French Novelist, Essayist, Playwright, Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature and the Grand Cross of the Légion D'honneur
Let us be wary of ready-made ideas about cowardice and courage: the same burden weighs infinitely more heavily on some shoulders than on others.
Men resemble great deserted palaces: the owner occupies only a few rooms and has closed-off wings where he never ventures.
Observe that for the novelist who has remained Christian, like myself, man is someone creating himself or destroying himself. He is not an immobile being, fixed, cast in a mold once and for all. This is what makes the traditional psychological novel so different from what I did or thought I was doing. The human being as I conceive him in the novel is a being caught up in the drama of human salvation, even if he doesn’t know it.
Sin is the writer's element.
A cemetery saddens us because it is the only place of the world in which we do not meet our dead again.
The arrogance of poets is only a defense; doubt gnaws the greatest among them; they need our testimony to escape despair.
A good critic is the sorcerer who makes some hidden spring gush forth unexpectedly under our feet.
The day when you will not burn more love, many more will die of cold.
A writer is essentially a man who does not resign himself to loneliness.
The scapegoat has always had the mysterious power of unleashing man's ferocious pleasure in torturing, corrupting, and befouling.
By the time a man notices that he is no longer young, his youth has long since left him.
The sin against nature [is] - compulsory celibacy
By the time dusk fell, he was back in his room. The last of the daylight lay like fine ashes on the roof-tops. He did not light his lamp, but sat by the fireplace in the dark, seeking in the far distance of his past some vague memory of a love-affair, some recollection of a friendship, with which to soften the hard tyranny of isolation.
To love someone is to see a miracle invisible to others.
Death steals our loved ones. Instead, we keep them and we all immortalized in the memory. Life does that to us many times and definitely steals.
We know well only what we are deprived of.
Every novelist ought to invent his own technique, that is the fact of the matter. Every novel worthy of the name is like another planet, whether large or small, which has its own laws just as it has its own flora and fauna.
What I fear is not being forgotten after my death, but, rather, not being enough forgotten. As we were saying, it is not our books that survive, but our poor lives that linger in the histories.
How strange, in these early life we are given little happiness, not to warn us no voice: how many years you live, no'll have another joy to your life than these few hours. Enjoy as the sternum drop them because, after 'this, there is nothing for you. This first source I found is the last. Quench your thirst once and for all.
You approach easily a living soul, and through it the crime, and through the most distressing kinks - but stupidity is impenetrable.
I believe that only poetry counts... A great novelist is first of all a great poet.
I love Germany so dearly that I hope there will always be two of them.
I write whenever it suits me. During a creative period I write every day; a novel should not be interrupted.
If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.
No love, no friendship, can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever