Robertson Davies Quotes

Enjoy the top 338 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Robertson Davies.

Robertson Davies Quotes

Aristocrats need not be rich, but they must be free, and in the modern world freedom grows rarer the more we prate about it.
— Robertson Davies —

She herself was a victim of that lust for books which rages in the breast like a demon, and which cannot be stilled save by the frequent and plentiful acquisition of books. This passion is more common, and more powerful, than most people suppose. Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so. But there are others who will lie and scheme and steal to get books as wildly and unconscionably as the dope-taker in pursuit of his drug. They may not want the books to read immediately, or at all; they want them to possess, to range on their shelves, to have at command.

— Robertson Davies

Their very conservatism is secondhand, and they don't know what they are conserving.

— Robertson Davies

The drama may be called that part of theatrical art which lends itself most readily to intellectual discussion: what is left is theater.

— Robertson Davies

Tristan and Isolde were lucky to die when they did. They'd have been sick of all that rubbish in a year.

— Robertson Davies

Just about all men need a woman in one way or another, unless they're very strange indeed. Tormenting you refreshes him. And you shouldn't underestimate the gratitude all men feel for women's beauty. Men who truly don't like flowers are very uncommon and men who don't respond to a beautiful woman are even more uncommon. It's not primarily sexual; it's a lifting of the spirits beauty gives. He'll be in to torment you, and tease you, and enrage you, but really to have a good, refreshing look at you.

— Robertson Davies

God, youth is a terrible time! So much feeling and so little notion of how to handle it!

— Robertson Davies

The clerisy are those who read for pleasure, but not for idleness; who read for pastime but not to kill time; who love books, but do not live by books.

— Robertson Davies

Conversations and jokes together, mutual rendering of good services, the reading together of sweetly phrased books, the sharing of nonsense and mutual attentions.

— Robertson Davies

Padre Blazon was almost shouting by this time, and I had to hush him. People in the restaurant were staring, and one or two of the ladies of devout appearance were heaving their bosoms indignantly. He swept the room with the wild eyes of a conspirator in a melodrama and dropped his voice to a hiss. Fragments of food, ejected from his mouth by this jet, flew about the table. [p.201]

— Robertson Davies

There is really no such thing as a secret; everybody likes to tell, and everybody does tell.

— Robertson Davies

There comes a time when one must be strong with rationalists, for they can reduce anything whatever to dust, if they happen not to like the look of it, or if it threatens their deep-buried negativism. I mean of course rationalists like you, who take some little provincial world of their own as the whole of the universe and the seat of all knowledge.

— Robertson Davies

They were anxious to make men of us, by which they meant making us like themselves.

— Robertson Davies

When I had to leave she kissed me on both cheeks - a thing she had never done before - and said, 'There's just one thing to remember; whatever happens, it does no good to be afraid.' So I promised not to be afraid, and may even have been a fool enough to think I could keep my promise.

— Robertson Davies

Education for immediate effective consumption is more popular than ever, and nobody wants to think of the long term, or the intellectual tone of the nation.

— Robertson Davies

It is odd how all men develop the notion, as they grow older, that their mothers were wonderful cooks. I have yet to meet a man who will admit that his mother was a kitchen assassin and nearly poisoned him.

— Robertson Davies

Women tell men things that men are not very likely to find out for themselves.

— Robertson Davies

The attributes of God have been carefully explored. But the Devil's attributes have been left vague. I think I've found one of them. It is he who puts the prices on things." "Doesn't God put a price on things?" "No. One of his attributes is magnanimity. But the Devil is a setter of prices, and a usurer, as well. You buy from him at an agreed price, but the payments are all on time, and the interest is charged on the whole of the principal, right up to the last payment, however much of the principal you think you have paid off in the meantime.

— Robertson Davies

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