KINGSLEY AMIS QUOTES

English novelist, poet & critic (1922-1995)

It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children.

KINGSLEY AMIS, One Fat Englishman

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Tags: children


Doing what you wanted to do was the only training, and the only preliminary, needed for doing more of what you wanted to do.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Lucky Jim

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Death has this much to be said for it:
You don't have to get out of bed for it.

KINGSLEY AMIS, "Delivery Guaranteed", Collected Poems

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Tags: death


It's a letdown if the comedian doesn't finally actually really sit on his hat.

KINGSLEY AMIS, The Paris Review, winter 1975

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Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Lucky Jim

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If you can't annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Lucky Jim

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His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Lucky Jim

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With the Gaelic coffee, surmounted by half an inch or so of chilled cream, he felt his survival till breakfast guaranteed.

KINGSLEY AMIS, One Fat Englishman

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The human race has not devised any way of dissolving barriers, getting to know the other chap fast, breaking the ice, that is one-tenth as handy and efficient as letting you and the other chap, or chaps, cease to be totally sober at about the same rate in agreeable surroundings.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis

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It is not extraordinary that the extraterrestrial origin of women was a recurrent theme of science fiction.

KINGSLEY AMIS, The King's English: A Guide to Modern English Usage

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Tags: women, science fiction


Outside every fat man there was an even fatter man trying to close in.

KINGSLEY AMIS, One Fat Englishman

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I don't say that the drunk man is the real man, and the sober man merely a shell. But you find out something different about people when they're drunk. Of course, you sometimes find that they're not different at all--that you merely get more of the same, perhaps said rather more loudly and incoherently, but basically the same.

KINGSLEY AMIS, interview, The Paris Review, winter 1975

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Tags: alcoholism


The rewards for being sane may not be very many, but knowing what's funny is one of them.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Stanley and the Women

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Sex is a momentary itch, love never lets you go.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Collected Poems

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Tags: sex, love


Those who professed themselves unable to believe in the reality of human progress ought to cheer themselves up, as the students under examination had conceivably been cheered up, by a short study of the Middle Ages. The hydrogen bomb, the South African Government, Chioang Kaidick, Senator McCarthy himself, would then seem a light price to pay for no longer being in the Middle Ages.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Lucky Jim

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Tags: progress


The world that seemed so various and new, well, it does contract. One's burning desire to investigate human behavior, and to make, or imply, statements about it, does fall off. And so one does find that early works are full of energy and also full of vulgarity, crudity, and incompetence, and later works are more carefully finished, and in that sense better literary products. But . . . there's often a freshness that is missing in later works--for every gain there's a loss. I think it evens out in that way.

KINGSLEY AMIS, The Paris Review, winter 1975

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Tags: writing


There was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Lucky Jim

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It's never pleasant to have one's unquestioning beliefs put in their historical context, as I know from experience, I can assure you.

KINGSLEY AMIS, The Green Man

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Tags: belief


We should be wrong to demand that a critic must stay on the point all the time; it is enough if he remains in orbit around it.

KINGSLEY AMIS, "Phoenix Too Frequent", What Became of Jane Austen?

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Tags: criticism


He was of the faith chiefly in the sense that the church he currently did not attend was Catholic.

KINGSLEY AMIS, One Fat Englishman

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