L.P. Hartley L.P. Hartley > Quotes


L.P. Hartley quotes (showing 1-29 of 29)

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“It's better to write about things you feel than about things you know about.”
L.P. Hartley
“If my twelve-year-old self, of whom I had grown rather fond, thinking about him, were to reproach me: 'Why have you grown up such a dull dog, when I gave you such a good start? Why have you spent your time in dusty libraries, catologuing other people's books instead of writing your own? What had become of the Ram, the Bull and the Lion, the example I gave you to emulate? Where above all is the Virgin, with her shining face and curling tresses, whom I entrusted to you'- what should I say?

I should have an answer ready. 'Well, it was you who let me down, and I will tell you how. You flew too near to the sun, and you were scorched. This cindery creature is what you made me.'

To which he might reply: 'But you have had half a century to get over it! Half a century, half the twentieth century, that glorious epoch, that golden age that I bequeathed to you!'

'Has the twentieth century,' I should ask, 'done so much better than I have? When you leave this room, which I admit is dull and cheerless, and take the last bus to your home in the past, if you haven't missed it - ask yourself whether you found everything so radiant as you imagined it. Ask yourself whether it has fulfilled your hopes. You were vanquished, Colston, you were vanquished, and so was your century, your precious century that you hoped so much of.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“The past is another country. They do things differently there.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“You insisted on thinking of them as angels, even if they were fallen angels.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“I was aware of something stable in his nature. Ha game me a feeling of security, as if nothing I said or did would change his opinion of me. I never found his pleasantries irksome, partly, no doubt, because he was a Viscount, but, partly, too, because I respected his self-discipline. He had very little to laugh about, I thought, and yet he laughed. His gaiety had a background of the hospital and the battlefield. I felt he had some inner reserve of strength which no reverse, however serious, would break down.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“To see things as they really were--what an empoverishment!”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“To my mind's eye, my buried memories of Brandham Hall are like effects of chiaroscuro, patches of light and dark: it is only with effort that I see them in terms of colour. There are things I know, though I don't know how I know them, and things that I remember. Certain things are established in my mind as facts, but no picture attaches to them; on the other hand there are pictures unverified by any fact which recur obsessively, like the landscape of a dream.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
tags: memory
“Try now, try now, it isn't too late'
...
Excitement, like hysteria, bubbled up in me from a hundred unsealed springs. If it isn't too late, I thought confusedly, neither it is too early: I haven't much time left to spoil. It was the last flicker of instinct of self-preservation which had failed me so signally at Brandham Hall.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“No, I thought, growing more rebellious, life has its own laws and it is for me to defend myself against whatever comes along, without going snivelling to God about sin, my own or other people's. How would it profit a man if he got into a tight place, to call he people who put him there miserable sinners? Or himself a miserable sinner? I disliked the levelling aspect of this sinnerdom, it was like a cricket match played in a drizzle, where everybody had an excuse - and what a dull excuse! - for playing badly. Life was meant to test a man, bring out his courage, initiative, resource; and I longed, I thought, to be tested: I didn't want to fall on my knees and call myself a miserable sinner.
But the idea of goodness did attract me, for I did not regard it as the opposite of sin. I saw it as something bright and positive and sustaining, like the sunshine, something to be adored, but from afar.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
tags: god, good, life, sin
“I had never met a lord before, nor had I ever expected to meet one. It didn't matter what he looked like: he was a lord first, and a human being, with a face and limbs and body, long, long after.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“The conversation of the gods! - I didn't resent or feel aggrieved because I couldn't understand it. I was the smallest of the planets, and if I carried messages between them and I couldn't always understand, that was in order too: they were something in a foreign language - star-talk.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“Not Adam and Eve, after eating the apple, could have been more upset than I was.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“El pasado es un país extranjero: allí las cosas se hacen de manera distinta.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“For the first time in his life he was unable to think of himself as existing the next day. There would be a Eustace, he supposed, but it would be someone else, someone to whom things happened that he, the Eustace of to-night, knew nothing about. Already he he felt he had taken leave of the present. For a while he thought it strange that they should all talk to him about ordinary things in ordinary voices; and once when Minney referred to a new pair of sand-shoes he was to have next week he felt a shock of unreality, as though she had suggested taking a train that had long since gone.”
L.P. Hartley, Shrimp and the Anemone
“But what I heard was a low insistent murmur, with pauses for reply in which no reply was made. It had a hypnotic quality that I had never heard in any voice: a blend of urgency, cajolery, and extreme tenderness, and with below it the deep vibrato of a held-in laugh that might break out at any moment. It was the voice of someone wanting something very much and confident of getting it, but at the same time willing, no, constrained, to plead for it with all the force of his being.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“Even the most impassioned devotee of the ghost story would admit that the taste for it is slightly abnormal, a survival, perhaps, from adolescence, a disease of deficiency suffered by those whose lives and imaginations do not react satisfactorily to normal experience and require an extra thrill”
L.P. Hartley
“You flew too near the sun and you were scorched.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“The past is a foreign county,they do things differently there.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“Believing himself to be unseen by other bathers, he gave himself up to being alone with his body. He wriggled his toes, breathed hard through his nose, twisted his brown moustache where some drops of water still clung, and looked himself critically all over. The scrutiny seemed to satisfy him, as well as it might. I, whose only acquaintance was with bodies and minds developing, was suddenly confronted by maturity in its most undeniable form; and I wondered, what must it feel like to be him, master of those limbs which have passed beyond the need of gym and playing field, and exist for their own beauty and strength? What can they do, I thought, to be conscious of themselves?”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“Mr. Scott Fitzgerald deserves a good shaking. Here is an unmistakable talent unashamed of making itself a motley to the view. The Great Gatsby is an absurd story, whether considered as romance, melodrama, or plain record of New York high life.”
L.P. Hartley
“All through luncheon fragments of my conversation with Lord Trimingham kept coming back to me. Two things stood out: one was that whatever happened it was never a lady's fault, and the other, that is might be necessary to kill someone although you didn't really dislike him. These were new ideas to me and their magnamity appealed to me very much."

