Julian Barnes Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Julian Barnes Quotes

#1. One feeling at least grows stronger in me with each year that passes - a longing to see the cranes. At this time of year I stand on a hill and watch the sky. Today they did not come. There were only wild geese. Geese would be beautiful if cranes did not exist. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#2. Memory is identity ... You are what you have done; what you have done is in your memory; what you remember defines who you are; when you forget your life you cease to be, even before your death. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#3. Global warming is more of a blessing than a curse. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#4. A question from the floor: are there tribes whose lexicon lacks the words 'I love you'? Or have they all died out. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#5. Young, middle-aged, elderly, old, dead: this was how life conjugated. (No, life was a noun, so this is how life declined. Yes, that was better in any case, life declined. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#6. The few psychiatrists I respect always talk about people being mad. Use the short, simple, true words... "Mad" has the right sound to it. It's an ordinary word, a word which tells us how lunacy might come and call like a delivery van. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#7. The best fiction rarely provides answers; but it does formulate the questions exceptionally well. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#8. Religion decays, the icon remains; a narrative is forgotten, yet its representation still magnetizes. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#9. You can deal with the brain, as I say; it looks sensible, whereas the heart, the human heart, I'm afraid, looks a fucking mess. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#10. History isn't the lies of the victors, as I once glibly assured Old Joe Hunt; I know that now. It's more the memories of the survivors, most of whom are neither victorious or defeated. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#11. After a long analysis of Robson's suicide, we concluded that it could only be considered philosophical in an arithmetical sense of the term: he, being about to cause an increase of one in the human population, had decided it was his ethical duty to keep the planet's numbers constant. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#12. Wear flannel next to your skin, and never believe in eternal punishment. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#13. I was deeply misled by Lady Chatterley's Lover, which seemed to insist that running naked through damp undergrowth with wild flowers entwined in your pubic hair was just about the closest thing to heaven. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#14. Honour is not just a matter of internal good feeling, but also of external behaviour. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#15. It seemed to me that we ought occasionally to be reminded of instability beneath our feet. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#16. Poetry's packaged as a late-night slot, a quote minority taste unquote, like water-skiing or goat-fucking or something. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#17. Whisky, I find, helps clarity of thought. And reduces pain. It has the additional virtue of making you drunk or, if taken in sufficient quantity, very drunk. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#18. Sleep democratizes fear. The terror of a lost shoe or a missed train are as great here as those of guerrilla attack or nuclear war. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#19. The writer must be universal in sympathy and an outcast by nature: only then can he see clearly. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#20. She'd been imagining for the last fifteen or more years that if you disappeared, if you abandoned a wife and child, you did so for a better life: more happiness, more sex, more money, more of whatever was missing from your previous life. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#21. How come I can't make her happy, how come she can't make me happy? Simple: the atomic reaction you expect isn't taking place, the beam with which you are bombarding the particles is on the wrong wavelength. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#22. Loving humanity means as much, and as little, as loving raindrops, or loving the Milky Way. You say that you love humanity? Are you sure you aren't treating yourself to easy self-congratulation, seeking approval, making certain you're on the right side? - Author: Julian Barnes
Julian Barnes Quotes #970872
#23. The past is something we can neither hold on to nor move entirely beyond. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#24. I reread this letter several times. I could scarcely deny its authorship or its ugliness. All I could plead was that I had been its author then, but was not its author now. Indeed, I didn't recognise that part of myself from which the letter came. But perhaps this was simply further self-deception. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#25. What you end up remembering isn't always the same as what you have witnessed. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#26. And you can never prepare for this new reality in which you have been dunked. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#27. Naturalness onstage is just as much an artifice as naturalism in the novel - Author: Julian Barnes
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#28. Margaret used to say that there were two kinds of women: those with clear edges to them, and those who implied mystery. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#29. You must not be angry with me. You must think of me as an incomplete person. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#30. It is important to understand that in the modern world we prefer the replica to the original because it gives us the greater frisson. I leave that word in French because I think you understand it well that way. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#31. You lose the world for a glance? Of course you do. That is what the world is for: to lose under the right circunstances. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#32. What makes us want to know the worst? Is it that we tire of preferring to know the best? Does curiosity always hurdle self-interest? Or is it, more simply, that wanting to know the worst is love's favorite perversion. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#33. ( ... ) juries should ask not "Is he guilty?" but rather "Is he dangerous? - Author: Julian Barnes
