- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

“Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry.”

 

Happy birthday, Gustave Flaubert! Here are some quotes from the writer.

 

“Talent is a long patience, and originality an effort of will and intense observation.”

 

“Writing is a dog’s life, but the only one worth living.”

 

“The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.”

 

“One’s duty is to feel what is great, cherish the beautiful, and to not accept the conventions of society with the ignominy that it imposes upon us.”

 

“Yes, you must work; love art. Of all lies, art is the least untrue. Try to love it with a love that is exclusive, ardent, devoted. It will not fail you.”

 

“Sentences must stir in a book like leaves in a forest, each distinct from each despite their resemblance.”

 

“Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.”

 

“What better occupation, really, than to spend the evening at the fireside with a book, with the wind beating on the windows and the lamp burning bright…Haven’t you ever happened to come across in a book some vague notion that you’ve had, some obscure idea that returns from afar and that seems to express completely your most subtle feelings?”

 

“There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.”

 

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

 

“Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves, or, as the ambitious do to educate themselves. No, read to live.”

 

“One must not always think that feeling is everything. Art is nothing without form.”

 

“Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in.”

 

“What is beautiful is moral, that is all there is to it.”

 

“There is no ‘true’. There are merely ways of perceiving truth.”

 

“An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.”

 

“The man is nothing, the work—all.”

 

“What a horrible invention, the bourgeois, don’t you think?”

 

“Axiom: hatred of the bourgeois is the beginning of wisdom.”

 

“The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of bourgeois stupidity.”

 

“Don’t talk to me about your hideous reality! What does it mean—reality? Some see things black, others blue—the multitude sees them brute-fashion. There is nothing less natural than Michael Angelo; there is nothing more powerful! The anxiety about eternal truth is a mark of contemporary baseness; and art will become, if things go on in that way, a sort of poor joke as much below religion as it is below poetry, and as much below politics as it is below business. You will never reach its end—yes, its end!—which is to cause within us an impersonal exaltation, with petty works, in spite of all your finished execution.”

 

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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