Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert (12 December 1821 – 8 May 1880) was a French novelist. Highly influential, he has been considered the leading exponent of literary realism in his country. He is known especially for his debut novel Madame Bovary (1857), his Correspondence, and his scrupulous devotion to his style and aesthetics.

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Do not read as children do to amuse yourself or like the ambitious for the purpose of instruction. No read in order to live.

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.

Stupidity is something unshakable, nothing attacks it without breaking itself against it, it is of the nature of granite, hard and resistant.

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.

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

Writing is a dog's life, but the only life worth living.

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.

Here is true immorality: ignorance and stupidity, the devil is nothing but this. His name is Legion.

I hate that which we have decided to call realism, even though I have been made one of its high priests.

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.

The cult of art gives pride, one never has too much of it.

Of all possible debauches traveling is the greatest that I know, that's the one they invented when they got tired of all the others.

Life must be a constant education, one must learn everything from speaking to dying.

A memory is a beautiful thing, it's almost a desire that you miss.

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

But the disparaging of those we love always alienates us from them to some extent. We must not touch our idols, the gilt comes off in our hands.

I am a man-pen. I feel through the pen because of the pen.

Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.

It seems to me that I have always existed and that I possess memories that date back to the Pharaohs.

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

Art requires neither complaisance nor politeness, nothing but faith faith and freedom.

Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.

Madame Bovary is myself.

Love is a springtime plant that perfumes everything with its hope even the ruins to which it clings.

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.

One mustn't look at the abyss because there is at the bottom an inexpressible charm which attracts us.

The better a work is the more it attracts criticism, it is like the fleas who rush to jump on white linens.

As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use.

The heart like the stomach wants a varied diet.

The faster the word sticks to the thought the more beautiful is the effect.

The more humanity advances the more it is degraded.

Of all lies art is the least untrue.

What is the beautiful if not the impossible.

Oh if I had been loved at the age of seventeen what an idiot I would be today. Happiness is like smallpox: if you catch it too soon it can completely ruin your constitution.

I love good sense above all perhaps because I have none.

Everything one invents is true you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry.

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.

A friend who dies it's something of you who dies.

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

I believe that if one always looked at the skies one would end up with wings.

There is no truth. There is only perception.

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 true poet for me is a priest. As soon as he dons the cassock he must leave his family.

One never tires of what is well written style is life! It is the very blood of thought!

Exuberance is better than taste.

I have come to have the firm conviction that vanity is the basis of everything and finally that what one calls conscience is only inner vanity.

Happiness is a monstrosity! Punished are those who seek it.

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

Poetry is as precise a thing as geometry.

The future is the worst thing about the present.

Woman is a vulgar animal from whom man has created an excessively beautiful ideal.

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.

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.

I have the handicap of being born with a special language to which I alone have the key.

One must always hope when one is desperate and doubt when one hopes.

All one's inventions are true you can be sure of that. Poetry is as exact a science as geometry.

Reality does not conform to the ideal but confirms it.

Read in order to live.

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.

The deplorable mania of doubt exhausts me. I doubt about everything even my doubts.

Success is a consequence and must not be a goal.

A superhuman will is needed in order to write and I am only a man.

One arrives at style only with atrocious effort with fanatical and devoted stubbornness.

The only way to avoid being unhappy is to close yourself up in Art and to count for nothing all the rest.

I love my work with a frenetic and perverse love as an ascetic loves the hair shirt which scratches his belly.

One mustn't always believe that feeling is everything. In the arts it is nothing without form.

The author in his work must be like God in the Universe present everywhere and visible nowhere.

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life and the promise of future accomplishments.

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

What an elder sees sitting, the young can't see standing.

One mustn't ask apple trees for oranges France for sun women for love life for happiness.

Read much but not many books.