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October 4, 2017

Quotations by Kingsley Amis


KINGSLEY AMIS (1922-1995), AN ENGLISH NOVELIST, POET, CRITIC, AND TEACHER.

“I thought to myself how much more welcome a faculty the imagination would be if we could tell when it was at work and when not.” ~ Kingsley Amis, The Green Man

“A man's sexual aim, he had often said to himself, is to convert a creature who is cool, dry, calm, articulate, independent, purposeful into a creature that is the opposite of these; to demonstrate to an animal which is pretending not to be an animal that it is an animal.”
~ Kingsley Amis, One Fat Englishman

“If you can't annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“Like all people who try to exhaust a subject, he exhausted his listeners.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Jake's Thing

“Doing what you wanted to do was the only training, and the only preliminary, needed for doing more of what you wanted to do.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“You'll find that marriage is a good short cut to the truth. No, not quite that. A way of doubling back to the truth. Another thing you'll find is that the years of illusion aren't those of adolescence, as the grown-ups try to tell us; they're the ones immediately after it, say the middle twenties, the false maturity if you like, when you first get thoroughly embroiled in things and lose your head. Your age, by the way, Jim. That's when you first realize that sex is important to other people besides yourself. A discovery like that can't help knocking you off balance for a time.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“Those who professed themselves unable to believe in the reality of human progress ought to cheer themselves up, as the students under examination had conceivably been cheered up, by a short study of the Middle Ages. The hydrogen bomb, the South African Government, Chioang Kaidick, Senator McCarthy himself, would then seem a light price to pay for no longer being in the Middle Ages”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“With some exceptions in science fiction and other genres I have small difficulty in avoiding anything that could be called American literature. I feel it is unnatural, not I think entirely because it uses a language that is not mine, however closely akin to my own.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage

“The rewards for being sane may not be very many, but knowing what's funny is one of them.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Stanley and the Women

“It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children.”
~ Kingsley Amis, One Fat Englishman (1963)

“How wrong people always were when they said: 'It's better to know the worst than go on not knowing either way.' No; they had it exactly the wrong way round. Tell me the truth, doctor, I'd sooner know. But only if the truth is what I want to hear.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“Never despise a drink because it is easy to make and/or uses commercial mixes. Unquestioning devotion to authenticity is, in any department of life, a mark of the naive - or worse.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking

“Wives and such are constantly filling up any refrigerator they have a claim on, even its ice-compartment, with irrelevant rubbish like food.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking

“He thought how much he liked her and had in common with her, and how much she'd like and have in common with him if she only knew him.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“When the bishop farted we were amused to hear about it. Should the ploughboy find treasure we must be told. But when the ploughboy farts... er... keep it to yourself.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Jake's Thing

“It's never pleasant to have one's unquestioning beliefs put in their historical context, as I know from experience, I can assure you.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The Green Man

“For a moment he felt like devoting the next ten years to working his way to a position as art critic on purpose to review Bertrand's work unfavorably.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“It is not extraordinary that the extraterrestrial origin of women was a recurrent theme of science fiction.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The King's English: A Guide to Modern English Usage

“Nothing short of physical handicap has ever made anybody turn over a new leaf.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The Green Man

“I thought to myself how much more welcome a faculty the imagination would be if we could tell when it was at work and when not.”
~ Kingsley Amis, The Green Man

“The human race has not devised any way of dissolving barriers, getting to know the other chap fast, breaking the ice, that is one-tenth as handy and efficient as letting you and the other chap, or chaps, cease to be totally sober at about the same rate in agreeable surroundings.”
~ Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis

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