Gustave Flaubert Quotes

Books by Gustave Flaubert

Best 28 Quotes by Gustave Flaubert

“Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.”

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”

“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”

“I don't believe that happiness is possible, but I think tranquility is.”

“It is always sad to leave a place to which one knows one will never return. Such are the melancholies du voyage: perhaps they are one of the most rewarding things about traveling.”

“It’s hard to communicate anything exactly and that’s why perfect relationships between people are difficult to find.”

“Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers.”

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“One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels.”

“Pleasure is found first in anticipation, later in memory.”

“Stupidity lies in wanting to draw conclusions.”

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

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

“The public wants work which flatters its illusions.”

“There is no truth. There is only perception.”

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

“To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.”

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“It is the return of a dog to his vomit.”

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“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

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

“You don’t make art out of good intentions.”

“You must write for yourself, above all. That is your only hope of creating something beautiful.”

Madame Bovary Quotes

“An infinity of passion can be contained in one minute, like a crowd in a small space.”

Madame Bovary

“Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.”

Madame Bovary

“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.”

Madame Bovary

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

Madame Bovary

“She would have liked not to be alive, or to be always asleep.”

Madame Bovary

Memoirs of a Madman Quotes

“Doubt is an illness that comes from knowledge and leads to madness.”

Memoirs of a Madman

November Quotes

“Everyone, either from modesty or egotism, hides away the best and most delicate of his soul’s possessions; to gain the esteem of others, we must only ever show our ugliest sides; this is how we keep ourselves on the common level.”


“I tried to discover, in the rumor of forests and waves, words that other men could not hear, and I pricked up my ears to listen to the revelation of their harmony.”


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“I like the word ‘decadent,’ all shimmering with purple and gold. It throws out the brilliance of flames and the gleam of precious stones. It is made up of carnal spirit and unhappy flesh and of all the violent splendors of the Lower Empire; it conjures up the paint of the courtesans, the sports of the circus, the breath of the tamers of animals, the bounding of wild beasts, the collapse among the flames of races exhausted by the power of feeling, to the invading sound of enemy trumpets. The decadence is Sardanapalus lighting the fire in the midst of his women, it is Seneca declaiming poetry as he opens his veins, it is Petronius masking his agony with flowers.”

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