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 enjoy themselves, or, as the ambitious do to educate themselves. No, read to live.
An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.
Writing is a dog's life, but the only one worth living.
Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.
All one's inventions are true, you can be sure of that. Poetry is as exact a science as geometry.
Read much, but not many books.
Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.
As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use.
Since you are now studying geometry and trigonometry, I will give you a problem. A ship sails the ocean. It left Boston with a cargo of wool. It grosses 200 tons. It is bound for Le Havre. The mainmast is broken, the cabin boy is on deck, there are 12 passengers aboard, the wind is blowing East-North-East, the clock points to a quarter past three in the afternoon. It is the month of May. How old is the captain?
The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.
[T]he truth is that fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and 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.
A memory is a beautiful thing, it's almost a desire that you miss.
The public wants work which flatters its illusions.
What an awful thing life is, isn't it? It's like soup with lots of hairs floating on the surface. You have to eat it nevertheless.
All you have to do to make something interesting is to look at it long enough.
It's hard to communicate anything exactly and that's why perfect relationships between people are difficult to find.
Prose is like hair; it shines with combing.
The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.
Are the days of winter sunshine just as sad for you, too? When it is misty, in the evenings, and I am out walking by myself, it seems to me that the rain is falling through my heart and causing it to crumble into ruins.
Stupidity is something unshakable; nothing attacks it without breaking itself against it; it is of the nature of granite, hard and resistant.
I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings.
I will cover you with love when next I see you, with caresses, with ecstasy. I want to gorge you with all the joys of the flesh, so that you faint and die. I want you to be amazed by me, and to confess to yourself that you had never even dreamed of such transports.... When you are old, I want you to recall those few hours, I want your dry bones to quiver with joy when you think of them.
Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.
The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments.
The deplorable mania of doubt exhausts me. I doubt about everything, even my doubts.
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.
A thing derided is a thing dead; a laughing man is stronger than a suffering man.
You don't know what it is to stay a whole day with your head in your hands trying to squeeze your unfortunate brain so as to find a word.
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
God is only a word dreamed up to explain the world
A friend who dies, it's something of you who dies.
I have the handicap of being born with a special language to which I alone have the key.
My foregrounds are imaginary, my backgrounds real.
The rage for wanting to conclude is one of the most deadly and most fruitless manias to befall humanity. Each religion and each philosophy has pretended to have God to itself, to measure the infinite, and to know the recipe for happiness. What arrogance and what nonsense! I see, to the contrary, that the greatest geniuses and the greatest works have never concluded.
Only three things are infinite. The sky in its stars, the sea in its drops of water, and the heart in its tears.
For him the universe did not extend beyond the circumference of her petticoat.