Paul Valéry, fully Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry

Valéry, fully Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry

French Poet, Critic, Essayist and Philosopher

Author Quotes

Breath, dreams, silence, invincible calm, you triumph.

History is the science of things which are not repeated.

Man is only man at the surface. Remove the skin, dissect, and immediately you come to machinery.

Stupidity is not my strong point.

There is a value called ?mind? as there is a value oil, wheat, or gold... One can invest in that value, one can ?follow? it as they say on the stock exchange; one can watch its fluctuations in I know not what price list which is the world?s general opinion of it... All these rising and falling values constitute the great market of human affairs. And of these the unfortunate value mind does not stop falling.

You have neither the patience that weaves long lines nor a feeling for the irregular, nor a sense of the fittest place for a thing ... For you intelligence is not one thing among many. You ... worship it as if it were an omnipotent beast ... a man intoxicated on it believes his own thoughts are legal decision, or facts themselves born of the crowd and time. He confuses his quick changes of heart with the imperceptible variation of real forms and enduring Beings .... You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time.

But hope is only man's mistrust of the clear foresight of his mind.

How can one not feel enthusiasm for the man who never said anything vague?

Modern man no longer works at what cannot be abbreviated

That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.

There is no market or exchange without language. The first instrument of all commerce is language.

But Socrates cannot but have been meditating upon something?... Can he ever remain solitary with himself -- and silent to his very soul!

I am not averse to generalizing the notion of modern to designate a certain way of life, rather than making it purely a synonym of 'contemporary'. There are moments and places in history to which 'we moderns' could return without too greatly disturbing the harmony of those times, without seeming objects infinitely curious and conspicuous... creatures shocking, dissonant, and unassailable.

My soul is nothing now but the dream dreamt by matter struggling with itself!

The ?determinist? swears that if we knew everything we should also be able to deduce and foretell the conduct of every man in every circumstance, and that is obvious enough. But the expression ?know everything? means nothing.

This is not ineffable does not matter.

By giving the name of progress to its own tendency to a fatal precision, the world is seeking to add to the benefits of life the advantages of death.

I have made a similar suggestion for poetry: that one should approach it as pure sonority, reading and rereading it as a sort of music, and should not introduce meanings or intentions into the diction before clearly grasping the system of sounds that every poem must offer on pain of nonexistence.

O Socrates, the universe cannot for one instant endure to be only what it is. It is strange to think that that which is All cannot be sufficient unto itself!

The best way to realize your dreams is to wake up.

This, dear Phaedrus, is the most important point: no geometry without the word. Without it, figures are accidents, and neither make manifest nor serve the power of the mind.

Collect all the facts that can be collected about the life of Racine and you will never learn from them the art of his verse. All criticism is dominated by the outworn theory that the man is the cause of the work as in the eyes of the law the criminal is the cause of the crime. Far rather are they both the effects.

I know nothing more stupid and indeed vulgar than wanting to be right.

O thoughtful waste of my days! What an artist I have destroyed!

The best works, the sacraments are storing for a long time. Is a sacrament for a long time, even incomprehensible.

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Valéry, fully Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry
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French Poet, Critic, Essayist and Philosopher