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Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880)


French novelist.
Gustave Flaubert
Self-confidence depends on surroundings: the same person talks quite differently in the drawing room and in the garret, and a rich woman's virtue is protected by her banknotes quite effectively as by any cuirass worn under a corset.
Flaubert quotes
How happy she had been in those days! How free! How full of hope! How rich in illusions! There were no illusions left now. She had had to part with some each time she had ventured on a new path, in each of her successive conditions -- as virgin, as wife, as mistress; all along the course of her life she had been losing them, like a traveler leaving a bit of his fortune in every inn along the road.
Flaubert
"What's more delightful than an evening beside the fire with a nice bright lamp and a book, listening to the wind beating against the windows?"
"How true!" she said, her great dark eyes fixed widely on him.
"I'm absolutely removed from the world at such times," he said. "The hours go by without my knowing it. Sitting there I'm wandering in countries I can see every detail of -- I'm playing a role in the story I'm reading. I actually feel I'm the characters -- I live and breathe with them."




Flaubert Gustave quotes
"I well understand your doing this," said the notary. "A man of science can't be expected to burden himself with the practical details of existence." Charles felt soothed by these oily words: they flattered his weakness, making it look like preoccupation with lofty things.
Flaubert Gustave
He took it for granted that she was content; and she resented his settled calm, his serene dullness, the very happiness she herself brought him.
Gustave Flaubert quotes
"What's improper about it?" retorted the clerk. "Everybody does it in Paris!"
It was an irresistible and conclusive argument.
Gustave Flaubert
One must not always think that feeling is everything. Art is nothing without form.
Flaubert Gustave quotes
There isn't a bourgeois alive who in the ferment of his youth, if only for a day or for a minute, hasn't thought himself capable of boundless passions and noble exploits. The sorriest little woman-chaser has dreamed of Oriental queens; in a corner of every notary's heart lie the moldy remains of a poet.
Flaubert
His rage had sent him into Latin: he would have spouted Chinese or Greenlandic had he been able to, for he was in the throes of one of those crises in which the soul lays bare its every last corners, just as the ocean, in the travail of a storm, splits open to display everything from the seaweed on its shores to the sand of its deepest bottom.
Flaubert Gustave
Everything immediately surrounding her -- boring countryside, inane petty bourgeois, the mediocrity of daily life -- seemed to her the exception rather than the rule. She had been caught in it all by some accident: out beyond, there stretched as far as the eye could see the immense territory of rapture and passions. In her longing she made no difference between the pleasures of luxury and the joys of the heart, between elegant living and sensitive feeling. Didn't love, like Indian plants, require rich soils, special temperatures?
Gustave Flaubert
He wasn't lying. If he had had it he would probably have given it to her, unpleasant though it usually is to make such generous gifts: of all the icy blasts that blow on love, a request for money is the most chilling and havoc-wreaking.




Gustave Flaubert quotes
As she listened to him, Madame Bovary marveled at how old she was: all those re-emerging details made her life seem vaster as though she had endless emotional experiences to look back on.
Gustave Flaubert
Before her marriage she had thought that she had love within her grasp but since the happiness which she had expected this love to bring her hadn't come, she supposed she must have been mistaken. And Emma tried to imagine just what was meant, in life, by the words "bliss," "passion," and "rapture" -- words that had seemed so beautiful to her in books.
Flaubert quotes
It seemed to her that certain portions of the earth must produce happiness -- as thought it were a plant native only to those soils and doomed to languish elsewhere. Why couldn't she be leaning over the balcony of some Swiss chalet? Or nursing her melancholy in a cottage in Scotland, with a husband clad in a long black velvet coat and wearing soft leather shoes, a high-crowned hat and fancy cuffs?
Flaubert Gustave
She was the amoureuse of all the novels, the heroine of all the plays, the vague "she" of all the poetry books.
Flaubert Gustave quotes
Noble characters and pure affections and happy scenes are very comforting things. They're a refuge from life's disillusionments.
Gustave Flaubert
The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of bourgeois stupidity.
Gustave Flaubert quotes
Though she had no one to write to, she had bought herself a blotter, a writing case, a pen and envelopes; she would dust off her whatnot, look at herself in the mirror, take up a book, and then begin to daydream and let it fall to her lap. . . . She wanted to die. And she wanted to live in Paris.
Gustave Flaubert
And they talked about the mediocrity of provincial life, so suffocating, so fatal to all noble dreams.
Flaubert Gustave
He even did his best to stop loving her; then at the sound of her footsteps he would feel his will desert him, like a drunkard at the sight of strong liquor.


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