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Sybille Bedford

  • Modern war, they argued, as it was plain for everyone to see, had become so diabolical, so destructive, so incompatible with ethics, Christian teaching, nineteenth-century thought or mere common sense as to be as unthinkable for men to use against one another as putting one another into a pot to boil and eat. They also saw, being honest men, that very few people anywhere saw anything of the kind.

  • 'Must power always be for destruction?' said Anna. 'That has so far been largely the experience.'

  • It would seem that in history it's never a tooth for a tooth, but a thousand, a hundred thousand for one.

  • ... when one's young ... everything is a rehearsal. To be repeated ad lib, to be put right when the curtain goes up in earnest. One day you know that the curtain was up all the time. That was the performance.

  • The future of human society. Had it made an irrevocably false start? The compass error that gets harder to correct with every mile you go?

  • ... public opinion, the sum of private opinions, does matter, can matter often for good.

  • All food is a gift of the gods and has something of the miraculous; the egg no less than the truffle.

    • Sybille Bedford
  • A part, a large part, of travelling is an engagement of the ego v. the world. ... The world is hydra headed, as old as the rocks and as changing as the sea, enmeshed inextricably in its ways. The ego wants to arrive at places safely and on time.

    • Sybille Bedford,
    • "The Quality of Travel," Esquire ()
  • I detest ... anything over-cooked, over-herbed, over-sauced, over elaborate. Nothing can go very far wrong at table as long as there is honest bread, butter, olive oil, a generous spirit, lively appetites, and attention to what we are eating.

    • Sybille Bedford
  • Guillermo was lonely and serviceable and always rushed in to do the things one wanted in a way one did not want them done.

  • To remain monolingual reduces the mind to the confines of a tramline.

  • In Europe, where human relations like clothes are supposed to last, one's got to be wearable. In France one has to be interesting, in Italy pleasant, in England one has to fit.

Sybille Bedford, German-born English writer

(1911 - 2006)

Full name: Sybille von Schoenbeck Bedford, O.B.E.