Quotations by Davies, Robertson


The result of a single action may spread like the circles that expand when a stone is thrown into a pond, until they touch places and people unguessed at by the person who threw the stone.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
“Literature and Moral Purpose” (1990)
Added on 18-May-15 | Last updated 18-May-15
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Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
“Mehitabel,” Toronto Daily Star (21 Nov 1959)

Reprinted in The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies (1990).
Added on 27-Apr-21 | Last updated 27-Apr-21
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A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity, and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
“Too Much, Too Fast” Peterborough Examiner (Canada) (16 Jun 1962)
Added on 2-Jun-16 | Last updated 2-Jun-16
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Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
Samuel Marchbanks’ Almanack (1967)
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Added on 24-Oct-17 | Last updated 24-Oct-17
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The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
Tempest-tost (1951)

Commonly misattributed to Henri-Louis Bergson.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 22-Sep-11
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Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so. But there are others who will lie and scheme and steal to get books as wildly and unconscionably as the dope-taker in pursuit of his drug. They may not want the books to read immediately, or at all; they want them to possess, to range on their shelves, to have at command. They want books as a Turk is thought to want concubines — not to be hastily deflowered, but to be kept at their master’s call, and enjoyed more often in thought than in reality.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
Tempest-Tost, ch. 6 (1951)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Jun-16
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Perhaps God made cats so that man might have the pleasure of fondling the tiger ….

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, ch. 20 (1947)
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Added on 18-May-21 | Last updated 18-May-21
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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 (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, ch. 20 (1947)
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Added on 25-May-21 | Last updated 25-May-21
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An author is like a horse pulling a coal-cart down an icy hill; he ought to stop, but when he reflects that it would probably kill him to try, he goes right on, neighing and rolling his eyes.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies (1990)
Added on 30-Oct-19 | Last updated 30-Oct-19
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Imagination is a good horse to carry you over the ground

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
The Manticore (1972)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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To be a book collector is to combine the worst characteristics of a dope-fiend with those of a miser.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks (1985)
Added on 21-Jul-16 | Last updated 21-Jul-16
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If you attack Stupidity, you attack an entrenched interest with friends in government and every walk of public life, and you will make small progress against it.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks (1949)
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Added on 8-Sep-17 | Last updated 8-Sep-17
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