Behind the big names of twentieth-century literature there stands a shadow cabinet of writers waiting to take over once the Wind of Change has blown. My own vote goes to Hugh Kingsmill as leader of this opposition.
Michael Holroyd, in The Best of Hugh Kingsmill (1973) p. 7.
What, still alive at twenty-two,A clean upstanding chap like you?Hugh Kingsmill
Like enough, you won't be glad,When they come to hang you, lad:But bacon's not the only thingThat's cured by hanging from a string.Hugh Kingsmill
'Tis Summer Time on Bredon,And now the farmers swear:The cattle rise and listenIn valleys far and near,And blush at what they hear.But when the mists in autumnOn Bredon top are thick,And happy hymns of farmersGo up from fold and rick,The cattle then are sick.Hugh Kingsmill
Society is based on the assumption that everyone is alike and that no one is alive.Hugh Kingsmill
Most of the avoidable suffering in life springs from our attempts to escape the unavoidable suffering inherent in the fragmentary nature of our present existence. We expect immortal satisfactions from mortal conditions, and lasting and perfect happiness in the midst of universal change. To encourage this expectation, to persuade mankind that the ideal is realizable in this world, after a few preliminary changes in external conditions, is the distinguishing mark of all charlatans, whether in thought or action.Hugh Kingsmill
There are dons who care for the intellect and the imagination, and there are priests who care for the spirit; but broadly speaking the function of universities and churches alike is to trim and tame enthusiasm, to suppress curiosity, and, in short, to whittle immortal souls into serviceable props of the established order.Hugh Kingsmill
Charity may cover a multitude of sins, but success transmutes them into virtues.Hugh Kingsmill
The public mind [is] a cloudy region where only the simplest shapes are discerned with any accuracy.Hugh Kingsmill
Hamlet is every man's self-love with all its dreams realized. He wears all the crowns and carries every cross.Hugh Kingsmill
Hamlet is egotism as it appears to itself, and Don Quixote is egotism as it appears to the detached observer.Hugh Kingsmill
Ideas get substance and value not by being discussed but by being lived.Hugh Kingsmill
The reward of renunciation is some good greater than the thing renounced. To renounce with no vision of such a good, from fear or in automatic obedience to a formula, is to weaken the springs of life, and to diminish the soul's resistance to this world.Hugh Kingsmill
Writers are idolized not because they love their fellow men, which is never a recommendation and in extreme instances leads to crucifixion, but because their self-love is in tune with current fears and desires, and in giving it expression they are speaking for an inarticulate multitude.Hugh Kingsmill