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A collection of quotes and thoughts by Cyril Connolly on failure, humor, criticism, writing, standards, principles, literature, youth, inspirations and rationality.

25 Inspiring Cyril Connolly Quotes That You Will Love To Know

Quick Facts

Also Listed In

Famous As
Literary Critic & Writer

Born On
10 September 1903 AD

Died On
26 November 1974 AD

Born In
Warwickshire, United Kingdom

Died At Age
71

Cyril Connolly was a renowned novelist, critic and man of letters. He graduated from the Oxford University but had a very bad academic record and had to struggle a lot to survive during his initial days. While doing some petty jobs he met the literary editor of the famous newspaper ‘New Statesman’ who inspired him to pursue a career in writing. He started off by writing reviews and was soon made a regular reviewer. This encouraged him to write novels and he wrote two novels which reflected his experiences as a traveler but he did not publish those books. He came up with his debut novel titled ‘Green Endings’ which turned out to be his only published book. Cyril further became the founder of the ‘Horizon’ which was a literary magazine and also served as a reviewer for the ‘Sunday Times’. The most notable work of his life was his autobiography titled as ‘Enemies of Promise’. This book explained the reasons for his failures to become a successful writer in a very humorous manner.  Here is a compilation of quotations and thoughts by Cyril Connolly which will give you a peek in the mind of the renowned writer. We have excerpted his quotes and sayings from his famous works. Go through the interesting quotes and sayings by Cyril Connolly.

Both my happiness and unhappiness I owe to the love of pleasure; of sex, travel, reading, conversation (hearing oneself talk), food, drink, cigars and lying in warm water.

- Cyril Connolly

A life based on reason will always require to be balanced by an occasional bout of violent and irrational emotion, for the instinctual drives must be satisfied.

- Cyril Connolly

We pay for vice by the knowledge that we are wicked; we pay for pleasure when we find out too late that we are nothing.

- The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, Cyril Connolly

The artist secretes nostalgia around life.

- The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, Cyril Connolly

While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living. Cyril Connolly (English critic and editor, 1903-1974)

- Cyril Connolly

Neither harsh reviews, the contempt of equals nor the indifference of superiors can affect those who have once tapped the great heart of suffering humanity and found out what a goldmine it is.

- Enemies of Promise, Cyril Connolly

Always be nice to those younger than you, because they are the ones who will be writing about you.

- Cyril Connolly

Streets of Paris, pray for me; beaches in the sun, pray for me; ghosts of the lemurs, intercede for me; plane-tree and laurel-rose, shade me; summer rain on quays of Toulon, wash me away.

- The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, Cyril Connolly

Is it possible to love any human being without being torn limb from limb?

- Cyril Connolly

As repressed sadists are supposed to become policemen or butchers, so those with an irrational fear of life become publishers.

- Enemies of Promise, Cyril Connolly

...there is a way of leaving and yet of not leaving; of hinting that one loves and is willing to return, yet never coming back and so preserving a relationship in a lingering decay.

- The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, Cyril Connolly

If our elaborate and dominating bodies are given to us to be denied at every turn, if our nature is always wrong and wicked, how ineffectual we are—like fishes not meant to swim.

- The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, Cyril Connolly

No education is worth having that does not teach the lesson of concentration on a task, however unattractive. These lessons, if not learnt early, will be learnt, if at all, with pain and grief in later life.

- Enemies of Promise, Cyril Connolly

Youth is a period of missed opportunities.

- Cyril Connolly

A great writer creates a world of his own and his readers are proud to live in it. A lesser writer may entice them in for a moment, but soon he will watch them filing out.

- Cyril Connolly

When I write after dark the shades of evening scatter their purple through my prose.

- Enemies of Promise, Cyril Connolly

We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament, and embrace it with passion.

- Cyril Connolly

Our memories are card-indexes consulted and then put back in disorder by authorities whom we do not control.

- The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, Cyril Connolly

There are only three things which make life worth living: to be writing a tolerably good book, to be in a dinner party of six, and to be traveling south with someone whom your conscience permits you to love.

- Cyril Connolly

There are many who dare not kill themselves for fear of what the neighbours will say.

- The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, Cyril Connolly

Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first call promising.

- Enemies of Promise, Cyril Connolly

...art is made by the alone for the alone… The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication...

- The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, Cyril Connolly

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice.

- Cyril Connolly

While thoughts exist, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.

- The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, Cyril Connolly

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." [The New Statesman, February 25, 1933]

- Cyril Connolly