Quotations From V.S. (VICTOR SAWDON) PRITCHETT


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  • The detective novel is the art-for-art's-sake of our yawning Philistinism, the classic example of a specialized form of art removed from contact with the life it pretends to build on.
    V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author, critic. New Statesman (London, June 16, 1951). "The Roots of Detection," Books in General (1953).

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  • It is often said that in Ireland there is an excess of genius unsustained by talent; but there is talent in the tongues.
    V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author, critic. Midnight Oil, vol. 2, ch. 6 (1971).
  • Well, youth is the period of assumed personalities and disguises. It is the time of the sincerely insincere.
    V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author, critic. Midnight Oil, ch. 8 (1971).

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  • Life—how curious is that habit that makes us think it is not here, but elsewhere.
    V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author, critic. Midnight Oil, vol. 2, ch. 6 (1971). "Life is elsewhere" is a loose translation of Rimbaud's line La vraie vie est absente. Nous ne sommes pas de monde. from his poem "Délires." The words were used by Milan Kundera as the title of his novel written in 1969 and not published until 1973. In it he mentions its citation by André Breton at the conclusion of his Surrealist Manifesto, and by students in Paris, May 1968.

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  • How extraordinary it is that one feels most guilt about the sins one is unable to commit.
    V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author, critic. Midnight Oil, vol. 2, ch. 10 (1971).

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  • The principle of procrastinated rape is said to be the ruling one in all the great bestsellers.
    V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1901), British author, critic. "Clarissa," The Living Novel (1946).

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  • In our family, as far as we are concerned, we were born and what happened before that is myth.
    V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author. A Cab at the Door, vol. 1 (1968). Opening words of his autobiography.

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  • The difference between farce and humour in literature is, I suppose, that farce strums louder and louder on one string, while humour varies its note, changes its key, grows and spreads and deepens until it may indeed reach tragic depths.
    V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author, critic. "A Comic Novel," Complete Collected Essays, Random House (1991).
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