Leo”
L.P. Hartley
“Grown-ups didn't seem to realize that for me, as for most other schoolboys, it was easier to keep silent than to speak. I was a natural oyster.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“...for the first time I couldn't feel really interested in my mother's letter. The small concerns of home, instead of coming close to me and enveloping me as I read about them, remained small and far away; they were like magic lantern slides without a lantern to bring them back to life. I didn't belong there, I felt; my place was here; here I was a planet, albeit a small one, and carried messages for other planets. And my mother's harping on the heat seemed irrelevant and almost irritating; she ought to know, I felt, that I was enjoying it, that I was invulnerable to it, invulnerable to everything...”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“Why do you like Hugh better? Because he is a Viscount?'
'Well, that's one reason,' I admitted, without any false shame. Respect for degree was in my blood and I didn't think of it as snobbery.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“..the past kept pricking at me and I knew that all the elements of those nineteen days in July were astir within me, like phlegm in an attack of bronchitis, waiting to come up. I had kep them buried all these years, but they were there, I knew, the more complete, the more unforgotten, for being carefully embalmed. Never, never had they seen the light of day; the slightest stirring had been stifled with a scattering of earth.

My secret- the explanation of me- lay there. I take myself much too seriously, of course. What does it matter to anyone what I was like, then or now? But every man is important to himself at one time or another; my problem had been to reduce the importance, and spread it out as thinly as I could over half a century. Thanks to my interment policy I had come to terms with life, I had made a working -working was the word - arrangement with it, on the one condition that there should be no exhumation. Was it true, what I sometimes told myself, that my best energies had been given to the undertaker's art? If it was, what did it matter? Should have I acquitted myself better, with the knowledge I had now? I doubted it; knowledge may be power, but it is not resilience, or resourcefulness, or adaptability to life, still less is it instinctive sympathy with human nature; and those where qualities I possessed in 1900 in far greater measure that I possess them in 1952.
Prologue, page 16”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“I should not have cared to see it as an act of self-sacrifice even if it had been one; for there is nothing clever in self-sacrifice, nothing to pride oneself on.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“His mother's face expressed a prayer for patience.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
“But I was not so much interested in facts themselves as in the importance they had for my imagination. I was passionately interested in railways, and in the relative speed of the fastest express trains; but I did not understand the principle of the steam engine and had no wish to learn.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between


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