Talent is a long patience, and originality an effort of will and intense observation.
At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.
We must not touch our idols; the gilt sticks to our fingers.
One must always hope when one is desperate, and doubt when one hopes.
The more humanity advances, the more it is degraded.
Bouvard and Pécuchet put forward their abominable paradoxes on other occasions. They cast doubt on the honesty of men, the chastity of women, the intelligence of the government, the good sense of the people, in a word undermined the basic principles.
Remembering the ball became for Emma a daily occupation. Every time Wednesday came round, she told herself when she woke up: 'Ah! One week ago...two weeks ago...three weeks ago, I was there!' And, little by little, in her memory, the faces all blurred together; she forgot the tunes of the quadrilles; no longer could she so clearly picture the liveries and the rooms; some details disappeared, but the yearning remained.
Everything measurable passes, everything that can be counted has an end. Only three things are infinite: the sky in its stars, the sea in its drops of water, and the heart in its tears.
By trying to understand everything, everything makes me dream.
Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.
Everything depends on the value we give to things. We are the ones who make morality and virtue. The cannibal who eats his neighbor is as innocent as the child who sucks his barley-sugar.
A friend who dies, it's something of you who dies.
Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.
One never tires of what is well written, style is life! It is the very blood of thought!
The more you approach infinity, the deeper you penetrate terror.
Everyone, either from modesty or egotism, hides away the best and most delicate of his soul's possessions; to gain the esteem of others, we must only ever show our ugliest sides; this is how we keep ourselves on the common level.
Motionless we traverse countries we fancy we see, and your thought, blending with the fiction, playing with the details, follows the outline of the adventures. It mingles with the characters, and it seems as if it were yourself palpitating beneath their costumes.
In March 1853 she was afflicted with a pain in the chest; her tongue seemed to be covered with a film; leeches failed to make her breathing any easier.
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
The sight of so many ruins destroys any desire to build shanties; all this ancient dust makes one indifferent to fame.
One's duty is to feel what is great, cherish the beautiful, and not accept all the conventions of society with the ignominy that it imposes upon us.
There are some men whose only mission among others is to act as intermediaries; one crosses them like bridges and keeps going.
And she felt as though she had been there, on that bench, for an eternity. For an infinity of passion can be contained in one minute, like a crowd in a small space.
On the hill there was a poor old tramp wandering about with his stick, in among the carriages. A mass of rags covered his shoulders, and a squashed beaver-hat, bent down into the shape of a bowl, concealed his face; but, when he took it off, he exposed, instead of eyelids, two yawning bloodstained holes. The flesh was tattered into scarlet strips; and fluid was trickling out, congealing into green crusts that reached down to his nose, with black nostrils that kept sniffing convulsively.
One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels.
In my view, the novelist has no right to express his opinions on the things of this world. In creating, he must imitate God: do his job and then shut up.
I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
I am alone on this road strewn with bones and bordered by ruins! Angels have their brothers, and demons have their infernal companions. Yet I have but the sound of my scythe when it harvests, my whistling arrows, my galloping horse. Always the sound of the same wave eating away at the world.
Speech is a rolling-mill that always thins out the sentiment.
You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, and the importance of a work of art by the harm that is spoken of it.
One must laugh and weep, love, work, enjoy and suffer, in short vibrate as much as possible in all his being.
Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in.
Talent is long patience.
Sick, irritated, and the prey to a thousand discomforts, I go on with my labor like a true workingman, who, with sleeves rolled up, in the sweat of his brow, beats away at his anvil, not caring whether it rains or blows, hails or thunders.
His eagerness had turned into a routine; he embraced her at the same time every day. It was a habit like any other, a favourite pudding after the monotony of dinner.
Exuberance is better than taste.
Adultery ... could be as banal as marriage.
One need not possess joys in order to taste their bitterness! Even to view them from afar off begets loathing of them. Thou must be fatigued by the monotony of the same actions, the length of the days, the hideousness of the world, the stupidity of the sun?
I laugh at everything, even at that which I love the most. There is no fact, thing, feeling or person over which I have not blithely run my clownishness, like an iron roller imparting sheen to cloth.
To be stupid and selfish and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, the others are useless.
Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.
Not a lawyer but carries within him the debris of a poet.
And the country is like a great unfolded mantle with a green velvet cape bordered with a fringe of silver.
By working one can bend fortune. She is fond of crafty men.
Poetry is a subject as precise as geometry.
Thy chastity is but a more subtle form of corruption, and thy contempt of this world is but the impotence of thy hatred against it.
