Théophile Gautier, fully Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier, aka Le Bon Theo

Théophile
Gautier, fully Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier, aka Le Bon Theo
1811
1872

French Poet, Novelist, Art and Literary Critic, and Dramatist

Author Quotes

Brevity never fatigues; therefore, brevity is always a welcome guest.

If thou wilt be mine, I shall make thee happier than God Himself in His paradise. The angels themselves will be jealous of thee. Tear off that funeral shroud in which thou about to wrap thyself. I am Beauty, I am Youth, I am Life. Come to me! Together we shall be Love.

The famous courtesan Clarimonde died recently, as the result of an orgy which lasted eight days and eight nights. It was something infernally magnificent. They revived the abominations of the feasts of Belshazzar and Cleopatra. Great God! what an age this is in which we live! The guests were served by swarthy slaves speaking an unknown tongue, who to my mind had every appearance of veritable demons; the livery of the meanest among them might have served as a gala-costume for an emperor. There have always been current some very strange stories concerning this Clarimonde, and all her lovers have come to a miserable or a violent end. It has been said that she was a ghoul, a female vampire; but I believe that she was Beelzebub in person.

With all women gentleness is the most persuasive and powerful argument.

Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when he does not want to sign.

If you are worthy of its affection, a cat will be your friend but never your slave.

The public, which has been wrong before and is wrong now, can accept only demons and angels on the stage

Yes, the work comes out more beautiful from a material that resists the process, verse, marble, onyx, or enamel.

Critical lice are like body lice, which desert corpses to seek the living.

Instead of founding a Monthyon prize for the reward of virtue, I would rather bestow -- like Sardanapalus, that great, misunderstood philosopher -- a large reward to him who should invent a new pleasure; for to me enjoyment seems to be the end of life and the only useful thing on this earth. God willed it to be so, for he created women, perfumes, light, lovely flowers, good wine, spirited horses, lapdogs, and Angora cats; for He did not say to his angels, 'Be virtuous,' but, 'Love,' and gave us lips more sensitive than the rest of the skin that we might kiss women, eyes looking upward that we might behold the light, a subtile sense of smell that we might breathe in the soul of the flowers, muscular limbs that we might press the flanks of stallions and fly swift as thought without railway or steam-kettle, delicate hands that we might stroke the long heads of greyhounds, the velvety fur of cats, and the polished shoulder of not very virtuous creatures, and, finally, granted to us alone the triple and glorious privilege of drinking without being thirsty, striking fire, and making love in all seasons, whereby we are very much more distinguished from brutes than by the custom of reading newspapers and framing constitutions.

The word poet literally means maker: anything which is not well made doesn't exist.

You do not become a critic until it has been completely established to your own satisfaction that you cannot be a poet.

Decadent style is ingenious, complicated, learned, full of shades of meaning and research, always pushing further the limits of language... forcing itself to express in thought that which is most ineffable, and in form the vaguest and most fleeting contours; listening that it may translate them to the subtle confidences of the neuropath, to the avowals of aging and depraved passion, and to the singular hallucinations of the fixed idea verging on madness... In opposition to the classic style, it admits of shading, and these shadows teem and swarm with the larvae of superstitions, the haggard phantoms of insomnia, nocturnal terrors, remorse which starts and turns back at the slightest noise, monstrous dreams stayed only by impotence, obscure phantasies at which daylight would stand amazed, and all that the soul conceals of the dark, the unformed, and the vaguely horrible, in its deepest and furthest recesses.

It is a difficult matter to gain the affection of a cat. He is a philosophical, methodical animal, tenacious of his own habits, fond of order and neatness, and disinclined to extravagant sentiment. He will be your friend, if he finds you worthy of friendship, but not your slave.

The years I have squandered in puerile excitement, in going hither and thither, in seeking to force nature and time, I ought to have spent in solitude and meditation, in endeavoring to make myself worthy of being loved.

Down comes rain drop, bubble follows; On the house-top one by one Flock the synagogue of swallows, Met to vote that autumn's gone.

It is gentle manners which prove so irresistible in women.

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.

Eyes so transparent that through them the soul is seen

It may well be that the pictures of Courbet, Manet, Monet and their like contain beauties which escape the notice of such old romantic heads as ours, already streaked with silver threads.

This apparent hurly-burly and disorder turn out, after all, to reproduce real life with its fantastic ways more accurately than the most carefully studied out drama of manners. Every man is in himself all humanity, and if he writes what occurs to him he succeeds better than if he copies, with the help of a magnifying glass, objects placed outside of him.

Fortune loves to give bedroom slippers to people with wooden legs, and gloves to those with no hands.

Literature has nothing to do with usefulness; the most useful place in any house is the toilet.

Those horses must have been Spanish jennets, born of mares mated with a zephyr; for they went as swiftly as the wind, and the moon, which had risen at our departure to give us light, rolled through the sky like a wheel detached from its carriage.

High art alone is eternal and the bust outlives the city.

Author Picture
First Name
Théophile
Last Name
Gautier, fully Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier, aka Le Bon Theo
Birth Date
1811
Death Date
1872
Bio

French Poet, Novelist, Art and Literary Critic, and Dramatist