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Robertson Davies Quotes

William Robertson Davies, was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor
(1913 - 1995)

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A happy childhood has spoiled many a promising life.

A Librettist is a mere drudge in the world of opera.

A man must be obedient to the promptings of his innermost heart.

A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.

As a general thing, people marry most happily with their own kind. The trouble lies in the fact that people usually marry at an age when they do not really know what their own kind is.

Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.

Canada is not really a place where you are encouraged to have large spiritual adventures.

Canada was settled, in the main, by people with a lower middle-class outlook, and a respect, rather than an affectionate familiarity, for the things of the mind.

Do not suppose, however, that I intend to urge a diet of classics on anybody. I have seen such diets at work. I have known people who have actually read all, or almost all, the guaranteed Hundred Best Books. God save us from reading nothing but the best.

Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion.

Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it.

Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt.

Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them.

I do not 'get' ideas; ideas get me.

I never heard of anyone who was really literate or who ever really loved books who wanted to suppress any of them.

I see Canada as a country torn between a very northern, rather extraordinary, mystical spirit which it fears and its desire to present itself to the world as a Scotch banker.

If a man wants to be of the greatest possible value to his fellow-creatures, let him begin the long, solitary task of perfecting himself.

If we seek the pleasures of love, passion should be occasional, and common sense continual.

Literary critics, however, frequently suffer from a curious belief that every author longs to extend the boundaries of literary art, wants to explore new dimensions of the human spirit, and if he doesn't, he should be ashamed of himself.

May I make a suggestion, hoping it is not an impertinence? Write it down: write down what you feel. It is sometimes a wonderful help in misery.

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