The better a work is, the more it attracts criticism; it is like the fleas who rush to jump on white linens.
I was resting in the shadow of that ideal happiness as in the shade of the poisonous manchineel tree, without foreseeing the consequences.
What a heavy oar the pen is, and what a strong current ideas are to row in!
I have no use for the kind of God who goes walking in his garden with a stick, sends his friends to live in the bellies of whales, gives up the ghost with a groan and then comes back to life three days later!
The deplorable mania of doubt exhausts me. I doubt about everything, even my doubts.
Whatever the thing you wish to say, there is but one word to express it, but one verb to give it movement, but one adjective to qualify it; you must seek until you find this noun, this verb, this adjective.
And the more he was irritated by her basic personality, the more he was drawn to her by a harsh, bestial sensuality, illusions of a moment, which ended in hate.
"Has it ever happened to you," Léon went on, "to come across some vague idea of one's own in a book, some dim image that comes to you from afar, and as the completest expression of your own slightest sentiment?"
My life which I dream will be so beautiful, so poetic, so vast, so filled with love will turn out to be like everybody else's -- monotonous, sensible, stupid.
What an elder sees sitting; the young can't see standing.
"Doesn't it seem to you," asked Madame Bovary, "that the mind moves more freely in the presence of that boundless expanse, that the sight of it elevates the soul and gives rise to thoughts of the infinite and the ideal?"
Having no intercourse with anyone, she lived in the torpid state of a sleep-walker.
Stupidity consists in wanting to reach conclusions. We are a thread, and we want to know the whole cloth.
Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings, -- a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionises it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss.
Charles went to kiss her shoulder.
-Leave me alone! she said, you're creasing my dress.
What an awful thing life is, isn't it? It's like soup with lots of hairs floating on the surface. You have to eat it nevertheless.
Contact with the world, with which I have been steadily rubbing shoulders now for fourteen months, makes me feel more and more like returning to my shell. I hate the crowd, the herd. It seems to me always atrociously stupid or vile.
The great natures which are good, are above everything generous and don't begrudge the giving of themselves.
Leon was weary of loving without any result; moreover he was beginning to feel that depression caused by the repetition of the same kind of life, when no interest inspires and no hope sustains it. He was so bored with Yonville and its inhabitants, that the sight of certain persons, of certain houses, irritated him beyond endurance; and the chemist, good fellow though he was, was becoming absolutely unbearable to him. Yet the prospect of a new condition of life frightened as much as it seduced him.
The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletariat to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeoisie.
The true poet for me is a priest. As soon as he dons the cassock, he must leave his family.
But how nothingness invades us! We are scarcely born ere decay begins for us, in such a way that the whole of life is but one long combat with it, more and more triumphant, on its part, to the consummation, namely, death; and then the reign of decay is exclusive.
You must write for yourself, above all. That is your only hope of creating something beautiful.
We must laugh and cry, enjoy and suffer, in a word, vibrate to our full capacity … I think that's what being really human means.
The idea of bringing someone into the world fills me with horror. I would curse myself if I were a father. A son of mine! Oh no, no, no! May my entire flesh perish and may I transmit to no one the aggravations and the disgrace of existence.
After a person dies, there is always something like a feeling of stupefaction, so difficult is it to comprehend this unexpected advent of nothingness and to resign oneself to believing it.
One's existence should be in two parts: one should live like a bourgeois and think like a demigod.
The faster the word sticks to the thought, the more beautiful is the effect.
Mediocrity cherishes rules; as for me, I hate them; I feel for them and for every restriction, corporation, caste, hierarchy, level, herd, a loathing which fills my soul, and it is in this respect perhaps that I understand martyrdom.
As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use.
The only way to avoid being unhappy is to close yourself up in Art and to count for nothing all the rest.
Style is as much under the words as in the words. It is as much the soul as it is the flesh of a work.
The public wants work which flatters its illusions.
Axiom: Hatred of the bourgeois is the beginning of wisdom.
I have the handicap of being born with a special language to which I alone have the key.
Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry.
And so I will take back up my poor life, so plain and so tranquil, where phrases are adventures and the only flowers I gather aremetaphors.
I detest my fellow-beings and do not feel that I am their fellow at all.
But vilifying those we love always alienates us from them to a certain extent. Idols should not be touched: the gilding comes off on the hands.
Then they wondered if there were men in the stars. Why not? And as creation is harmonious, the inhabitants of Sirius ought to be huge, those of Mars middle-sized, those of Venus very small. Unless it is the same everywhere. There are businessmen, police up there; people trade, fight, dethrone their kings.
