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.
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
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.
The man who says his evening prayer is a captain posting his sentinels. He can sleep.
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.
Today I felt pass over me
A breath of wind from the wings of madness.
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
Nature is nothing but the inner voice of self-interest.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.
A man who drinks only water has a secret to hide from his fellow men
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: Aspirations, Romance
We all have the republican spirit in our veins, like syphilis in our bones. We are democratized and venerealized.
It is unfortunately very true that, without leisure and money, love can be no more than an orgy of the common man. Instead of being a sudden impulse full of ardor and reverie, it becomes a distastefully utilitarian affair.
Poetry and progress are like two ambitious men who hate one another with an instinctive hatred, and when they meet upon the same road, one of them has to give place.
Topics: Poets, Poetry, Art
Life is a hospital in which every patient is possessed by the desire of changing his bed. One would prefer to suffer near the fire, and another is certain he would get well if he were by the window.
Topics: Opportunities, Reality
A multitude of small delights constitute happiness.
There are as many kinds of beauty as there are habitual ways of seeking happiness.
Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man’s physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed.
There are moments of existence when time and space are more profound, and the awareness of existence is immensely heightened.
There exist only three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the soldier, the poet. To know, to kill, to create.
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, Criticism, Art
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.
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.
All fashions are charming, or rather relatively charming, each one being a new striving, more or less well conceived, after beauty, an approximate statement of an ideal, the desire for which constantly teases the unsatisfied human mind.
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