Gustave Flaubert


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

Author Quotes

Poetry is as exact a science as geometry

She did not confess that she had loved another man; he did not say he had forgotten her.

She turned away, her chin down and her brow well forward. The light shone on it as on a piece of marble, down to the curve of the eyebrows. But none could have told what Emma was looking at on the horizon, or what thoughts she was harboring deep down within her.

Sometimes it seemed to him that music alone was capable of giving expression to his internal agitation. Then, he dreamed of symphonies; or else the surface of things seized hold of him, and he longed to paint. He had, however, composed verses.

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.

The difficulties he foresaw were so formidable that he quickly banished the disagreeable subject from his mind.

The more humanity advances, the more it is degraded.

The sentimental songs she sang in music class were all about little angels with golden wings, madonnas, lagoons, gondoliers -- mawkish compositions that allowed her to glimpse, through the silliness of the words and the indiscretions of the music, the alluring, phantasmagoric realm of genuine feeling.

There are three things in the world I love most: the sea, Hamlet, and Don Giovanni.

To be simple is no small matter.

What an unutterable catastrophe! The apothecary always had the proper expression ready, whatever the occasion.

When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of a thing derided is a thing dead; a laughing man is stronger than a suffering man

You are alone and sad down there, I am the same here. Whence come these attacks of melancholy that overwhelm one at times? They rise like a tide, one feels drowned, one has to flee. I lie prostrate. I do nothing and the tide passes.

Poor little thing! She's gasping for love like a carp on a kitchen table gasping for water.

She fancied she saw him opposite at his window; then all grew confused: clouds passed before her, it seemed to her that she was again turning in the waltz beneath the light of the lustres on the arm of the Vicomte, and that Leon was not far away, that he was coming; and yet all this time she was conscious of the scent of Rodolphe's head by her side. This sweetness of sensation pierced through her old desires, and these, like grains of sand caught in a gust of wind, eddied to and fro in the subtle breath of the perfume which invaded her soul.

She wanted to die, but she also wanted to live in Paris.

Sometimes, in a daze, they completely dismantled the cadaver, then found themselves hard put to it to fit the pieces together again.

The artist must be in his work as God is in creation, invisible and all-powerful; one must sense him everywhere but never see him.

The disparaging of those we love always alienates us from them to some extent. We must not touch our idols; the gilt comes off in our hands.

The more you approach infinity, the deeper you penetrate terror.

The sight of so many ruins destroys any desire to build shanties; all this ancient dust makes one indifferent to fame.

There are two infinities that confuse me: the one in my soul devours me; the one around me will crush me.

To return to antiquity [in literature]: that has been done. To return to the Middle Ages: that too has been done. Remains the present day. But the ground is shaky: so where can you set the foundations? An answer to this question must be found if one is to produce anything vital and hence lasting. All this disturbs me so much that I no longer like to be spoken to about it.

What baffled him was that there should be all this fuss about something so simple as love.

When she knelt at the gothic prie-dieu she addressed the Lord with the same ardent words she had formerly murmured to her lover in the ecstasies of adultery. It was her way of praying for faith; but heaven showered no joy upon her, and she would rise, her limbs aching, with a vague feeling that it was all a vast fraud.

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