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Louis de Bernières quotes (showing 1-30 of 71)

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don't blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being "in love", which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“Women only nag when they feel unappreciated.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“Did you know that childhood is the only time in our lives when insanity is not only permitted to us, but expected?”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
tags: love
“Love is a kind of dementia with very precise and oft-repeated clinical symptoms. You blush in each other's presence, you both hover in places where you expect the other to pass, you are both a little tongue-tied, you both laugh inexplicably and too long, you become quite nauseatingly girlish, and he becomes quite ridiculously gallant. You have also grown a little stupid.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
tags: love
“Love is not breathlessness; It is not excitement; It is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love”, which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“Where does it all begin? History has no beginnings, for everything that happens becomes the cause or pretext for what occurs afterwards, and this chain of cause and pretext stretches back to the Palaeolithic age, when the first Cain of one tribe murdered the first Abel of another. All war is fratricide, and there is therefore an infinite chain of blame that winds its circuitous route back and forth across the path and under the feet of every people and every nation, so that a people who are the victims of one time become the victimisers a generation later, and newly liberated nations resort immediately to the means of their former oppressors. The triple contagions of nationalism, utopianism and religious absolutism effervesce together into an acid that corrodes the moral metal of a race, and it shamelessly and even proudly performs deeds that it would deem vile if they were done by any other.”
Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings - Unabridged
“History is the propaganda of the victors.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“I know you have not thought about it. Italians always act without thinking, it's the glory and the downfall of your civilisation. A German plans a month in advance what his bowel movements will be at Easter, and the British plan everything in retrospect, so it always looks as though everything occurred as they intended. The French plan everything whilst appearing to be having a party, and the Spanish...well, God knows. Anyway, Pelagia is Greek, that's my point.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“Symmetry is only a property of dead things. Did you ever see a tree or a mountain that was symmetrical? It’s fine for buildings, but if you ever see a symmetrical human face, you will have the impression that you ought to think it beautiful, but that in fact you find it cold. The human heart likes a little disorder in its geometry, Kyria Pelagia. Look at your face in a mirror, Signorina, and you will see that one eyebrow is a little higher than the other, that the set of the lid of your left eye is such that the eye is a fraction more open that the other. It is these things that make you both attractive and beautiful, whereas…otherwise you would be a statue. Symmetry is for God, not for us.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“[She] knew that it was not precisely a body that one loved. One loved the man who shone out through the eyes and used its mouth to smile and speak.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
tags: love
“Your lips are like sugar
And your cheeks an apple
Your breasts are paradise
And your body a lily.

O, to kiss the sugar
To bite the apple
To reveal paradise
And open the lily.”
Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings
“When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No... don't blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is!”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
tags: love
“Compared to a novel, a film is like an economy pizza where there are no olives, no ham, no anchovies, no mushrooms, and all you’ve got is the dough.”
Louis de Bernières
“Remember that fear causes to happen the very things it fears. That's why fear should be unknown to us.”
Louis de Bernières
“Beauty is precious, you see, and the more beautiful something is, the more precious it is; and the more precious it is the more it hurts us that it will fade away; and the more we are hurt by beauty, the more we love the world.”
Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings
“Man is a bird without wings and a bird is a man without sorrow.”
Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings
“... so many nominal Christians throughout history, took no notice whatsoever of the key parable of Jesus Christ himself, which taught that you shall love your neighbour as you love yourself, and even those that you have despised and hated are your neighbours. This never made any difference to Christians, since the primary epiphenomena of any religion’s foundation are the production and flourishment of hypocrisy, megalomania and psychopathy, and the first casualties of a religion’s establishment are the intensions of its founders. One can imagine Jesus and Mohammed glumly comparing notes in paradise, scratching their heads and bemoaning their vain expense of effort and suffering, which resulted only in the construction of two monumental whited sepulchres. ...”
Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings - Unabridged
“The garden where you sit
Has never a need of flowers,
For you are the blossoms
And only a fool or the blind
Would fail to know it”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“...but then the general trouble with ignorance is always that the ignorant person has no idea that that's what they are. You can be ignorant and stupid and go through your whole life without ever encountering any evidence against the hypothesis that you're a genius.”
Louis de Bernières, A Partisan's Daughter
“How strange that the world should change because of words, and words change because of the world”
Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings
“Love itself is what is left over when being "in love" has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“Every Greek, man, woman, and child, has to two Greeks inside. We even have technical terms for them. They are a part of us, as inevitable as the fact that we all write poetry and the fact that every single one of us thinks that he knows everything that there is to know. We are all hospitable to strangers, we all are nostalgic for something, our mothers all treat their grown sons like babies, our sons all treat their mothers a sacred and beat their wives, we all hate solitude, we all try to find out from a stranger whether or not we are related, we all use every long word we know as often as we possibly can, we all go out for a walk in the evening so that we can look over each others' fences, we all think that we are equal to the best. Do you understand?"
The captain was perplexed, "You didn't tell me about the two Greeks inside every Greek."
"I didn't? Well, I must have wandered off the point.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“In deference to such spectacular carnage it is perhaps perverse to dwell upon one person's death, but we are creatures so constituted that the passing of one friend or one acquaintance has a profounder effect that that of 100,000 strangers. If there is any metaphorical truth in the Jewish proverb that he who saves one life saves the whole world, then there is equal metaphorical truth in the proposition that when one person dies, the whole world dies with them.”
Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings
“No man is a man until he has been a soldier.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“There comes a point in life where each one of us who survives begins to feel like a ghost that has forgotten to die at the right time, and certainly most of us were more amusing when we were young. It seems that age folds the heart in on itself. Some of us walk detached, dreaming on the past, and some of us realize that we have lost the trick of standing in the sun. For many of us the thought of the future is a cause for irritation rather than optimism, as if we have had enough of new things, and wish only for the long sleep that rounds the edges of our lives”
Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings
tags: life
“Antonio, I speak to you from beyond the grave, in seriousness. I have loved you with all my shameful heart, as much as I once loved Francisco, and I have conquered any envy that I might have felt. If a dead man may have a wish, it is that you should find your future with Pelagia. She is beautiful and sweet, there is no one who deserves you more, and no one else worthy of you. I wish that you will have children together, and I wish that once or twice you will tell them about their Uncle Carlo that they never saw. As for me, I hoist my knapsack on my shoulders and buckle the webbing, I put my arm through the sling of my rifle, and I open the veil to march into the unknown as soldiers always will. Remember me.

Carlo.”
Louis de Bernières, Corelli's Mandolin
“He gets into the habit of thinking so passionately at night that he begins to be persecuted by insomnia.”
Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings
“Fascism is fundamentally and at bottom an aesthetic conception, and . . . it is your function as creators of beautiful things to portray with the greatest efficacy the sublime beauty and inevitable reality of the Fascist ideal.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin

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