Some shooting stars suddenly slid past, describing a course in the sky like the parabola of a monstrous rocket. ‘My Word,' said Bouvard, ‘look at those worlds disappearing.' Pecuchet replied: ‘If our world in its turn danced about, the citizens of the stars would be no more impressed than we are now. Ideas like that are rather humbling.' ‘What is the point of it all?' ‘Perhaps there isn't a point.' ‘Yet…' and Pecuchet repeated the word two or three times, without finding anything more to say.
We swung between madness and suicide ... it was beautiful!
Be orderly and disciplined in daily life, like a good bourgeois, so that I might be wild and violent in my art.
Farming, a vocation accursed of heaven, since one never saw a millionaire involved in it.
On certain occasions art can shake very ordinary spirits, and whole worlds can be revealed by its clumsiest interpreters.
Writing is a dog's life, but the only life worth living.
There was an air of indifference about them, a calm produced by the gratification of every passion; and through their manners were suave, one could sense beneath them that special brutality which comes from the habit of breaking down half-hearted resistances that keep one fit and tickle one's vanity--the handling of blooded horses, the pursuit of loose women.
I like prostitution. My heart has never failed to pound at the sight of one of those provocatively dressed women walking in the rain under the gaslamps, just as the sight of monks in their robes and girdles touches some ascetic, hidden corner of my soul.
Deep down, all the while, she was waiting for something to happen. Like a sailor in distress, she kept casting desperate glances over the solitary waster of her life, seeking some white sail in the distant mists of the horizon. She had no idea by what wind it would reach her, toward what shore it would bear her, or what kind of craft it would be -- tiny boat or towering vessel, laden with heartbreaks or filled to the gunwhales with rapture. But every morning when she awoke she hoped that today would be the day; she listened for every sound, gave sudden starts, was surprised when nothing happened; and then, sadder with each succeeding sunset, she longed for tomorrow.
The author, in his work, must be like God in the Universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.
What is the beautiful, if not the impossible.
I am an obscure and patient pearl-fisherman who dives into the deepest waters and comes up with empty hands and a blue face. Some fatal attraction draws me down into the abysses of thought, down into those innermost recesses which never cease to fascinate the strong. I shall spend my life gazing at the ocean of art, where others voyage or fight; and from time to time I'll entertain myself by diving for those green and yellow shells that nobody will want. So I shall keep them for myself and cover the walls of my hut with them.
One arrives at style only with atrocious effort, with fanatical and devoted stubbornness.
What I would like to write is a book about nothing, a book without exterior attachments, which would be held together by the innerforce of its style, as the earth without support is held in the air -- a book that would have almost no subject or at least in which the subject would be almost invisible.
How wonderful to find in living creatures the same substance as those which make up minerals. Nevertheless they felt a sort of humiliation at the idea that their persons contained phosphorous like matches, albumen like white of egg, hydrogen gas like street lamps.
The artist must manage to make posterity believe that he never existed.
Emma still had a joyless look, and, habitually, at the corners of her mouth, she had that tightness that crumples the faces of old maids and bankrupts.
The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
Of all the icy blasts that blow on love, a request for money is the most chilling.
As humanity perfects itself, man becomes degraded. When everything is reduced to the mere counter-balancing of economic interests, what room will there be for virtue? When Nature has been so subjugated that she has lost all her original forms, where will that leave the plastic arts? And so on. In the mean time, things are going to get very murky.
The denigration of those we love always detaches us from them in some degree. Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers.
I love my work with a frenetic and perverse love, as an ascetic loves the hair shirt which scratches his belly.
In spite of her giddy airs (the phrase used by the bourgeois wives of Yonville), Emma still had a joyless look, and, habitually, at the corners of her mouth, she had that tightness that crumples the faces of old maids and bankrupts.
Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.
Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.
Love, to her, was something hat comes suddenly, like a blinding flash of lightening -- a heaven-sent storm hurled into life, uprooting it, sweeping every will before it like a leaf, engulfing all feelings.
From time to time, I open a newspaper. Things seem to be proceeding at a dizzying rate. We are dancing not on the edge of a volcano, but on the wooden seat of a latrine, and it seems to me more than a touch rotten. Soon society will go plummeting down and drown in nineteen centuries of shit. There'll be quite a lot of shouting. (1850).
