The Magus Quotes

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The Magus The Magus by John Fowles
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The Magus Quotes (showing 1-30 of 155)
“The human race is unimportant. It is the self that must not be betrayed."

"I suppose one could say that Hitler didn't betray his self."

"You are right. He did not. But millions of Germans did betray their selves. That was the tragedy. Not that one man had the courage to be evil. But that millions had not the courage to be good.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“To write poetry and to commit suicide, apparently so contradictory, had really been the same, attempts at escape.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“If you forget everything else about me, please remember this. I walked down that street and I never looked back and I love you. I love you. I love you so much that I shall hate you for ever for today.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“Between skin and skin, there is only light.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“Greece is like a mirror. It makes you suffer. Then you learn.'
To live alone?'
To live. With what you are.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“You wish to be liked. I wish simply to be. One day you will know what that means, perhaps. And you will smile. Not against me. But with me.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“I acquired expensive habits and affected manners. I got a third-class degree and a first-class illusion: that I was a poet. But nothing could have been less poetic that my seeing-through-all boredom with life in general and with making a living in particular. I was too green to know that all cynicism masks a failure to cope-- an impotence, in short; and that to despise all effort is the greatest effort of all. But I did absorb a small dose of one permanently useful thing, Oxford's greatest gift to civilized life: Socratic honesty. It showed me, very intermittently, that it is not enough to revolt against one's past. One day I was outrageously bitter among some friends about the Army; back in my own rooms later it suddenly struck me that just because I said with impunity things that would have apoplexed my dead father, I was still no less under his influence. The truth was I was not a cynic by nature, only by revolt. I had got away from what I hated, but I hadn't found where I loved, and so I pretended that there was nowhere to love. Handsomely equipped to fail, I went out into the world.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“The dead live."
"How do they live?"
"By love.”
John Fowles, The Magus
tags: dead, love
“Liking other people is an illusion we have to cherish in ourselves if we are to live in society.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“He was one of the most supremely stupid men I have ever met. He taught me a great deal.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“It is not only species of animal that die out, but whole species of feeling. And if you are wise you will never pity the past for what it did not know, but pity yourself for what it did.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“If anything might hurt her, silence would; and I wanted to hurt her.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“I read and I read; and I was like a medieval king, I had fallen in love with the picture long before I saw the reality.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“The craving to risk death is our last great perversion. We come from night, we go into night. Why live in night?”
John Fowles, The Magus
tags: night
“It came to me…that I didn't want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment, that what I was feeling at that moment justified all I had been through, because all I had been through was my being there. I was experiencing…a new self-acceptance, a sense that I had to be this mind and this body, its vices and its virtues, and that I had no other chance or choice.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“Men love war because it allows them to look serious. Because they imagine it is the one thing that stops women laughing at them. In it they can reduce women to the status of objects. That is the great distinction between the sexes. Men see objects, women see relationship between objects. Whether the objects love each other, need each other, match each other. It is an extra dimension of feeling we men are without and one that makes war abhorrent to all real women - and absurd. I will tell you what war is. War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our fellow-men. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. And above all our relationship to nothingness. To death.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“Wolves don't hunt singly, but always in pairs. The lone wolf was a myth.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“There is no plan. All is hazard. And the only thing that will preserve us is ourselves.”
John Fowles, The Magus
tags: plan
“The world began in hazard and will end in it.”
John Fowles, The Magus
tags: end
“I will tell you what war is. War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our fellowmen. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. And above all our relationship to nothingness, to death.”
John Fowles, The Magus
tags: death, war
“The battle was over. Our casualties were some thirteen thousand killed--thirteen thousand minds, memories, loves, sensations, worlds, universes--because the human mind is more a universe than the universe itself--and all for a few hundred yards of useless mud.”
John Fowles, The Magus
tags: war
“The bowed head, the buried face. She is silent, she will never speak, never forgive, never reach a hand, never leave this frozen present tense. All waits, suspended. Suspended the autumn trees, the autumn sky, anonymous people. A blackbird, poor fool, sings out of season from the willows by the lake. A flight of pigeons over the houses; fragments of freedom, hazard, an anagram made flesh. And somewhere the stinging smell of burning leaves.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“cras amet qui numquam amavit quique amavit cras amet.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“There comes a time in each life like a point of fulcrum. At that time you must accept yourself. It is not any more what you will become. It is what you are and always will be. You are too young to know this. You are still becoming. Not being.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“I was too green to know that all cynicism masks a failure to cope - an impotence, in short; and that to despise all effort is the greatest effort of all.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“One of the great fallacies of our time is that the Nazis rose to power because they imposed order on chaos. Precisely the opposite is true - they were successful because they imposed chaos on order. They tore up the commandments, they denied the super-ego, what you will. They said, "You may persecute the minority, you may kill, you may torture, you may couple and breed without love." They offered humanity all its great temptations. Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“We lay on the ground and kissed. Perhaps you smile. That we only lay on the ground and kissed. You young people can lend your bodies now, play with them, give them as we could not. But remember that you have paid a price: that of a world rich in mystery and delicate emotion. It is not only species of animal that die out. But whole species of feeling. And if you are wise you will never pity the past for what it did not know. But pity yourself for what it did.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.”
John Fowles, The Magus
“I knew I would always want to go on living with myself, however hollow I became, however diseased.”
John Fowles, The Magus
tags: life

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