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#34. In 1980, I published my first novel, in the usual swirl of unjustified hope and justified anxiety. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#35. The more you learn, the less you fear. "Learn" not in the sense of academic study, but in the practical understanding of life. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#36. Life seemed even more of a guessing game than usual. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#37. Perhaps love is essential because it's unnecessary. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#38. Do we tend to recall the most important parts of a novel or those that speak most directly to us, the truest lines or the flashiest ones? - Author: Julian Barnes
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#39. I'm a complete democrat in terms of who buys my books. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#40. It is a bizarre thought that in this [U.S. 2008] presidential cycle we could have had a woman in the White House we might have a black man in the White House but if either of them had said they were atheists neither of them would have had a hope in hell. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#41. History is not just the lies of the victors; it is also the self-delusions of the defeated. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#42. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? - Author: Julian Barnes
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#43. All bad things are exaggerated in the middle of the night. When you lie awake, you only think of bad things. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#44. At best you have one of those debilitating conditions which come in many forms, and which some people decline to admit actually exist. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#45. How weird it would be to have around you only as many books as you have time to read in the rest of your life. And I remain deeply attached to the physical book and the physical bookshop. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#46. Martha was a clever girl, and therefore not a believer. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#47. Games are for childhood, and sometimes I think I lost my childhood young. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#48. Real literature was about psychological, emotional, and social truth as demonstrated by the actions and reflections of its protagonists; the novel was about character developed over time. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#49. Every day is Sunday" - that wouldn't make a bad epitaph, would it? - Author: Julian Barnes
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#50. Isn't there something between stagnation and heading somewhere?" "Like?" "Like having a nice time. Enjoy the day and all that? - Author: Julian Barnes
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#51. People in love, it is well known, suffer extreme conceptual delusions, the most common of these being that other people find your condition as thrilling and eye-watering as you do yourselves. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#52. For all a lifetime's internal struggling, you were finally no more than what others saw you as. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#53. Love may not lead where we think or hope, but regardless of outcome it should be a call to seriousness and truth. If it is not that - if it is not moral in its effect - then love is no more than an exaggerated form of pleasure. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#54. Paris is certainly one of the most boastful of cities, and you could argue that it has had a lot to boast about: at various times the European centre of power, of civilisation, of the arts, and (self-advertisingly, at least) of love. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#55. At times, I suspect that the concept of maturity is maintained by a conspiracy of niceness. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#56. Historians need to treat a participant's own explanation of events with a certain scepticism. It is often the statement made with an eye to the future that is the most suspect. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#57. Remorse, etymologically, is the action of biting again: that's what the feeling does to you. Imagine the strength of the bite when I reread my words. They seemed like some ancient curse I had forgotten even uttering. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#58. If you turned your back on irony, it curdled into sarcasm. And what good was it then? Sarcasm was irony which had lost its soul. Beneath - Author: Julian Barnes
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#59. For the point is this: not that myth refers us back to some original event which has been fancifully transcribed as it passed through collective memory; but that it refers us forward to something that will happen, that must happen. Myth will become reality, however sceptical we might be. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#60. If the writer were more like a reader, he'd be a reader, not a writer. It's as uncomplicated as that. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#61. Cooking is the transformation of uncertainty (the recipe) into certainty (the dish) via fuss. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#62. Novels tell us the most truth about life: what it is, how we live it, what it might be for, how we enjoy and value it, and how we lose it. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#63. You like this stuff?' she asked neutrally. 'Good to dance to,' I replied, a little defensively. 'Do you dance to it? Here? In your room? By yourself?' 'No, not really.' Though of course I did. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#64. Love is just a system for getting someone to call you Darling after sex. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#65. I'm not surprised some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people's lives, never your own. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#66. A pier is a disappointed bridge. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#67. Art is the whisper of history, heard above the noise of time. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#68. Start with the notion that yours is the sole responsibility unless there's powerful evidence to the contrary - Author: Julian Barnes
