Margaret Drabble

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Margaret Drabble (2011)

Dame Margaret Drabble DBE (born 5 June 1939) is an English novelist, biographer and literary critic.


  • How unjust life is, to make physical charm so immediately apparent or absent, when one can get away with vices untold for ever.
  • Sometimes it seems the only accomplishment my education ever bestowed on me, the ability to think in quotations.
  • Perhaps the rare and simple pleasure of being seen for what one is compensates for the misery of being it.
  • Lord knows what incommunicable small terrors infants go through, unknown to all. We disregard them, we say they forget, because they have not the words to make us remember.
  • The human mind can bear plenty of reality but not too much unintermittent gloom.
  • The middle years, caught between children and parents, free of neither: the past stretches back too densely, it is too thickly populated, the future has not yet thinned out.
  • Men and women can never be close. They can hardly speak to one another in the same language. But are compelled, forever, to try, and therefore even in defeat there is no peace.
  • Family life itself, that safest, most traditional, most approved of female choices, is not a sanctuary: It is, perpetually, a dangerous place.
    • "The Limits of Mother Love", in The New York Times Book Review, March 31, 1985
  • England's not a bad country. It's just a mean, cold, ugly, divided, tired, clapped-out, post-imperial, post-industrial slag-heap covered in polystyrene hamburger cartons.
  • I confidently predict the collapse of capitalism and the beginning of history. Something will go wrong in the machinery that converts money into money, the banking system will collapse totally, and we will be left having to barter to stay alive. Those who can dig in their garden will have a better chance than the rest. I'll be all right; I've got a few veg.
  • As children, she and Shirley had hated Christmas, for it had marked them out for the lepers that they were: outcasts, treeless, without kin, without comfort, without presents, without past. She preferred the densely populated world she had created, with all its problems.
  • ‘In my business,’ she said, ‘I don’t think one has to retire. One gets wiser and wiser all the time. Until one dies. Dies into full knowledge.’

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