True education flowers at the point when delight falls in love with responsibility.— Philip Pullman
The most belligerent Philip Pullman quotes to get the best of your day
I thought physics could be done to the glory of God, till I saw there wasn’t any God at all and that physics was more interesting anyway. The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that’s all.
You cannot change what you are, only what you do.
The idea hovered and shimmered delicately, like a soap bubble, and she dared not even look at it directly in case it burst. But she was familiar with the way of ideas, and she let it shimmer, looking away, thinking about something else.
We don't need lists of rights and wrongs, tables of do's and don'ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.
That's the duty of the old, to be anxious on behalf of the young.
And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old.
One curious thing about growing up is that you don't only move forward in time;
you move backwards as well, as pieces of your parents' and grandparents' lives come to you.
After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
'Thou shalt not' is soon forgotten, but 'Once upon a time' lasts forever.
I stopped believing there was a power of good and a power of evil that were outside us. And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are.
I'm for open-mindedness and tolerance.
I'm against any form of fanaticism, fundamentalism or zealotry, and this certainty of 'We have the truth.' The truth is far too large and complex. Nobody has the truth.
The best way to get kids to read a book is to say: 'This book is not appropriate for your age, and it has all sorts of horrible things in it like sex and death and some really big and complicated ideas, and you're better off not touching it until you're all grown up. I'm going to put it on this shelf and leave the room for a while. Don't open it.
I had passed through the entire British education system studying literature, culminating in three years of reading English at Oxford, and they'd never told me about something as basic as the importance of point of view in fiction!
Read like a butterfly, write like a bee.
Marisa! Marisa!” The cry was torn from Lord Asriel, and with the snow leopard beside her, with a roaring in her ears, Lyra’s mother stood and found her footing and leapt with all her heart, to hurl herself against the angel and her daemon and her dying lover, and seize those beating wings, and bear them all down together into the abyss.
Being in love was like China: you knew it was there, and no doubt it was very interesting, and some people went there, but I never would.
Because the great thing about fairy tales and folk tales is that there is no authentic text. It's not like the text of Paradise Lost or James Joyce's Ulysses, and you have to adhere to that exact text.
For a long time I thought I was a poet, but that's a high title to claim.
Argue with anything else, but don't argue with your own nature.
Men pass in front of our eyes like butterflies, creatures of a brief season.
We love them; they are brave, proud, beautiful, and clever.
All stories teach, whether the storyteller intends them to or not.
They teach the world we create. They teach the morality we live by. They teach it much more effectively than moral precepts and instructions.
Once upon a time' lasts forever.
I write almost always in the third person, and I don't think the narrator is male or female anyway. They're both, and young and old, and wise and silly, and sceptical and credulous, and innocent and experienced, all at once. Narrators are not even human - they're sprites.
because he's Will
A lot of modernism does seem to come out of a fear of being thought an ordinary storyteller. So they tell it backwards and they tell it in the present tense and they cut loose the pages and shuffle them around - all that kind of stuff.
But think of Adam and Eve like an imaginary number, like the square root of minus one: you can never see any concrete proof that it exists, but if you include it in your equations, you can calculate all manner of things that couldn't be imagined without it.
The fairy tale is in a perpetual state of becoming and alteration.
To keep to one version or one translation alone is to put robin redbreast in a cage.
No one has the right to live without being shocked.
Everything has a meaning, if only we could read it.
We have to build the Republic of Heaven where we are, because for us there is no elsewhere.
For a human being, nothing comes naturally,' said Grumman. 'We have to learn everything we do.
I have maintained a passionate interest in education, which leads me occasionally to make foolish and ill-considered remarks alleging that not everything is well in our schools. My main concern is that an over-emphasis on testing and league tables has led to a lack of time and freedom for a true, imaginative and humane engagement with literature.
And then what?" said her daemon sleepily. "Build what?" "The Republic of Heaven," said Lyra.
She was riding a bear! And the Aurora was swaying above them in golden arcs and loops, and all around was the bitter Arctic cold and the immense silence of the North.
I told him I was going to betray you, and betray Lyra, and he believed me because I was corrupt and full of wickedness; he looked so deep I felt sure he'd see the truth. But I lied too well. I was lying with every nerve and fiber and everything I'd ever done...I wanted him to find no good in me, and he didn't. There is none.
Maybe sometimes we don't do the right thing because the wrong thing looks more dangerous, and we don't want to look scared, so we go and do the wrong thing just because it's dangerous. We're more concerned with not looking scared than with judging right.
Looking at them now, thought Jim, you'd never believe they weren't in love with each other, and not with a hopeless, doomed obsession like poor Isabel Meredith. This was what love ought to be like: playful and passionate and teasing, and dangerous, too, with sharp intelligence in it.
If a coin comes down heads, that means that the possibility of its coming down tails has collapsed. Until that moment the two possibilities were equal. But on another world, it does come down tails. And when that happens, the two worlds split apart.
This is the value for me of writing books that children read.
Children aren't interested in your appalling self-consciousness. They want to know what happens next. They force you to tell a story.
Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.
If you want to write anything that works, you have to go with the grain of your talent, not against it. If your talent is inert and sullen in the face of business or politics...but takes fire at the thought of ghosts and vampires and witches and demons then feed the flames, feed the flames.
As Jane Austen might have put it: It is a truth universally acknowledged that young protagonists in search of adventure must ditch their parents.
What I do say is that I can write verse, and that the writing of verse in strict form is the best possible training for writing good prose.
Teachers often make the mistake of thinking they're the boss of the class;
they're not. The boss of the class is sitting down there somewhere.
Being a practiced liar doesn't mean you have a powerful imagination.
Many good liars have no imagination at all; it's that which gives their lies such wide-eyed conviction.
We shouldn't live as if [other worlds] mattered more than this life in this world, because where we are is always the most important place.
I know whom we must fight...it is the Church. For all its history, it's tried to suppress and control every natural impulse.That is what the Church does, and every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.
There's a hunger for stories in all of us, adults too.
We need stories so much that we're even willing to read bad books to get them, if the good books won't supply them.
A murderer was a worthy companion.
It takes long practice, yes. You have to work. Did you think you could snap your fingers, and have it as a gift? What is worth having is worth working for.