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#69. Those little age differentials, so crucial and so gross when we are young, erode. We end up belonging to the same category, that of the non-young. I've never much minded this myself. [p. 66] - Author: Julian Barnes
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#70. The notion of redefining the deity into something that works for you is grotesque. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#71. Life always refused simplicity. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#72. Khrennikov had an average ear for music, but perfect pitch when it came to power. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#73. Blame someone else, that's always your first instinct. And if you can't blame someone else, then start claiming the problem isn't a problem anyway. Rewrite the rules, shift the goalposts. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#74. I want a more difficult life, that's all. What I really want is a first-rate life. I may not get it, but the only chance I have lies in getting out of a second-rate life. I may fail completely, but I do want to try. It's to do with me, not you; so don't worry. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#75. The complications of life do not end at the altar; some might say that this is where they begin. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#76. Gradually, he didn't doubt, the world would calm down into a gigantic welfare state devoted to sporting, cultural and sexual exchange, with the accepted international currency being items of hifi equipment. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#77. But then, no one told the whole truth about sex. And in that respect, nothing has changed. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#78. The next day, all that stopped him from feeling pure exultance was the question: had it been too easy? - Author: Julian Barnes
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#79. Why does the writing make us chase the writer? Why can't we leave well enough alone? Why aren't the books enough? - Author: Julian Barnes
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#80. To own a certain book - and to choose it without help - is to define yourself. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#81. I am death-fearing. I don't think I'm morbid. That seems to me a fear of death that goes beyond the rational. Whereas it seems to me to be entirely rational to fear death! - Author: Julian Barnes
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#82. The way, the truth and the life. You go on your way through life telling the truth. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#83. At a social event she and I would normally have attended together, an acquaintance came up and said to me, simply, "There's someone missing." That felt correct, in both senses. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#84. I had a friend who trained as a lawyer, then became disenchanted and never practiced. He told me that the one benefit of those wasted years was that he no longer feared either the law or lawyers. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#85. She knew me better than anyone else in the world. And still wanted to have lunch with me. And let me go on and on about myself. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#86. Perhaps I just feel safer with the history that's been more or less agreed upon. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#87. Poets don't run out of material the way novelists do because they don't depend on material in the same way. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#88. The best life for a writer is the life which helps him write the best books he can. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#89. But if you're very clever, I think there's something that can unhinge you if you're not careful. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#90. He gave the impression that he believed in things. We did too - it was just that we wanted to believe in our own things, rather than what had been decided for us. Hence what we thought of as our cleansing scepticism. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#91. Nature is so exact, it hurts exactly as much as it is worth, so in a way one relishes the pain, I think. If it didn't matter, it wouldn't matter. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#92. We live in time, it bounds us and defines us, and time is supposed to measure history, isn't it? But if we can't understand time, can't grasp its mysteries of pace and progress, what chance do we have with history
even our own small, personal, largely undocumented piece of it? - Author: Julian Barnes
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#93. It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#94. There is the question of loneliness. But again, this is not how you imagined it (if you had ever tried to imagine it). There are two essential kinds of loneliness: that of not having found someone to love, and that of having been deprived of the one you did love. The first kind is worse. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#95. I'd ban coincidences, if I were a dictator of fiction. Well, perhaps not entirely. Coincidences would be permitted in the picaresque; that's where they belong. Go on, take them: let - Author: Julian Barnes
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#96. She was right off that scale, stranger; hurricane force nine was a gentle breeze where she came from. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#97. I am a worm in comparison with His Excellency. I am a worm.' 'Yes, that's just it, you are a worm indeed. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#98. In life, every ending is just the start of another story. - Author: Julian Barnes
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#99. If these are indeed the spirits of Englishmen and Englishwomen who have passed over into the next world, surely they would know how to form a proper queue? - Author: Julian Barnes
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#100. Isn't the most reliable form of pleasure, Flaubert implies, the pleasure of anticipation? Who needs to burst into fulfilment's desolate attic? - Author: Julian Barnes
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