Honoré de Balzac

 

 

“Every moment of happiness requires a great amount of Ignorance”

 

“Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”

 

“Who is to decide which is the grimmer sight: withered hearts, or empty skulls?”

(Père Goriot)

 

“Love is a religion, and its rituals cost more than those of other religions. It goes by quickly and, like a street urchin, it likes to mark its passage by a trail of devastation.”

(Père Goriot)

 

“Where poverty ceases, avarice begins.”

(Lost Illusions)

 

“There is something noble as well as terrible about suicide. The downfall of many men is not dangerous, for they fall like children, too near the ground to do themselves harm. But when a great man breaks, he has soared up to the heavens, espied some inaccessible paradise, and then fallen from a great height. The forces that make him seek peace from the barrel of a gun cannot be placated. How many young talents confined to an attic room wither and perish for lack of a friend, a consoling wife, alone in the midst of a million fellow humans, while throngs of people weary of gold are bored with their possessions.”

(The Wild Ass's Skin)


From "Old Goriot":

"A man who boasts of never changing his opinions is a man who forces himself to move always in a straight line, a simpleton who believes he is infallible. There are no such things as principles, there are only events; there are no laws, there are only circumstances: the man who is wiser than his fellows accepts events and circumstances in order to turn them to his own ends. If there were fixed principles and laws nations would not change them as easily as we change our shirts. The individual is not expected to be more scrupulous than the nation.'"

 


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