John Buchan

Literary Birthday – 26 August – John Buchan

John Buchan was born 26 August 1875, and died 11 February 1940.


  1. This preoccupation with the classics was the happiest thing that could have befallen me. It gave me a standard of values. To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education. … Faulty though my own practice has always been, I learned sound doctrine – the virtue of a clean, bare style, of simplicity, of a hard substance and an austere pattern.
  2. An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.
  3. I believe everything out of the common. The only thing to distrust is the normal.
  4. The book trade is a spiritual barometer of a nation’s well-being.
  5. The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.
  6. Every man at the bottom of his heart believes that he is a born detective.
  7. The best prayers have often more groans than words.
  8. But the big courage is the cold-blooded kind, the kind that never lets go even when you’re feeling empty inside, and your blood’s thin, and there’s no kind of fun or profit to be had, and the trouble’s not over in an hour or two but lasts for months and years.
  9. He disliked emotion, not because he felt lightly, but because he felt deeply.
  10. Wood, sea, and hill were the intimacies of my childhood, and they have never lost their spell for me.

John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, was a Scottish novelist, historian and politician. He is best known for writing The Thirty-Nine Steps and other adventure fiction.

Source for Image: Bassano Ltd, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 26th August 2014