Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of John Robert Fowles quotes about human life, love, poetry, passion, marriage, women, men, war and much more.

100 Quotes By John Fowles, The Author Of The Magus

Famous As: Writer & Teacher
Born On: March 31, 1926
Died On: November 5, 2005
Born In: Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England
Died At Age: 79

John Robert Fowles was an English novelist of international stature. Having lived a conventional family life as an oppressively conformist in early 1930s, Fowles wanted to escape from the English suburb culture. During World War II, he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Marines for 2 years. He desperately wanted to participate in the war, but it ended before he could go into combat.  After completing his education from the Oxford University, he taught English at the University of Poiters. Thereafter, he transferred to Anorgyrios College at Spetsai in Greece. He was inspired to write 'The Magus' that described the experimental philosophy and hippie anarchism of the 1960s. It instantly turned into a bestseller. This was followed by impressive fiction and non-fiction works including 'The Ebony Tower', 'A Maggot', 'Mantissa' and 'Daniel Martin'. As an author, he was influenced by Camus and Sartre and was critically positioned between postmodernism and modernism era. In 1966, he imagined a beautiful woman dressed in black Victorian attire, standing on the dock and staring out at the sea. He became obsessed with the idea that led him to write 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' (1969). The Times included Fowles on the list of '50 greatest British authors' since 1945. Fowles was a man of wisdom, which is evident through his quotes that have come up through his characters and his own life. We have curated some of his best quotes from his writings, books, essays and speeches. A selection of John Robert Fowles quotes about human life, love, poetry, passion, marriage, women, men, war and much more.

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I love making, I love doing. I love being to the full, I love everything which is not sitting and watching and copying and dead at heart.

John Fowles

To write poetry and to commit suicide, apparently so contradictory, had really been the same, attempts at escape.

John Fowles

I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing.

John Fowles

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

We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.

John Fowles

We all want things we can't have. Being a decent human being is accepting that.

John Fowles

I am infinitely strange to myself.

John Fowles

When you draw something it lives and when you photograph it it dies

John Fowles

Forgetting’s not something you do, it happens to you. Only it didn’t happen to me.

John Fowles

The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.

John Fowles

Between skin and skin, there is only light.

John Fowles

Greece is like a mirror. It makes you suffer. Then you learn.' To live alone?' To live. With what you are.

John Fowles

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

There is only one good definition of God: the freedom that allows other freedoms to exist.

John Fowles

It is only when our characters and events begin to disobey us that they begin to live.

John Fowles

The dead live." "How do they live?" "By love.

John Fowles

Liking other people is an illusion we have to cherish in ourselves if we are to live in society.

John Fowles

He was one of the most supremely stupid men I have ever met. He taught me a great deal.

John Fowles

I just think of things as beautiful or not. Can't you understand? I don't think of good or bad. Just of beautiful or ugly. I think a lot of nice things are ugly and a lot of nasty things are beautiful.

John Fowles

The ordinary man is the curse of civilization.

John Fowles

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

If anything might hurt her, silence would; and I wanted to hurt her.

John Fowles

Alive. Alive in the way that death is alive.

John Fowles

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 craving to risk death is our last great perversion. We come from night, we go into night. Why live in night?

John Fowles

They're beautiful. But sad.' Everything's sad if you make it so, I said.

John Fowles

You must make, always. You must act, if you believe something. Talking about acting is like boasting about pictures you're going to paint. The most terrible bad form.

John Fowles

Wolves don't hunt singly, but always in pairs. The lone wolf was a myth.

John Fowles

Just those three words, said and meant. I love you. They were quite hopeless. He said it as he might have said, I have cancer. His fairy story.

John Fowles

Art's cruel. You can get away with murder with words. But a picture is like a window straight through to your inmost heart.

John Fowles

There are some men who are consoled by the idea that there are women less attractive than their wives; and others who are haunted by the knowledge that there are more attractive.

John Fowles

We are all in flight from the real reality. That is the basic definition of Homo Sapiens.

John Fowles

The world began in hazard and will end in it.

John Fowles

There is no plan. All is hazard. And the only thing that will preserve us is ourselves.

John Fowles

There are many reasons why novelists write but they all have one thing in common a need to create an alternative world.

John Fowles

They looked down on her; and she looked up through them.

John Fowles

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 moon hung over the planet Earth, a dead thing over a dying thing.

John Fowles

You put up with your voice and speak with it because you haven't any choice. But it's what you say that counts.

John Fowles

I mean I never feel I feel what I ought to feel.

John Fowles

In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.

John Fowles

I must fight with my weapons. Not his. Not selfishness and brutality and shame and resentment.

John Fowles

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

His statement to himself should have been 'I possess this now,therefore I am happy' , instead of what it so Victorianly was: 'I cannot possess this forever, therefore I am sad.

John Fowles

You're not me. You can't feel like I feel." "I can feel." "No you can't. You just choose not to feel or something and everything's fine." "It's not fine. It's just not so bad.

John Fowles

I knew I would always want to go on living with myself, however hollow I became, however diseased.

John Fowles

It is me. I am his madness. For years he's been looking for something to put his madness into. And he found me.

