Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.
Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves, or, as the ambitious do to educate themselves. No, read to live.
Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.
Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.
There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it
Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.
Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels.
It’s hard to communicate anything exactly and that’s why perfect relationships between people are difficult to find.
Doubt … is an illness that comes from knowledge and leads to madness.
She wanted to die, but she also wanted to live in Paris.
Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers." (Il ne faut pas toucher aux idoles: la dorure en reste aux mains.)
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.
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
An infinity of passion can be contained in one minute, like a crowd in a small space.
To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.
It is always sad to leave a place to which one knows one will never return. Such are the melancolies du voyage: perhaps they are one of the most rewarding things about traveling.
The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
You don’t make art out of good intentions.
Pleasure is found first in anticipation, later in memory.
There is no truth. There is only perception.
One's duty is to feel what is great, cherish the beautiful, and to not accept the conventions of society with the ignominy that it imposes upon us.
There are two infinities that confuse me: the one in my soul devours me; the one around me will crush me
Everything, even herself, was now unbearable to her. She wished that, taking wing like a bird, she could fly somewhere, far away to regions of purity, and there grow young again.
I don't believe that happiness is possible, but I think tranquility is.
Stupidity lies in wanting to draw conclusions.
You must write for yourself, above all. That is your only hope of creating something beautiful.
The public wants work which flatters its illusions.
Writing is a dog’s life, but the only one worth living.
He had the vanity to believe men did not like him – while men simply did not know him.
But, in her life, nothing was going to happen. Such was the will of God! The future was a dark corridor, and at the far end the door was bolted.
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.
I tried to discover, in the rumor of forests and waves, words that other men could not hear, and I pricked up my ears to listen to the revelation of their harmony.
Sadness is a vice.
She would have liked not to be alive, or to be always asleep.
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.
An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.
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?
Of all the icy blasts that blow on love, a request for money is the most chilling.
He had carefully avoided her out of the natural cowardice that characterizes the stronger sex.
You need a high degree of corruption or a very big heart to love absolutely everything
The more you approach infinity, the deeper you penetrate terror
Talent is a long patience, and originality an effort of will and intense observation.
What wretched poverty of language! To compare stars to diamonds!
By trying to understand everything, everything makes me dream
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.
She was the amoureuse of all the novels, the heroine of all the plays, the vague “she” of all the poetry books.
What baffled him was that there should be all this fuss about something so simple as love.
Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.
After the pain of this disappointment her heart once more stood empty, and the succession of identical days began again.
Love art. Of all lies, it is the least untrue.
And he beholds the moon; like a rounded fragment of ice filled with motionless light.
The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletariat to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeoisie.
Isn’t ‘not to be bored’ one of the principal goals of life?
Maybe happiness too is a metaphor invented on a day of boredom
For him the universe did not extend beyond the circumference of her petticoat.
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.
Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.
Years passed; and he endured the idleness of his intelligence and the inertia of his heart.
Sentences must stir in a book like leaves in a forest, each distinct from each despite their resemblance.
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.
To be simple is no small matter.
Thought is the greatest of pleasures —pleasure itself is only imagination—have you ever enjoyed anything more than your dreams?
Read in order to live.
When you reduce a woman to writing, she makes you think of a thousand other women
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.
She did not believe that things could remain the same in different places, and since the portion of her life that lay behind her had been bad, no doubt that which remained to be lived would be better.
One day, I shall explode like an artillery shell and all my bits will be found on the writing table.
It is an excellent habit to look at things as so many symbols.
She was as sated with him as he was tired of her. Emma had rediscovered in adultery all the banality of marriage.
(Egypt) is a great place for contrasts: splendid things gleam in the dust.
I have always tried to live in an ivory tower, but a tide of shit is beating at its walls, threatening to undermine it.
For her, life was as cold as an attic with a window looking to the north, and ennui, like a spider, was silently spinning its shadowy web in every cranny of her heart.
God is in the details.
Emma was no asleep, she was pretending to be asleep; and, while he was dozing off at her side, she lay awake, dreaming other dreams.
It was the fault of destiny!
My foregrounds are imaginary, my backgrounds real.
Abstraction can provide stumbling blocks for people of strange intelligence.
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.
Do not imagine you can exorcise what oppresses you in life by giving vent to it in art.
On certain occasions art can shake very ordinary spirits, and whole worlds can be revealed by its clumsiest interpreters.
For a long time now my heart has had its shutters closed, its steps deserted, formerly a tumultuous hotel, but now empty and echoing like a great empty tomb.
He took it for granted that she was content; and she resented his settled calm, his serene dullness, the very happiness she herself brought him.
As for the piano, the faster her fingers flew over it, the more he marveled. She struck the keys with aplomb and ran from one end of the keyboard to the other without a stop.
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.
Let us not kid ourselves; let us remember that literature is of no use whatever, except in the very special case of somebody's wishing to become, of all things, a Professor of Literature.
The writer must wade into life as into the sea, but only up to the navel.
… Her heart remained empty once more, and the procession of days all alike began again. So they were going to follow one another, like this, in line, always identical, innumerable, bringing nothing!
Indeed, for the last three years, he had carefully avoided her, as a result of the natural cowardice so characteristic of the stronger sex...
There are some men whose only mission among others is to act as intermediaries; one crosses them like bridges and keeps going.
Come, let’s be calm: no one incapable of restraint was ever a writer.
One mustn't look at the abyss, because there is at the bottom an inexpressible charm which attracts us.
I detest common heroes and moderate feelings, the sort that exist in real life
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.