Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Anatole France, pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault

French Novelist, Poet

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another."

"An education which does not cultivate the will is an education that depraves the mind."

"It is by acts and not by ideas that people live."

"It is remarkable how great an influence our clothes have on our moral state."

"The first virtue of all really great men is that they are sincere. They eradicate hypocrisy from their hearts. They bravely unveil their weaknesses, their doubts, their defects. They are courageous. They boldly ride a-tilt against prejudices. They love their fellow-men profoundly. They are generous. They allow their hearts to expand. They have compassion for all forms of suffering. Pity is the very foundation-stone of Genius."

"A people living under the... threat of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It demands no social reforms. It doesn't not haggle over armaments and military expenditures. It pays without discussion, it ruins itself, and that is a fine thing for the financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic terrors are an abundant source of gain."

"Christianity, by making love a sin, did Love a great service."

"Existence would be intolerable if we were never to dream."

"I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom."

"If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."

"It is human nature to think wisely and act foolishly."

"It is part of human nature to think wise things and do ridiculous ones."

"One thing above all gives charm to men's thoughts, and this is unrest. A mind that is not uneasy irritates and bores me."

"That man is wise who neither hopes nor fears anything from the uncertain events of the future."

"The finest words in the world are only vain sounds if you cannot understand them."

"The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young mind for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards."

"If I were called upon to choose between beauty and truth, I should not hesitate; I should hold to beauty, being confident that it bears within it truth both higher and deeper than truth itself. I will go so far as to say there is nothing true in the world save beauty."

"There are very honest people who do not think that they have had a bargain unless they have cheated a merchant."

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also believe."

"Universal peace will be realized, not because man will become better, but because a new order of things, a new science, new economic necessities, will impose peace."

"War is not an art, and accident alone decides the outcome of battles. If two generals confront each other and both are stupid, one necessarily must win."

"We live between two dense clouds the forgetting of what was and the uncertainty of what will be."

"We live too much in books and not enough in nature, and we are very much like the simpleton of a Pliny the Younger, who went on studying a Greek author while before his eyes Vesuvius was overwhelming five cities beneath the ashes."

"Chance is perhaps God's pseudonym when he does not want to sign."

"Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds; do not overload them."

"It is difficult to be a saint in the midst of one’s family."

"Nature, in her indifference, makes no distinction between good and evil."

"One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory."

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.""

"To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything."