Gustave Flaubert


French Writer, Western Novelist known for his first novel, Madame Bovary

Author Quotes

You ask me whether the Orient is up to what I imagined it to be. Yes, it is; and more than that, it extends far beyond the narrow idea I had of it. I have found, clearly delineated, everything that was hazy in my mind. Facts have taken the place of suppositions - so excellently so that it is often as though I were suddenly coming upon old forgotten dreams.

You don't make art out of good intentions.

You forget everything. The hours slip by. You travel in your chair through centuries you seem seem to see before you, your thoughts are caught up in the story, dallying with the details or following the course of the plot, you enter into characters, so that it seems as if it were your own heart beating beneath their costumes.

You must - do you hear me, young man? - You must work more than you are doing!

You must not think that feeling is everything? Art is nothing without form.

You must write for yourself, above all. That is your only hope of creating something beautiful.

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

Writing history is like drinking an ocean and pissing a cupful.

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

Years passed; and he endured the idleness of his intelligence and the inertia of his heart.

You are alone and sad down there, I am the same here. Whence come these attacks of melancholy that overwhelm one at times? They rise like a tide, one feels drowned, one has to flee. I lie prostrate. I do nothing and the tide passes.

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

Poor little thing! She's gasping for love like a carp on a kitchen table gasping for water.

She fancied she saw him opposite at his window; then all grew confused: clouds passed before her, it seemed to her that she was again turning in the waltz beneath the light of the lustres on the arm of the Vicomte, and that Leon was not far away, that he was coming; and yet all this time she was conscious of the scent of Rodolphe's head by her side. This sweetness of sensation pierced through her old desires, and these, like grains of sand caught in a gust of wind, eddied to and fro in the subtle breath of the perfume which invaded her soul.

She wanted to die, but she also wanted to live in Paris.

Sometimes, in a daze, they completely dismantled the cadaver, then found themselves hard put to it to fit the pieces together again.

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 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.

The more you approach infinity, the deeper you penetrate terror.

The sight of so many ruins destroys any desire to build shanties; all this ancient dust makes one indifferent to fame.

There are two infinities that confuse me: the one in my soul devours me; the one around me will crush me.

To return to antiquity [in literature]: that has been done. To return to the Middle Ages: that too has been done. Remains the present day. But the ground is shaky: so where can you set the foundations? An answer to this question must be found if one is to produce anything vital and hence lasting. All this disturbs me so much that I no longer like to be spoken to about it.

What baffled him was that there should be all this fuss about something so simple as love.

When she knelt at the gothic prie-dieu she addressed the Lord with the same ardent words she had formerly murmured to her lover in the ecstasies of adultery. It was her way of praying for faith; but heaven showered no joy upon her, and she would rise, her limbs aching, with a vague feeling that it was all a vast fraud.

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

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French Writer, Western Novelist known for his first novel, Madame Bovary