Graham Greene Quote: “She was his like a table or a chair, but a table owned you, too – by your fingerprints.”
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