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Ann Bridge

  • ... the essence of vulgarity seemed to lie in the pretence at being or the attempt to be, something that one really was not, with the resulting lack of ease and dignity and taste.

  • ... we should be careful not to let machinery swamp life. That we should be sure, when we are confronted with a fresh mechanical contrivance, that we are not losing more than we gain by adopting it.

  • ... do get over the idea that size has any value or merit. It is the enemy of most of the best things in the world — it is the enemy of the good life.

  • The heights of granite and the grassy steep / My spirit in a magic fortrees keep / Where in the silence, singing waters start ...

  • Shall I tell you what those words have really come to mean? 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Comfort.' But happiness has escaped their grasp, to judge by all the usual signs.

  • ... America ... holds up its way of life as the ideal for every nation, and seeks to impose its own standards of living — which many people think ridiculously and unwholesomely high — on others, partly of course in the search for markets. If it were openly stated that it was just a search for markets, that would be one thing, but it is not; by a tremendous propaganda campaign this materialistic conception is held up as an ideal, as somehow part of liberty, and above all, as a form of happiness.

  • ... I do disapprove of the modern attitude that you can't do the simplest thing, like dying or being born, in your own house.

  • ... Americans ... attach such a fantastic importance to their baths and plumbing and gadgets of all sorts. They talk as if people could hardly be human beings without all that; we in Europe are beginning to wonder if people can be human beings with it ...

  • The full life depends, not on the range of experience but on the intensity of the interest, the emotion involved, and on its being a personal interest.

  • ... advertising confuses values ... By appealing either to fear, or to vanity, or to covetousness, it very skillfully insinuates false values.

  • Advertising ... is a parasitic activity; it forces goods for which there is no real need or demand on a foolish or even a reluctant public, always by appealing to their lower instincts.

  • In Europe, a product must be good, or it will not sell in competition with other products; with you, it is enough to say that it is good, often enough and sufficiently loudly. The keenest competition is not in the making of things but in the advertising of them!

  • What I find most injurious to mankind in modern advertising is the constant appeal to material standards and values, the elevating of material things into an end in themselves, a virtue.

  • As soon as you start asking what education is for, what the use of it is, you're abandoning the basic assumption of any true culture, that education is worth while for its own sake.

  • ... there is that wish, in the name of democracy, to level down, because high cultural standards are despised and rejected, and even feared, in our Western Democracies. Don't let anyone else have what I've not got, or can't enjoy! — is the secret theory. A very large number of writers in the British and American popular press profess to be preaching democracy when in fact they are only trying to make envy respectable!

  • ... mountains had taken the place of religion, had satisfied her religious sense, her need for adoration and worship as no service in any Cathedral, however sublime, had been able to do ...

  • In any relationship we feel an unconscious need to create, as it were, a new picture, a new edition of ourselves to present to the fresh person who claims our interests; for them, we in a strange sense wish to, and do, start life anew.

    • Ann Bridge

Ann Bridge, English writer

(1889 - 1974)

Real name: Lady Mary Dolling Sanders O’Malley. She also wrote as G. Allenby.