Anthony Burgess Quotes



Best 30 Quotes by Anthony Burgess

“I didn't think; I experimented.”

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

“Literature is the aesthetic exploitation of language.”

“A Haydn symphony had a meaning for the social group that listened to it. A Mahler symphony had a meaning for the man who composed it. Here is the difference between the classical and romantic attitudes to art.”

“A word in a dictionary is very much like a car in a mammoth motor show ? full of potential but temporarily inactive.”

“Any book has behind it all the other books that have been written.”

“Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions, when it ceases to be dangerous you don't want it.”

“Death comes along like a gas bill one can't pay.”

“Every dogma has its day.”

“I conclude that there is as much sense in nonsense as there is nonsense in sense.”

“I start at the beginning, go on to the end, then stop.”

“I wish people would think of me as a musician who writes novels, instead of a novelist who writes music on the side.”

“I've always felt that English women had to be approached in a sisterly manner, rather than an erotic manner.”

“Readers are plentiful: thinkers are rare.”

“Women thrive on novelty and are easy meat for the commerce of fashion. Men prefer old pipes and torn jackets.”

A Clockwork Orange Quotes

“A human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange.”

A Clockwork Orange

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“The essence of dramatic form is to let an idea come over people without it being plainly stated. When you say something directly, it's simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover it for themselves.”


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“A work of art is somehow organic, and to slash a painting or smash a statue is not just an offence against property: it is an offence against life.”

A Clockwork Orange

“Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses to be bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?”

A Clockwork Orange

“Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate.”

A Clockwork Orange

“Goodness comes from within. Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.”

A Clockwork Orange

“I am everyone?s friend. Except to my enemies.”

A Clockwork Orange

“The essential intention is the real sin. A man who cannot choose ceases to be a man.”

A Clockwork Orange

“When we're healthy we respond to the presence of the hateful with fear and nausea.”

A Clockwork Orange

“Writers are rarely their own best critics, nor are critics.”

A Clockwork Orange

“You were not put on this earth just to get in touch with God.”

A Clockwork Orange

Earthly Powers Quotes

“Colonialism. The enforced spread of the rule of reason. But who is going to spread it among the colonizers?”

Earthly Powers

“I expected a gift, you know, something nice and useless.”

Earthly Powers

The Wanting Seed Quotes

“We're a government that believes in everybody having the illusion of free will.”

The Wanting Seed

“When the State withers, humanity flowers.”

The Wanting Seed

“When we pray we admit defeat.”

The Wanting Seed

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“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”


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