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Stendhal quotes (showing 1-30 of 152)

“A good book is an event in my life.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“I love her beauty, but I fear her mind.”
Stendhal
“A novel is a mirror walking along a main road.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“If you don't love me, it does not matter, anyway I can love for both of us”
Stendhal
tags: love
“Our true passions are selfish.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness.”
Stendhal
“Pleasure is often spoiled by describing it.”
Stendhal
“God's only excuse is that he does not exist”
Stendhal
tags: god
“A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love.”
Stendhal
tags: love
“A melancholy air can never be the right thing; what you want is a bored air. If you are melancholy, it must be because you want something, there is something in which you have not succeeded.
It is shewing your inferiority. If you are bored, on the other hand, it is the person who has tried in vain to please you who is inferior.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“After moral poisoning, one requires physical remedies and a bottle of champagne.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“Love born in the brain is more spirited, doubtless, than true love, but it has only flashes of enthusiasm; it knows itself too well, it criticizes itself incessantly; so far from banishing thought, it is itself reared only upon a structure of thought.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“There are as many styles of beauty as there are visions of happiness.”
Stendhal, Love
“All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.”
Stendhal
“Faith, I am no such fool; everyone for himself in this desert of selfishness which is called life.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“Indeed, man has two different beings inside him. What devil thought of that malicious touch?”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“I am mad, I am going under, I must follow the advice of a friend, and pay no heed to myself.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“The ordinary procedure of the nineteenth century is that when a powerful and noble personage encounters a man of feeling, he kills, exiles, imprisons or so humiliates him that the other, like a fool, dies of grief.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“The idea which tyrants find most useful is the idea of God.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“Your career will be a painful one. I divine something in you which offends the vulgar.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“Ah, Sir, a novel is a mirror carried along a high road. At one moment it reflects to your vision the azure skies, at another the mire of the puddles at your feet. And the man who carries this mirror in his pack will be accused by you of being immoral! His mirror shews the mire, and you blame the mirror! Rather blame that high road upon which the puddle lies, still more the inspector of roads who allows the water to gather and the puddle to form.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“Presque tous les malheurs de la vie viennent des fausses idées que nous avons sur ce qui nous arrive. Connaître à fond les hommes, juger sainement des événements, est donc un grand pas vers le bonheur."

("Almost all our misfortunes in life come from the wrong notions we have about the things that happen to us. To know men thoroughly, to judge events sanely, is, therefore, a great step towards happiness.")

[Journal entry, 10 December 1801]”
Stendhal, The Private Diaries of Stendhal
“An English traveller relates how he lived upon intimate terms with a tiger; he had reared it and used to play with it, but always kept a loaded pistol on the table.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“Politics in a literary work, is like a gun shot in the middle of a concert, something vulgar, and however, something which is impossible to ignore.”
Stendhal
“Each man for himself in that desert of egoism which is called life.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“But, if I sample this pleasure so prudently and circumspectly, it will no longer be a pleasure.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“La seule excuse de Dieu c'est de ne pas exister.”
Stendhal
“The tyranny of public opinion (and what an opinion!) is as fatuous in the small towns of France as it is in the United States of America.”
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
“A man may meet a woman and be shocked by her ugliness. Soon, if she is natural and unaffected, her expression makes him overlook the faults of her features. He begins to find her charming, it enters his head that she might be loved, and a week later he is living in hope. The following week he has been snubbed into despair, and the week afterwards he has gone mad. (Chapter 17)”
Stendhal, Love

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