Literary Birthday – 20 February – Georges Bernanos

Georges Bernanos was born 20 February 1888, and died 5 July 1948.


  1. The first sign of corruption in a society is that the end justifies the means.
  2. Hell, Madame, is to love no longer.
  3. A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all.
  4. The wish to pray is a prayer in itself.
  5. The world is eaten up by boredom…. You can’t see it all at once. It is like dust. You go about and never notice, you breathe it in, you eat and drink it. It is sifted so fine, it doesn’t even grit on your teeth. But stand still for an instant and there it is, coating your face and hands. To shake off this drizzle of ashes you must be for ever on the go. And so people are always ‘on the go’.
  6. No one ever discovers the depths of his own loneliness.
  7. Justice in the hands of the powerful is merely a governing system like any other. Why call it justice? Let us rather call it injustice, but of a sly effective order, based entirely on cruel knowledge of the resistance of the weak, their capacity for pain, humiliation and misery. Injustice sustained at the exact degree of necessary tension to turn the cogs of the huge machine-for-the-making-of-rich-men, without bursting the boiler.
  8. You owe it to everyone you love to find pockets of tranquillity in your busy world.
  9. The modern state no longer has anything but rights; it does not recognise duties any more.

Georges Bernanos was a French author and a soldier in World War I. He is well know for his masterpiece, The Diary of a Country Priest, which established him as one of the most original and independent Roman Catholic writers of his time. Encyclopaedia Britannica: “As a novelist he made his theme the struggle between the forces of good and evil for the soul of man, a conflict particularly exemplified in his studies of priests. His characters, representing extremes of human behaviour from saintliness to utter depravity, are powerfully imagined and realistically drawn.”

by Amanda Patterson

Are you interested in more authors’ birthdays? Please click here: Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 20th February 2014