French Poet, Critic, Essayist and Philosopher
Paul Valéry, fully Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry
French Poet, Critic, Essayist and Philosopher
Collect all the facts that can be collected about the life of Racine and you will never learn from them the art of his verse. All criticism is dominated by the outworn theory that the man is the cause of the work as in the eyes of the law the criminal is the cause of the crime. Far rather are they both the effects.
I know nothing more stupid and indeed vulgar than wanting to be right.
O thoughtful waste of my days! What an artist I have destroyed!
The best works, the sacraments are storing for a long time. Is a sacrament for a long time, even incomprehensible.
To enter into your own mind you need to be armed to the teeth.
Degas is one of the very few painters who have given the floor its true importance.
I said that to invite minds to concern themselves with Mind and its destiny was a sign and symptom of the times. Would that idea have occurred to me, had not a whole body of impressions been sufficiently significant and powerful to reflect themselves in me, and for that reflection to become action? And that action, which consists of expressing it in your presence, would not perhaps have been accomplished had I not felt that my impressions were those of many other people, that the sensation of a diminution of mind, of a menace to culture, of a twilight of the most pure gods was a sensation which imposed itself with increasing strength on all those who are capable of feeling something in the order of superior values of which we are speaking.
Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful. In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art.
The commerce of minds was necessarily the first commerce in the world... since before bartering things one must barter signs, and it is necessary therefore that signs be instituted.
To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.
Each of them, all unknowing, fairly gives its due to each chance of life, to each germ of death within itself.
I think of the presence and of the habits of mortals in this so fluid stream, and reflect that I was among them, striving to see all things just as I see them at this very moment. I then placed Wisdom in the eternal station which now is ours. But from here all is unrecognizable. Truth is before us, and we no longer understand anything at all.
Patience, patience. Patience in the blue every atom of silence is the chance of a ripe fruit!
The confused murmur of his nights began to rise, expected but not familiar
To summarize a poem or put it into prose is quite simply to misunderstand the essence of an art.
Enter at people to confuse their ideas to their surprise be surprised at what they do, what they think, and they have never designed different is, through the real or feigned ingenuousness give any sense of relativity of a civilization, a usual confidence in the established order.
I would hear the song of the columns and visualize in the pure sky the monument of a melody.
Poe is the only impeccable writer. He was never mistaken.
The deeper education consists in unlearning one's first education.
To write regular verses destroys an infinite number of fine possibilities, but at the same time it suggests a multitude of distant and totally unexpected thoughts.
Everything has not been lost, but everything has sensed that it might perish.
If the state is strong, it crushes us. If it is weak, we perish.
Poetry is simply literature reduced to the essence of its active principle. It is purged of idols of every kind, of realistic illusions, of any conceivable equivocation between the language of "truth" and the language of "creation."
The deepest is the skin of man.
We civilizations now know ourselves mortal.