It would have been better to do what everyone else does, neither taking life too seriously nor seeing it as merely grotesque, choosing a profession and practicing it, grabbing one's share of the common cake, eating it and saying, "It's delicious!" rather than following the gloomy path that I have trodden all alone; then I wouldn't be here writing this, or at least it would have been a different story. The further I proceed with it, the more confused it seems even to me, like hazy prospects seen from too far away, since everything passes, even the memory of our most scalding tears and our heartiest laughter; our eyes soon dry, our mouths resume their habitual shape; the only memory that remains to me is that of a long tedious time that lasted for several winters, spent in yawning and wishing I were dead.
In the dark room a cloud of yellow dust flew from beneath the tool like a scatter of sparks from under the hooves of a galloping horse. The twin wheels turned and hummed. Binet was smiling, his chin down, his nostrils distended. He seemed lost in the kind of happiness which, as a rule, accompanies only those mediocre occupations that tickle the intelligence with easy difficulties, and satisfy it with a sense of achievement beyond which there is nothing left for dreams to feed on.
Are you not tired as I am of waking up every morning and seeing the sun all over again? Tired of living the same life, suffering the same sorrow? Tired of desiring, and tired of being sated? Tired of waiting, and tired of possessing?
Women want you to deceive them: they force you to, and if you resist, they blame you.
Once one has kissed a cadaver's forehead, there always remains something of it on the lips, an infinite bitterness, an aftertasteof nothingness that nothing can erase.
Caught up in life, you see it badly. You suffer from it or enjoy it too much. The artist, in my opinion, is a monstrosity, something outside of nature.
You'll always have to deal with bastards, being lied to, deceived, slandered and ridiculed, but that's to be expected and you must thank heaven when you meet the exception.
Always 'duty.' I am sick of the word. They are a lot of old blockheads in flannel vests and of old women with foot-warmers and rosaries who constantly drone into our ears 'Duty, duty!' Ah! by Jove! one's duty is to feel what is great, cherish the beautiful, and not accept all the conventions of society with the ignominy that it imposes upon us.
Judge the goodness of a book by the energy of the punches it has given you. I believe the greatest characteristic of genius, is, above all, force.
Better to work for yourself alone. You do as you like and follow your own ideas, you admire yourself and please yourself: isn't that the main thing? And then the public is so stupid. Besides, who reads? And what do they read? And what do they admire?
There are neither good nor bad subjects. From the point of view of pure Art, you could almost establish it as an axiom that the subject is irrelevant, style itself being an absolute manner of seeing things.
She remembered the summer evenings all full of sunshine. The colts neighed when any one passed by, and galloped, galloped. Under her window there was a beehive, and sometimes the bees wheeling round in the light struck against her window like rebounding balls of gold.
The style, which is something I take to heart, is getting on my nerves horribly. It frustrates and torments me. I have days when Iam sick about it and nights when it gives me a fever. The more I go at it the more I find myself incapable of conveying the Idea.
But an infinity of passions can be contained in a minute, like a crowd in a tiny space.
Read in order to live.
It is an excellent habit to look at things as so many symbols.
He had carefully avoided her out of the natural cowardice that characterizes the stronger sex.
This is indeed a funny country. Yesterday, for example, we were in a cafe which is one of the best in Cairo, and there were, at the same time as ourselves, inside, a donkey shitting, and a gentleman who was pissing in a corner. No one finds that odd; no one says anything.
A superhuman will is needed in order to write, and I am only a man.
I took Eugene Sue's Arthur from the reading-room. It's indescribable, enough to make you vomit. You have to read this to realize the pitifulness of money, success, and the public. Literature has become consumptive. It spits and slobbers, covers its blisters with salve and sticking-plaster, and has grown bald from too much hair-slicking. It would take Christ of art to cure this leper.
Life must be a constant education; one must learn everything, from speaking to dying.
Madame Aubain's servant Felicite was the envy of the ladies of Pont-l'Eveque for half a century.
All one's inventions are true, you can be sure of that. Poetry is as exact a science as geometry.
There are two infinities that confuse me: the one in my soul devours me; the one around me will crush me.
An infinity of passion can be contained in one minute, like a crowd in a small space.
She wanted to get some personal profit out of things, and she rejected as useless all that did not contribute to the immediate desires of her heart, being of a temperament more sentimental than artistic, looking for emotions, not landscapes.
You can't find the soul with a scalpel.
She loved the sea for its storms alone, cared for vegetation only when it grew here and there among ruins. She had to extract a kind of personal advantage from things and she rejected as useless everything that promised no immediate gratification -- for her temperament was more sentimental than artistic, and what she was looking for was emotions, not scenery.
