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Lawrence Durrell

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It's unthinkable not to love you'd have a severe nervous breakdown. Or you'd have to be Philip Larkin.
Interview in The Observer, 1990

Lawrence Durrell

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My wife says I had a nervous breakdown during the writing of Mefisto. Maybe I did, but what's a nervous breakdown for a writer? For a writer every day is a nervous breakdown. [...] The book came out in the spring, and I remember I spent that following summer digging my garden Voltaire would have been proud. I made a wonderful garden. Grew beans, lettuces. I was healing myself from some kind of traumatic process that I don't pretend to understand. All right, let's agree with my wife and call it a nervous breakdown.

John Banville

Philip Larkin, a big, fat, bald librarian at the University of Hull, was unquestionably England's unofficial laureate: our best-loved poet since the war; better loved for our poet than John Betjeman, who was loved also for his charm, his famous beagle, his patrician Bohemianism and his televisual charisma, all of which Larkin notably lacked.
Ten years later, Larkin is now something like a pariah, or an untouchable.

Martin Amis

Thinking very hard about the same problem for several hours can produce a severe fatigue, close to a breakdown. I never really experienced a breakdown, but have felt "strange inside" two or three times during my life.

Stanislaw Ulam

In Andrew Motion's book, we have the constant sense that Larkin is somehow falling short of the cloudless emotional health enjoyed by, for instance, Andrew Motion. Also the sense, as Motion invokes his like-minded contemporaries, that Larkin is being judged by a newer, cleaner, braver, saner world. ... Motion is extremely irritated by Larkin's extreme irritability. He's always complaining that Larkin is always complaining.

Martin Amis

It's a wonderful job for people who have never had a nervous breakdown but always wanted one.

Dick Cavett
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