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date: 18 January 2019


  1. When I came back to Dublin, I was courtmartialled in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence.
    Brendan Behan 1923–64 Irish dramatist: Hostage (1958) act 1
  2. The heart may think it knows better: the senses know that absence blots people out. We have really no absent friends.
    Elizabeth Bowen 1899–1973 British novelist and short-story writer, born in Ireland: Death of the Heart (1938)
  3. The absent are always in the wrong.
    Philippe Néricault Destouches 1680–1754 French dramatist: L'Obstacle imprévu (1717) act 1, sc. 6
  4. ‘Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’
    ‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’
    ‘The dog did nothing in the night-time.’
    ‘That was the curious incident,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes.
    Arthur Conan Doyle 1859–1930 Scottish-born writer of detective fiction: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894) ‘Silver Blaze’
  5. Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
    There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
    He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
    At whatever time the deed took place—macavity wasn't there!
    T. S. Eliot 1888–1965 American-born British poet, critic, and dramatist: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939) ‘Macavity: the Mystery Cat’
  6. Partir c'est mourir un peu.
    To go away is to die a little.
    Edmond Haraucourt 1856–1941 French poet: ‘Rondel de l'Adieu’ (1891)
  7. Absence diminishes commonplace passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and kindles fire.
    Duc de la Rochefoucauld 1613–80 French moralist: Maximes (1678) no. 276; see Bussy-Rabutin, Francis
  8. The more he looked inside the more Piglet wasn't there.
    A. A. Milne 1882–1956 English writer for children: The House at Pooh Corner (1928) ch. 1
  9. Omissions are not accidents.
    Marianne Moore 1887–1972 American poet: Complete Poems (1967) epigraph
  10. Look for what's missing. Many advisers can tell a president how to improve what's proposed, or what's gone amiss. Few are able to see what isn't there.
    Donald Rumsfeld 1932–  American Republican politician and businessman: Rumsfeld's Rules (2001); interview in Wall Street Journal 29 January 2001
  11. Most of what matters in your life takes place in your absence.
    Salman Rushdie 1947–  Indian-born British novelist: Midnight's Children (1981) bk. 2
  12. I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia.
    Vita Sackville-West 1892–1962 English writer and gardener: letter to Virginia Woolf, 21 January 1926