John Mortimer Quotes

Who the Heck is John Mortimer?

Sir John Clifford Mortimer was an English barrister, dramatist and author.

Born April 21, 1923
Died January 16, 2009

Best 32 Quotes by John Mortimer

“A war against terrorism is an impracticable conception if it means fighting terrorism with terrorism.”

John Mortimer

“Do we want blanks, asterisks and exclamation marks which people can fill in with their own imaginations, or are we prepared and strong enough to tolerate, even if we do not approve, the strong Anglo-Saxon, realistic and vivid language?”

John Mortimer

“Farce is tragedy played at a thousand revolutions per minute.”

John Mortimer

“Hell must be a place where you are only allowed to read what you agree with.”

John Mortimer

“I don't believe in children's books. I think after you've read Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and Huckleberry Finn, you're ready for anything.”

John Mortimer

“I don't think you ever feel a success really because everything could always be done better than you've done it.”

John Mortimer

“I found criminal clients easy and matrimonial clients hard. Matrimonial clients hate each other so much and use their children to hurt each other in beastly ways. Murderers have usually killed the one person in the world that was bugging them and they're usually quite peaceful and agreeable.”

John Mortimer

“I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth foregoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward.”

John Mortimer

“I’d been told of all the things you're meant to feel when your father dies. Sudden freedom, growing up, the end of dependence, the step into the sunlight when no one is taller than you and you're in no one's shadow. I know what I felt. Lonely.”

John Mortimer

“Marriage is like pleading guilty to an indefinite sentence. Without parole.”

John Mortimer

“Never believe a rumour until you hear it officially denied.”

John Mortimer

“No power on earth, however, can abolish the merciless class distinction between those who are physically desirable and the lonely, pallid, spotted, silent, unfancied majority.”

John Mortimer

“People will go to endless trouble to divorce one person and then marry someone who is exactly the same, except probably a bit poorer and a bit nastier. I don't think anybody learns anything.”

John Mortimer

“The freedom to make a fortune on the stock exchange has been made to sound more alluring than freedom of speech.”

John Mortimer

“The greatest horrors of our world are committed by people who are totally sincere.”

John Mortimer

“The main aim of education should be to send children out into the world with a reasonably sized anthology in their heads so that, while seated on the lavatory, waiting in doctors' surgeries, on stationary trains or watching interviews with politicians, they may have something interesting to think about.”

John Mortimer

“The only rule I have found to have any validity in writing is not to bore yourself.”

John Mortimer

“The secret of good health and happiness is to have rather small illnesses throughout your life which you can rely on to stop you doing anything you don't want to do.”

John Mortimer

“The shelf life of the modern hardback writer is somewhere between the milk and the yoghurt.”

John Mortimer

“The worst fault of the working classes is telling their children they're not going to succeed, saying: There is life, but it's not for you.”

John Mortimer

“There's more of yourself in a book than a play. that's why we know all about Dickens and not much about Shakespeare. Ben Jonson murdered people; Marlowe was a spy; Shakespeare just sat in the corner and took notes.”

John Mortimer

“To escape jury duty in England, wear a bowler hat and carry a copy of the Daily telegraph.”

John Mortimer

“We don't know much about the human conscience, except that it is soluble in alcohol.”

John Mortimer

“We may not be the creme de la creme, but we are the creme de la scum.”

John Mortimer

"Clinging to the Wreckage" Quotes

“I suppose that writers should, in a way, feel flattered by the censorship laws. They show a primitive fear and dread at the fearful magic of print.”

John Mortimer
Clinging to the Wreckage

“There is always time for failure.”

John Mortimer
Clinging to the Wreckage

"Murderers and Other Friends" Quotes

“Like childhood, old age is irresponsible, reckless, and foolhardy. Children and old people have everything to gain and nothing much to lose. It's middle-age which is cursed by the desperate need to cling to some finger-hold halfway up the mountain, to conform, not to cause trouble, to behave well.”

John Mortimer
Murderers and Other Friends

"On the three pigs he and his wife own" Quotes

“We acquired the pigs last year. My wife was born on a pig farm and has always been very fond of pigs. Of course, they are for eating, which is why they are named Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. You wouldn’t want to eat Rufus, Marcus and Esmeralda.”

John Mortimer
On the three pigs he and his wife own

"Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders" Quotes

“Check-ups are, in my experience, a grave mistake; all they do is allow the quack of your choice to tell you that you have some sort of complaint that you were far happier not knowing about.”

John Mortimer
Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders

"Rumpole à la Carte" Quotes

“I sent out words like soldiers to battle and they never returned.”

John Mortimer
Rumpole à la Carte

"The Anti Social Behaviour Of Horace Rumpole" Quotes

“If I don't like the way the times are moving, I shall refuse to accompany them.”

John Mortimer
The Anti Social Behaviour Of Horace Rumpole

"The Summer of a Mormouse" Quotes

“Dying is a matter of slapstick and pratfalls. The ageing process is not gradual or gentle. It rushes up, pushes you over and runs off laughing. No one should grow old who isn't ready to appear ridiculous.”

John Mortimer
The Summer of a Mormouse