Notable Quotes
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What we call luck is the inner man externalized. We make things happen to us.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, What's Bred in the Bone

Perhaps God made cats so that man might have the pleasure of fondling the tiger.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks

The kitten has a luxurious, Bohemian, unpuritanical nature. It eats six meals a day, plays furiously with a toy mouse and a piece of rope, and suddenly falls into a deep sleep whenever the fit takes it. It never feels the necessity to do anything to justify its existence; it does not want to be a Good Citizen; it has never heard of Service. It knows that it is beautiful and delightful, and it considers that a sufficient contribution to the general good. And in return for its beauty and charm it expects fish, meat, and vegetables, a comfortable bed, a chair by the grate fire, and endless petting.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, quoted in The Wordsworth Dictionary of Quotes

We live in a world where bulk is equated with quality.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, A Voice from the Attic

Though thousands of people indulge themselves in it regularly, and even develop a taste for it, there is no doubt in my mind (and that of scientists whom I employ to prove it) that Work is a dangerous and destructive drug, and should be called by its right name, which is Fatigue.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks

I do not really like vacations. I much prefer an occasional day off when I do not feel like working. When I am confronted with a whole week in which I have nothing to do but enjoy myself I do not know where to begin. To me, enjoyment comes fleetingly and unheralded; I cannot determinedly enjoy myself for a whole week at a time.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, attributed, Quote Unquote

I wish people weren't so set on being themselves, when that means being a bastard.


We mistrust anything that too strongly challenges our ideal of mediocrity.


Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it. The ones who can't stand it go under, perhaps they die, and this again is a very cruel thing about life. But it's something that we're trying to hide from ourselves nowadays, but which is inevitable. I was just reading in this latest life of Bertrand Russell that he said something which I think many people find chilling. He said: "I never help weak people." Life doesn't help weak people either. It disposes of them.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, interview with Peter Gzowski, "Gzowski on FM", Conversations with Robertson Davies

The quality of what is said inevitably influences the way in which it is said, however inexperienced the writer.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, A Voice from the Attic


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