David Herbert Lawrence

David Herbert Lawrence

David Herbert Lawrence (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930) was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter. His collected works represent, among other things, an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation.

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Life is beautiful, as long as it consumes you. When it is rushing through you, destroying you, life is gorgeous, glorious. It's when you burn a slow fire and save fuel, that life's not worth having.

A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.

Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of the critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.

The refined punishments of the spiritual mode are usually much more indecent and dangerous than a good smack.

The great mass of humanity should never learn to read or write.

My great religion is a belief in the blood, the flesh, as being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds. But what our blood feels and believes and says is always true. The intellect is only a bit and a bridle.

The mind can assert anything and pretend it has proved it. My beliefs I test on my body, on my intuitional consciousness, and when I get a response there, then I accept.

I can't bear art that you can walk round and admire. A book should be either a bandit or a rebel or a man in the crowd.

Life is a travelling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken.

I hate the actor and audience business. An author should be in among the crowd kicking their shins or cheering them on to some mischief or merriment.

I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets.

Love is the flower of life and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.

Don't be on the side of the angels, it's too lowering.

We have to hate our immediate predecessors to get free of their authority.

Be still when you have nothing to say, when genuine passion moves you say what you've got to say, and say it hot.

Death is the only pure beautiful conclusion of a great passion.

Design in art is a recognition of the relation between various things, various elements in the creative flux. You can't invent a design. You recognize it in the fourth dimension. That is with your blood and your bones as well as with your eyes.

I shall be glad when you have strangled the invincible respectability that dogs your steps.

The great living experience for every man is his adventure into the woman. The man embraces in the woman all that is not himself and from that one resultant, from that embrace, comes every new action.

In every living thing there is the desire for love.

Life is ours to be spent not to be saved.

Only in a novel are all things given full play.

The true artist doesn't substitute immorality for morality. On the contrary he always substitutes a finer morality for a grosser one.

The essential function of art is moral. But a passionate implicit morality not didactic. A morality which changes the blood rather than the mind.

Creation destroys as it goes throws down one tree for the rise of another. But ideal mankind would abolish death multiply itself million upon million rear up city upon city save every parasite alive until the accumulation of mere existence is swollen to a horror.

When one jumps over the edge one is bound to land somewhere.

All vital truth contains the memory of all that for which it is not true.

Nothing that comes from the deep passional soul is bad or can be bad.

The day of the absolute is over and we're in for the strange gods once more.

I am in love - and my God it is the greatest thing that can happen to a man. I tell you find a woman you can fall in love with. Do it. Let yourself fall in love. If you have not done so already you are wasting your life.

One never can know the whys and the wherefores of one's passional changes.

God how I hate new countries: They are older than the old, more sophisticated, much more conceited, only young in a certain puerile vanity, more like senility than anything.

I cannot cure myself of that most woeful of youth's follies - thinking that those who care about us will care for the things that mean much to us.

Oh the innocent girl in her maiden teens knows perfectly well what everything means.

The Moon! Artemis! the great goddess of the splendid past of men! Are you going to tell me she is a dead lump?

How beautiful maleness is if it finds its right expression.

The American grips himself at the very sources of his consciousness in a grip of care: and then to so much of the rest of life is indifferent. Whereas the European hasn't got so much care in him so he cares much more for life and living.

Sex and beauty are inseparable like life and consciousness. And the intelligence, which goes with sex and beauty, and arises out of sex and beauty, is intuition.

The business of art is to reveal the relation between man and his environment.

It's bad taste to be wise all the time like being at a perpetual funeral.

The human consciousness is really homogeneous. There is no complete forgetting even in death.

Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.

One sheds one's sicknesses in books - repeats and presents again one's emotions to be master of them.

Sentimentalism is the working off on yourself of feelings you haven't really got.

Men and women should stay apart till their hearts grow gentle towards one another again.

It is a fine thing to establish one's own religion in one's heart not to be dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. Life will seem to you later not a lesser but a greater thing.

All that we know is nothing we are merely crammed wastepaper baskets unless we are in touch with that which laughs at all our knowing.

This is the very worst wickedness that we refuse to acknowledge the passionate evil that is in us. This makes us secret and rotten.

Literature is a toil and a snare a curse that bites deep.

Europe's the mayonnaise but America supplies the good old lobster.

I hold that the parentheses are by far the most important parts of a non-business letter.

Tragedy is like strong acid - it dissolves away all but the very gold of truth.

Ours is essentially a tragic age so we refuse to take it tragically.

Money is our madness our vast collective madness.

There is only one thing that a man really wants to do all his life, and that is to find his way to his God his Morning Star salute his fellow man and enjoy the woman who has come the long way with him.

