Gustave Flaubert


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

Author Quotes

Sadness is a vice.

She pulled up short and jerked the bit from her mouth. Her mind, so material amidst its enthusiasm--she who had loved the church for its flowers, music for the words of its songs, and literature for its passionate excitements--rebelled against the mysteries of faith, even as she chafed against the restraint of discipline, a thing wholly repugnant to her disposition.

She was the amoureuse of all the novels, the heroine of all the plays, the vague "she" of all the poetry books.

Success as I see it, is a result, not a goal.

The clerk assured her warmly that idealistic natures were rarely understood.

The heart, like the stomach, wants a varied diet.

The night was dark. A few drops of rain were falling. She breathed in the damp wind that blew cool against her eyelids. The dance music was still thrumming in her ears, and she tried to keep awake in order to prolong the illusion of a luxurious existence to which she would soon have to say farewell.

The world is going to become bloody stupid and from now on will be a very boring place. We?re lucky to be living now.

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.

We shouldn't maltreat our idols: the gilt comes off on our hands.

What seems to me the highest and the most difficult achievement of Art is not to make us laugh or cry, or to rouse our lust or our anger, but to do as nature does?that is, fill us with wonderment.

Why, it was the romances she had read in her youth! It was Walter Scott back again! She seemed to catch, through the mist, the sound of the Scottish bagpipes skirling among the heather. And the memory of the book helping her to understand the libretto, she followed each successive stage in the plot, while all the time a host of vague, indefinable thoughts came thronging in upon her, only to take flight at every 'crescendo' of the music.

Seen from close, her eyes appeared larger than life, especially when she opened and shut her eyelids several times on awakening: black when looked at in the shadow, dark blue in bright light, they seemed to contain layer upon layer of color, thicker and cloudier beneath, lighter and more transparent toward the lustrous surface.

She put him near the front door and a number of visitors were surprised that he would not answer to the name 'Polly', which is what all parrots were supposed to be called.

She would have liked not to be alive, or to be always asleep.

Success is a consequence and must not be a goal. I've never sought it (though I desire it) and seek it less and less.

The cold made them clasp each other the tighter; their sighs seemed more profound; their eyes, though they could scarcely discern them in the gloom, seemed bigger, and in the stillness that enfolded them a word, softly murmured, would fall upon their hearts like the note of a crystal bell and pass, trembling with infinite vibrations, into silence.

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!

The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.

The writer must wade into life as into the sea, but only up to the navel.

There, at the top of the table, alone amongst all these women, stooped over his ample plateful, with his napkin tied around his neck like a child, an old man sat eating, drips of gravy dribbling gravy from him lips. His eyes were bloodshot and he had a little pigtail tied up with a black ribbon. This was the Marquis' father-in-law... he had led a... Read more tumultuous life of debauchery and dueling, of wagers made and women abducted, had squandered his fortune and terrified his whole family... Emma's eyes kept coming back to this old man with the sagging lips, as though to something wonderfully majestic. He had lived at court and slept in the bed of a queen!

We think of women at every age: while still children, we fondle with a na‹ve 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

What stops me from taking myself seriously, even though I am essentially a serious person, is that I find myself extremely ridiculous, not in the sense of the small-scale ridiculousness of slap-stick comedy, but rather in the sense of ridiculousness that seems intrinsic to human life and that manifests itself in the simplest actions and the most extraordinary gestures.

With a little more time, patience, and hard work, and above all with a more sensitive taste for the formal aspects of arts, he would have managed to write mediocre poetry, good enough for a lady?s album ? and this is always a gallant thing to do, whatever you may say.

Self-confidence depends on environment: one does not speak in the same tone in the drawing room than in the kitchen.

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