Tennyson seems to be the patron saint of the wishy washies which is perhaps why I admire him so much not only as a poet but as a man.

The fact that logic cannot satisfy us awakens an almost insatiable hunger for the irrational.

Im like Jane Austen – I work on the corner of the dining table.

Since Einstein developed his theory of relativity and Rutherford and Bohr revolutionised physics our picture of the world has radically changed.

Brain power improves by brain use just as our bodily strength grows with exercise. And there is no doubt that a large proportion of the female population from school days to late middle age now have very complicated lives indeed.

If you read about Mussolini or Stalin or some of these other great monsters of history they were at it all the time that they were getting up in the morning very early. They were physically very active. They didnt eat lunch.

The United States is the ultimate land of optimistic promise but it also gave birth to quintessentially pessimistic tragedy: Moby-Dick.

IQ in general has improved since tests first began. Psychologists think that this is because modern life becomes ever more complicated.

It is eerie being all but alone in Westminster Abbey. Without the tourists there are only the dead many of them kings and queens. They speak powerfully and put my thoughts into vivid perspective.

If only Queen Elizabeth II had the intellectual political and linguistic skills of Queen Elizabeth I many people would support giving her some of the powers of an elected president.

On the rare occasions when I spend a night in Oxford the keeping of the hours by the clock towers in New College and Merton and the great booming of Tom tolling 101 times at 9 pm at Christ Church are inextricably interwoven with memories and regrets and lost joys. The sound almost sends me mad so intense are the …

It is remarkable how easily children and grown-ups adapt to living in a dictatorship organised by lunatics.

In Memoriam has been my companion for all my grownup life.

The really clever people now want to be lawyers or journalists.

If you know somebody is going to be awfully annoyed by something you write thats obviously very satisfying and if they howl with rage or cry thats honey.

I dont think you can tell the objective truth about a person. Thats why people write novels.

I should prefer to have a politician who regularly went to a massage parlour than one who promised a laptop computer for every teacher.

Nearly all monster stories depend for their success on Jack killing the Giant Beowulf or St. George slaying the Dragon Harry Potter triumphing over the basilisk. That is their inner grammar and the whole shape of the story leads towards it.

Reading about Queen Victoria has been a passion of mine since as a child I came across Laurence Housmans play Happy and Glorious with its Ernest Shepard illustrations.

Im starting to realize that people are beginning to want to know about me. Its a jolly strange idea.

Iris Murdoch did influence my early novels very much and influence is never entirely good.