Do not allow to slip away from you freedoms the people who came before you won with such hard knocks.

The more I see of democracy the more I dislike it. It just brings everything down to the mere vulgar level of wages and prices electric light and water closets and nothing else.

Men always do leave off really thinking when the last bit of wild animal dies in them.

Towns oftener swamp one than carry one out onto the big ocean of life.

Men! The only animal in the world to fear.

One could laugh at the world better if it didn't mix tender kindliness with its brutality.

But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.

One can no longer live with people: it is too hideous and nauseating. Owners and owned they are like the two sides of a ghastly disease.

The proper study of mankind is man in his relation to his deity.

The world of men is dreaming it has gone mad in its sleep and a snake is strangling it but it can't wake up.

So long as you don't feel life's paltry and a miserable business the rest doesn't matter happiness or unhappiness.

Having achieved and accomplished love... man... has become himself his tale is told.

The fairest thing in nature a flower still has its roots in earth and manure.

The soul is a very perfect judge of her own motions if your mind doesn't dictate to her.

Since obscenity is the truth of our passion today it is the only stuff of art - or almost the only stuff.

Loud peace propaganda makes war seem imminent.

For man as for flower and beast and bird the supreme triumph is to be most vividly most perfectly alive.

One must learn to love and go through a good deal of suffering to get to it... and the journey is always towards the other soul.

I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze.

Myth is an attempt to narrate a whole human experience of which the purpose is too deep going too deep in the blood and soul for mental explanation or description.

I believe that a man is converted when first he hears the low vast murmur of life of human life troubling his hitherto unconscious self.

The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread.

It is so much more difficult to live with one's body than with one's soul. One's body is so much more exacting: what it won't have it won't have and nothing can make bitter into sweet.

My God these folks don't know how to love - that's why they love so easily.

They say geniuses mostly have great mothers. They mostly have sad fates.

Oh literature oh the glorious Art how it preys upon the marrow in our bones. It scoops the stuffing out of us and chucks us aside. Alas!

The cruelest thing a man can do to a woman is to portray her as perfection.

God doesn't know things. He is things.

Psychoanalysis is out under a therapeutic disguise to do away entirely with the moral faculty in man.

There is no such thing as liberty. You only change one sort of domination for another. All we can do is to choose our master.

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.

My whole working philosophy is that the only stable happiness for mankind is that it shall live married in blessed union to woman-kind - intimacy physical and psychical between a man and his wife. I wish to add that my state of bliss is by no means perfect.

I shall always be a priest of love.

Men are freest when they are most unconscious of freedom. The shout is a rattling of chains always was.

The novel is the highest form of human expression so far attained. Why? Because it is so incapable of the absolute.

People always make war when they say they love peace.

Reason is a supple nymph and slippery as a fish by nature. She had as leave give her kiss to an absurdity any day as to syllogistic truth. The absurdity may turn out truer.

You don't want to love - your eternal and abnormal craving is to be loved. You aren't positive you're negative. You absorb absorb as if you must fill yourself up with love because you've got a shortage somewhere.

If a woman hasn't got a tiny streak of harlot in her she's a dry stick as a rule.

The Christian fear of the pagan outlook has damaged the whole consciousness of man.

The only history is a mere question of one's struggle inside oneself. But that is the joy of it. One need neither discover Americas nor conquer nations and yet one has as great a work as Columbus or Alexander to do.

The human being is a most curious creature. He thinks he has got one soul and he has got dozens.

I can never decide whether my dreams are the result of my thoughts or my thoughts the result of my dreams.

Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much we feel so little.

A man has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it shaping it, and one's religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification.

The war is dreadful. It is the business of the artist to follow it home to the heart of the individual fighters - not to talk in armies and nations and numbers - but to track it home.

It is quite true as some poets said that the God who created man must have had a sinister sense of humor creating him a reasonable being yet forcing him to take this ridiculous posture and driving him with blind craving for this ridiculous performance.

Consciousness is an end in itself. We torture ourselves getting somewhere and when we get there it is nowhere for there is nowhere to get to.

The only justice is to follow the sincere intuition of the soul angry or gentle. Anger is just and pity is just but judgement is never just.

California is a queer place in a way it has turned its back on the world and looks into the void Pacific. It is absolutely selfish very empty but not false and at least not full of false effort.

There's always the hyena of morality at the garden gate and the real wolf at the end of the street.

The one woman who never gives herself is your free woman who is always giving herself.

Be a good animal true to your animal instincts.

God is only a great imaginative experience.

I can't do with mountains at close quarters - they are always in the way and they are so stupid never moving and never doing anything but obtrude themselves.