John Fowles

The best wines take the longest to mature.

John Fowles

The profoundest distances are never geographical.

John Fowles

Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.

John Fowles

...all cynicism masks a failure to cope.

John Fowles

People who teach you cram old ideas, old views, old ways, into you. Like covering plants with layer after layer of old earth; it's no wonder the poor things so rarely come up fresh and green.

John Fowles

That's the trouble with provincial life. Everyone knows everyone and there is no mystery. No romance.

John Fowles

If a person is intelligent, then of course he is either an agnostic or an atheist. Just as he is a physical coward. They are automatic definitions of high intelligence.

John Fowles

The power of women! I've never felt so full of mysterious power. Men are a joke.

John Fowles

Duty is but a pot. It holds whatever is put in it, from the greatest evil to the greatest good.

John Fowles

I'm only happy when I forget to exist. When just my eyes or my ears or my skin exist.

John Fowles

Ask me to marry you." "Will you marry me?" "No.

John Fowles

Think. In a minute from now you could be saying, I risked death. I threw for life, and I won life. It is a very wonderful feeling. To have survived.

John Fowles

He knew the world and its absurdities as only an intelligent Irishman can; which is to say that where his knowledge or memory failed him, his imagination was always ready to fill the gap.

John Fowles

We can sometimes recognize the looks of a century ago on a modern face; but never those of a century to come.

John Fowles

Piers is always going on about how he hated Stowe. As if that solves everything, as if to hate something means it can't have affected you.

John Fowles

But forgetting's not something you do, it happens to you.

John Fowles

...there are times when silence is a poem.

John Fowles

We talked for hours. He talked and I listened. It was like wind and sunlight. It blew all the cobwebs away.

John Fowles

Wealth is a monster. It takes a month to learn to control it financially. And many years to learn to control it psychologically.

John Fowles

You know what you do? You know how rain takes the colour out of everything? That's what you do to the English language. You blur it every time you open your mouth.

John Fowles

The evolution of human mentality has put us all in vitro now, behind the glass wall of our own ingenuity.

John Fowles

It was too exactly as imagined to be true. But I felt as gladly and expectantly disorientated, as happily and alertly alone, as Alice in Wonderland.

John Fowles

The pronoun is one of the most terrifying masks man has invented.

John Fowles

He is the same, but everything is different.

John Fowles

You will see that Charles set his sights high. Intelligent idlers always have, in order to justify their idleness to their intelligence.

John Fowles

But however good you get at translating personality into line or paint it's no go if your personality isn't worth translating.

John Fowles

Stop thinking about class, she'd say. Like a rich man telling a poor man to stop thinking about money.

John Fowles

I do not plan my fiction any more than I normally plan woodland walks; I follow the path that seems most promising at any given point, not some itinerary decided before entry.

John Fowles

Oh,clever... what's the use of that? Are they human beings?

John Fowles

He said, one has to learn that painting well - in the academic and technical sense - comes right at the bottom of the list. I mean, you've got that ability. So have thousands.

John Fowles

Thus it had come about that she had read far more fiction, and far more poetry, those two sanctuaries of the lonely, than most of her kind.

John Fowles

Why should I struggle through hundreds of pages of fabrication to reach half a dozen very little truths?' 'For fun?' 'Fun!' He pounced on the word. 'Words are for truth. For facts. Not fiction.

John Fowles

Which are you drinking? The water or the wave?

John Fowles

Poetry had always seemed something I could turn to in need - an emergency exit, a lifebuoy, as well as a justification.

John Fowles

He said, it's rather like your voice. You put up with your voice and speak with it because you haven't any choice. But it's what you say that counts. It's what distinguishes all great art from the other kind.

John Fowles

Death is not in the nature of things; it is the nature of things. But what dies is the form. The matter is immortal.

John Fowles

He had the charm of all people who believe implicitly in themselves, that of integration.

John Fowles

Utram bibis? Aquam an undam? What are you drinking? The water or the wave?

John Fowles

No doubt our accepting what we are must always inhibit our being what we ought to be.

John Fowles

I needed a new mystery.

John Fowles

You wish to be liked. I wish simply to be.

John Fowles

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.

John Fowles

The silence was terrible then, as tense as a bridge about to break, a tower to fall; unedurable in its emotion, its truth bursting to be spoken.

John Fowles

A thousand violins cloy very rapidly without percussion.

John Fowles

A look I shall never forget, because it was almost one of hatred, and hatred in her face was like spite in the Virgen Mary's; it reversed the entire order of nature.

John Fowles

And I envy you. You have the one thing that matters. You have all your discoveries before you.

John Fowles

Between skin and skin there is only light. And there was my poetry.

John Fowles

For him the tragedy of Homo sapiens is that the least fit to survive breed the most.

John Fowles

You may wonder how I had not seen it before. I believe I had. But to see something is not the same as to acknowledge it.

John Fowles

How I hate ignorance! Caliban’s ignorance, my ignorance, the world’s ignorance! Oh, I could learn and learn and learn and learn. I could cry, I want to learn so much.

John Fowles