Who among us has not, in moments of ambition, dreamt of the miracle of a form of poetic prose, musical but without rhythm and rhyme, both supple and staccato enough to adapt itself to the lyrical movements of our souls, the undulating movements of our reveries, and the convulsive movements of our consciences? This obsessive ideal springs above all from frequent contact with enormous cities, from the junction of their innumerable connections.
Topics: Poets, Poetry
There are in every man, always, two simultaneous allegiances, one to God, the other to Satan. Invocation of God, or Spirituality, is a desire to climb higher; that of Satan, or animality, is delight in descent.
Topics: Virtues, Virtue
If a certain assemblage of trees, of mountains, of waters, and of houses that we call a landscape is beautiful, it is not because of itself, but through me, through my own indulgence, through the thought or the sentiment that I attach to it
Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.
The cannon thunders… limbs fly in all directions… one can hear the groans of victims and the howling of those performing the sacrifice… it’s Humanity in search of happiness.
Sexuality is the lyricism of the masses.
We all have the republican spirit in our veins, like syphilis in our bones. We are democratized and venerealized.
There exist only three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the soldier, the poet. To know, to kill, to create.
Every man who does not accept the conditions of life sells his soul.
Nature is nothing but the inner voice of self-interest.
It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree.
I have cultivated my hysteria with delight and terror. Now I suffer continually from vertigo, and today, 23rd of January, 1862, I have received a singular warning, I have felt the wind of the wing of madness pass over me.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.
There is a certain cowardice, a certain weakness, rather, among respectable folk. Only brigands are convinced—of what? That they must succeed. And so they do succeed.
I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.
I consider it useless and tedious to represent what exists, because nothing that exists satisfies me. Nature is ugly, and I prefer the monsters of my fancy to what is positively trivial.
I have to confess that I had gambled on my soul and lost it with heroic insouciance and lightness of touch. The soul is so impalpable, so often useless, and sometimes such a nuisance, that I felt no more emotion on losing it than if, on a stroll, I had mislaid my visiting card.
Topics: Soul, Gambling
We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.
Topics: Time, Time Management
To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art—that is, intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts.
Topics: Romance, Aspirations
For the perfect idler, for the passionate observer it becomes an immense source of enjoyment to establish his dwelling in the throng, in the ebb and flow, the bustle, the fleeting and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel at home anywhere; to see the world, to be at the very center of the world, and yet to be unseen of the world, such are some of the minor pleasures of those independent, intense and impartial spirits, who do not lend themselves easily to linguistic definitions. The observer is a prince enjoying his incognito wherever he goes.
Topics: Travel, Tourism
A man who drinks only water has a secret to hide from his fellow men
Two fundamental literary qualities: supernaturalism and irony.
There exist certain individuals who are, by nature, given purely to contemplation and are utterly unsuited to action, and who, nevertheless, under a mysterious and unknown impulse, sometimes act with a speed which they themselves would have thought beyond them.
The being who, for most men, is the source of the most lively, and even, be it said, to the shame of philosophical delights, the most lasting joys; the being towards or for whom all their efforts tend for whom and by whom fortunes are made and lost; for whom, but especially by whom, artists and poets compose their most delicate jewels; from whom flow the most enervating pleasures and the most enriching sufferings—woman, in a word, is not, for the artist in general… only the female of the human species. She is rather a divinity, a star.
Genius is childhood recalled at will.
The son will run away from the family not at eighteen but at twelve, emancipated by his gluttonous precocity; he will fly not to seek heroic adventures, not to deliver a beautiful prisoner from a tower, not to immortalize a garret with sublime thoughts, but to found a business, to enrich himself and to compete with his infamous papa.
A multitude of small delights constitute happiness.
There is no more steely barb than that of the Infinite.
Our religion is itself profoundly sad—a religion of universal anguish, and one which, because of its very catholicity, grants full liberty to the individual and asks no better than to be celebrated in each man’s own language—so long as he knows anguish and is a painter.
The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.
Topics: Cities, City Life
Every idea is endowed of itself with immortal life, like a human being. All created form, even that which is created by man, is immortal. For form is independent of matter: molecules do not constitute form.
To be just, that is to say, to justify its existence, criticism should be partial, passionate and political, that is to say, written from an exclusive point of view, but a point of view that opens up the widest horizons.
Topics: Critics, Art, Criticism
There are as many kinds of beauty as there are habitual ways of seeking happiness.
Today I felt pass over me
A breath of wind from the wings of madness.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
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- Remy de Gourmont French Poet
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- Jean-Paul Sartre French Philosopher
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- Alphonse de Lamartine French Poet, Politician, Historian
- Jean de La Fontaine French Poet
- Voltaire French Philosopher, Author