Gustave Flaubert


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

Author Quotes

Sentences must stir in a book like leaves in a forest, each distinct from each despite their resemblance.

She remembered the summer evenings all full of sunshine. The colts neighed when any one passed by, and galloped, galloped. Under her window there was a beehive, and sometimes the bees wheeling round in the light struck against her window like rebounding balls of gold.

So far as Emma was pertaining concerned About did not she ask herself Whether she was in love. Love, she thought, was something That must come Suddenly, with a great display of thunder and lightning, descending on one's life like a tempest from above, turning it topsy-turvy, whirling away one's resolutions like leaves and bearing one onward, heart and soul: towards the abyss. She never bethought herself how on the terrace of a house forms the rain Itself into little lakes When the gutters are choked, and she was going on quite unaware of her peril, When all of a sudden she Discovered - a crack in the wall!

Surely it could not have been a dove God had chosen to speak through, since doves could not talk.

The curtain fell.

The impressions made on his mind by this kind of reading took such a hold of it that he felt a need within him of reproducing those pictures of bygone days. His ambition was to be, one day, the Walter Scott of France. Deslauriers dreamed of formulating a vast system of philosophy, which might have the most far-reaching applications.

The principal thing in this world is to keep one's soul aloft.

Then they wondered if there were men in the stars. Why not? And as creation is harmonious, the inhabitants of Sirius ought to be huge, those of Mars middle-sized, those of Venus very small. Unless it is the same everywhere. There are businessmen, police up there; people trade, fight, dethrone their kings.

Those around him were students like himself. They talked about their professors, and about their mistresses. Much he cared about professors! Had he a mistress? To avoid being a witness of their enjoyment, he came as late as possible.

What a horrible invention, the bourgeois, don't you think?

What's improper about it? retorted the clerk. Everybody does it in Paris!

Write about daily life as you would write history.

She (Madame Bovary) had that indefinable beauty that comes from happiness, enthusiasm, success - a beauty that is nothing more or less than a harmony of temperament and circumstances

She repented her virtue of days past as though it had been a crime; and what virtue she had left now crumbled under the furious assault of her pride. Adultery was triumphant; and she reveled in the prospect of its sordid ironies. The thought of her lover made her reel with desire; heart and soul she flung herself into her longing, borne toward him on waves of new rapture; and Charles seemed to her as detached from her life, as irrevocably gone, as impossible and done for, as though he were a dying man, gasping his last before her eyes.

So from now on the days were going to continue one after the other like this, always the same, innumerable, bringing nothing!... It was God's will. The future was a pitch-black tunnel, ending in a locked door. She gave up her music: why should she play? Who was there to listen?... She left her drawing books and her embroidery in a closet. What was the use of anything? What was the use?

Talent is a long patience, and originality an effort of will and intense observation.

The day before yesterday, in the woods of Touques, in a charming spot beside a spring, I found old cigar butts and scraps of pƒt‚. People had been picnicking. I described such a scene in Novembre eleven years ago; it was entirely imagined, and the other day it came true. Everything one invents is true, you may be sure. Poetry is as precise as geometry. Induction is as accurate as deduction; and besides, after reaching a certain point one no longer makes any mistake about the things of the soul.

The man is nothing, the work - all

The public wants work which flatters its illusions.

Then, noticing on one of the shelves a volume of Hugo and another of Lamartine, he broke out into sarcastic criticisms of the romantic school. These poets had neither good sense nor correctness, and, above all, were not French! He plumed himself on his knowledge of the language, and analysed the most beautiful phrases with that snarling severity, that academic taste which persons of playful disposition exhibit when they are discussing serious art.

Though she had no one to write to, she had bought herself a blotter, a writing case, a pen and envelopes; she would dust off her whatnot, look at herself in the mirror, take up a book, and then begin to daydream and let it fall to her lap? She wanted to die. And she wanted to live in Paris.

What a scholar one might be if one knew well only some half a dozen books.

What's more delightful than an evening beside the fire with a nice bright lamp and a book, listening to the wind beating against the windows? How true! she said, her great dark eyes fixed widely on him. I'm absolutely removed from the world at such times, he said. The hours go by without my knowing it. Sitting there I'm wandering in countries I can see every detail of -- I'm playing a role in the story I'm reading. I actually feel I'm the characters -- I live and breathe with them.

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

She cast her eyes about her, longing for the earth to open up. Why not end it all? What was holding her back? She was free to act. And she moved forward. "Do it! Do it!" she ordered herself, peering down at the pavement.

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