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Quotes of the day: Gustave Flaubert

Published Thursday, December 12, 2013 @ 5:43 AM EST
Dec 12 2013

(Today is also the birthday of Frank Sinatra.)

Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821 - May 8, 1880) was an influential French writer widely considered one of the greatest novelists in Western literature. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary (1857), for his Correspondence, and for his scrupulous devotion to his style and aesthetics. The celebrated short story writer Maupassant was a protégé of Flaubert. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A thing derided is a thing dead; a laughing man is stronger than a suffering man.

Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.

Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.

Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves, or, as the ambitious do to educate themselves. No, read to live.

Exuberance is better than taste.

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.

I don't believe that happiness is possible, but I think tranquility is.

Love art. Of all lies, it is the least untrue.

My deplorable mania for analysis exhausts me. I doubt everything, even my doubt.

Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises in which we have failed.

Of all the icy blasts that blow on love, a request for money is the most chilling.

One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels.

One must not always think that feeling is everything. Art is nothing without form.

Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.

Pleasure is found first in anticipation, later in memory.

Sadness is a vice.

That man has missed something who has never left a brothel at sunrise feeling like throwing himself into the river out of pure disgust.

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 more you approach infinity, the deeper you penetrate terror.

The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.

There is no truth. There is only perception.

To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.

What is beautiful is moral, that is all there is to it.

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.

You need a high degree of corruption or a very big heart to love absolutely everything.

Categories: Gustave Flaubert, Quotes on a topic


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