The hearts of women are like those little pieces of furniture with secret hiding -- places, full of drawers fitted into each other; you go a lot of trouble, break your nails, and in the bottom find some withered flower, a few grains of dust -- or emptiness!
May I die like a dog rather than hasten the ripening of a sentence by a single second!
One day, I shall explode like an artillery shell and all my bits will be found on the writing table.
The most important thing in the world is to hold your soul aloft.
Before a Parisienne in lace, in the salon of some illustrious physician, a person of importance with medals and a carriage, the poor clerk, no doubt, would have trembled like a child; but here in Rouen, by the quay, with the wife of this small country practitioner, he felt at ease, certain in advance that he would dazzle her. Self-confidence depends upon surroundings: one does not speak the same way in a grand apartment as in a garret, and a rich woman seems to have all her banknotes about her, guarding her virtue, like a cuirass, in the lining of her corset.
Well, quite softly, one day following another, a spring on a winter, and an autumn after a summer, this wore away, piece by piece, crumb by crumb; it passed away, it is gone, I should say it has sunk; for something always remains at the bottom as one would say--a weight here, at one's heart.
Emma was just like any other mistress; and the charm of novelty, falling down slowly like a dress, exposed only the eternal monotony of passion, always the same forms and the same language.
Books aren't made in the way that babies are: they are made like pyramids. There's some long-pondered plan, and then great blocks of stone are placed one on top of the other, and it's back-breaking, sweaty, time consuming work. And all to no purpose! It just stands there in the desert! But it towers over it prodigiously. Jackals piss at the base of it, and bourgeois clamber to the top of it, etc. Continue this comparison.
Books aren't made in the way that babies are: they are made like pyramids, There's some long-pondered plan, and then great blocks of stone are placed one on top of the other, and it's back-breaking, sweaty, time consuming work. And all to no purpose! It just stands like that in the desert! But it towers over it prodigiously. Jackals piss at the base of it, and bourgeois clamber to the top of it, etc. Continue this comparison.
Haven't you ever happened to come across in a book some vague notion that you've had, some obscure idea that returns from afar and that seems to express completely your most subtle feelings?
But she--her life was cold as a garret whose dormer window looks on the north, and ennui, the silent spider, was weaving its web in the darkness in every corner of her heart.
At other times, at the edge of a wood, especially at dusk, the trees themselves would assume strange shapes: sometimes they were arms rising heavenwards, , or else the trunk would twist and turn like a body being bent by the wind. At night, when I woke up and the moon and the stars were out, I would see in the sky things that filled me simultaneously with dread and longing. I remember that once, one Christmas Eve, I saw a great naked women, standing erect, with rolling eyes; she must have been a hundred feet high, but along she drifted, growing ever longer and ever thinner, and finally fell apart, each limb remaining separate, with the head floating away first as the rest of her body continued to waver.
A good sentence in prose should be like a good line in poetry, unchangeable, as rhythmic, as sonorous.
I will cover you with love when next I see you, with caresses, with ecstasy. I want to gorge you with all the joys of the flesh, so that you faint and die. I want you to be amazed by me, and to confess to yourself that you had never even dreamed of such transports.... When you are old, I want you to recall those few hours, I want your dry bones to quiver with joy when you think of them.
I sometimes feel a great ennui, profound emptiness, doubts which sneer in my face in the midst of the most spontaneous satisfactions. Well, I would not exchange all that for anything, because it seems to me, in my conscience, that I am doing my duty, that I am obeying a superior fatality, that I am following the Good and that I am in the Right.
Earth has its boundaries, but human stupidity is limitless.
I go from exasperation to a state of collapse, then I recover and go from prostration to Fury, so that my average state is one of being annoyed.
But the most wretched thing, is it not-is to drag out, as I do, a useless existence. If our pains were only of some use to someone, we should find consolation in the thought of the sacrifice.
One mustn't always believe that feeling is everything. In the arts, it is nothing without form.
Writing this book I am like a man playing the piano with lead balls attached to his knuckles.
Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.
Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times. The ordinary person today lives better than a king did a century ago but is ungrateful!
The cult of art gives pride; one never has too much of it.
I touched her comb and took it out; her hair came flooding down like a wave, and her long black tresses quivered as they fell to her hips. I immediately ran my hand over it, and in it, and beneath it; I plunged my arm into it, and bathed my face in it, filled with sadness. Sometimes I would enjoy separating it into two, from behind, and then bringing it over her shoulder so as to hide her breasts; then I would bring all her hair together in a mesh, and pull it so that her head came back and her neck was thrown forward; she let me do what I wanted, like a dead woman.
We think of women at every age: while still children, we fondle with a naïve sensuality the breasts of those grown-up girls kissing us and cuddling us in their arms; at the age of ten, we dream of love; at fifteen, love comes along; at sixty, it is still with us, and if dead men in their tombs have any thought in their heads, it is how to make their way underground to the nearby grave, lift the shroud of the dear departed women, and mingle with her in her sleep.
It seems to me that I have always existed and that I possess memories that date back to the Pharaohs.
My foregrounds are imaginary, my backgrounds real.
She now felt an incessant and universal numbness.
The artist must be in his work as God is in creation, invisible and all-powerful; one must sense him everywhere but never see him.
The writer must wade into life as into the sea, but only up to the navel.
A man, at least, is free; he can explore every passion, every land, overcome obstacles, taste the most distant pleasures. But a woman is continually thwarted. Inert and pliant at the same time, she must struggle against both the softness of her flesh and subjection to the law. Her will, like the veil tied to her hat by a string, flutters with every breeze; there is always some desire luring her on, some convention holding her back.
She remembered the heroines of novels she had read, and the lyrical legion of those adulterous women began to sing in her memory with sisterly voices that enchanted her. Now she saw herself as one of those amoureuses whom she had so envied: she was becoming, in reality, one of that gallery of fictional figures; the long dream of her youth was coming true.
The principal thing in the world is to keep the soul aloft.
There are in me, in literary terms, two distinct characters: one who is taken with roaring, with lyricism, with soaring aloft, with all the sonorities of phrase and summits of thought; and the other who digs and scratches for truth all he can, who is as interested in the little facts as the big ones, who would like to make you feel materially the things he reproduces.
Oh, if somewhere there were a being strong and handsome, a valiant heart, passionate and sensitive at once, a poet's spirit in an angel's form, a lyre with strings of steel, sounding sweet-sad epithalamiums to the heavens, then why should she not find that being?
A rich woman seems to have all her banknotes about her, guarding her virtue, like a cuirass, in the lining of her corset.
Casting aspersions on those we love always does something to loosen our ties. We shouldn't maltreat our idols: the gilt comes off on our hands.
He seriously thought that there is less harm in killing a man than producing a child: in the first case you are relieving someone of life, not his whole life but a half or a quarter or a hundredth part of that existence that is going to finish, that would finish without you; but as for the second, he would say, are you not responsible to him for all the tears he will shed, from the cradle to the grave? Without you he would never have been born, and why is he born? For your amusement, not for his, that's for sure; to carry your name, the name of a fool, I'll be bound -- you may as well write that name on some wall; why do you need a man to bear the burden of three or four letters?
COLD. Healthier than heat.
If you participate in life, you don't see it clearly: you suffer from it too much or enjoy it too much. The artist, to my way of thinking, is a monstrosity, something outside nature. All the misfortunes Providence inflicts on him come from his stubborness in denying that maxim.
All you have to do to make something interesting is to look at it long enough.
Well," he said, "don't you know that there are souls forever in torment? They must have alternate dream and action, the purest passions and the most violent satisfactions, and that way one stumbles into all sorts of whims, of follies.
Each dream finds at last its form; there is a drink for every thirst, and love for every heart. And there is no better way to spend your life than in the unceasing preoccupation of an idea -- of an ideal.
To be simple is no small matter.
Me and my books in the same apartment, like a gherkin in its vinegar.
There is no truth. There is only perception.
Happiness is a monstrosity! Punished are those who seek it.
I can't admit of an old boy of a God who takes walks in his garden with a cane in his hand, who lodges his friends in the belly of whales, dies uttering a cry, and rises again at the end of three days; things absurd in themselves, and completely opposed, moreover, to all physical laws, which prove to us, by the way, that priests have always wallowed in turpid ignorance, in which they would fain engulf the people with them.
Then he remembered his wedding, the old times, the first pregnancy of his wife; he, too, had been very happy the day when he had taken her from her father to his home, and had carried her off on a pillion, trotting through the snow, for it was near Christmas-time, and the country was all white. She held him by one arm, her basket hanging from the other; the wind blew the long lace of her Cauchois headdress so that it sometimes flapped across his mouth, and when he turned his head he saw near him, on his shoulder, her little rosy face, smiling silently under the gold bands of her cap. To warm her hands she put them from time to time in his breast. How long ago it all was! Their son would have been thirty by now. Then he looked back and saw nothing on the road.