The Elegance of the Hedgehog Quotes

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
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The Elegance of the Hedgehog Quotes (showing 1-30 of 234)
“I thought: pity the poor in spirit who know neither the enchantment nor the beauty of language. ”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“People aim for the stars, and they end up like goldfish in a bowl. I wonder if it wouldn't be simpler just to teach children right from the start that life is absurd.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“If you have but one friend, make sure you choose her well.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“Personally I think that grammar is a way to attain beauty.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“I find this a fascinating phenomenon: the ability we have to manipulate ourselves so that the foundation of our beliefs is never shaken.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“I have finally concluded, maybe that's what life is about: there's a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It's as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never. Yes, that's it, an always within never.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“Madame Michel has the elegance of the hedgehog: on the outside she is covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary--and terrible elegant. ”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“Do you know that it is in your company that I have had my finest thoughts?”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“I may be indigent in name, position, and in appearance, but in my own mind I am an unrivaled goddess -”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“When something is bothering me, I seek refuge. No need to travel far; a trip to the realm of literary memory will suffice. For where can one find more noble distraction, more entertaining company, more delightful enchantment than in literature?”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“This pause in time, within time ... When did I first experience the exquisite sense of surrender that is only possible with another person? The peace of mind one experiences on one's own, one's certainty of self in the serenity of solitude, are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another, in close companionship ...”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“The tea ritual: such a precise repetition of the same gestures and the same tastes; accession to simple, authentic and refined sensations, a license given to all, at little cost, to become aristocrats of taste, because tea is the beverage of the wealthy and the poor; the tea ritual, therefore, has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony. Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And, with each swallow, time is sublimed.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“I have read so many books. And yet, like most Autodidacts, I am never quite sure of what I have gained from them. There are days when I feel I have been able to grasp all there is know in one single gaze, as if invisible branches suddenly spring out of no where, weaving together all the disparate strands of my reading. And then suddenly the meaning escapes, the essence evaporates and no matter how often I reread the same lines they seem to flee ever further with each subsequent reading and I see myself as some mad old fool who thinks her stomach is full because she's been reading the menu.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“The only purpose of cats is that they constitute mobile decorative objects.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Life has meaning and we grown-ups know what it is is the universal lie that everyone is supposed to believe. Once you become an adult and you realize that's not true, it's too late.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“There's so much humanity in a love of trees, so much nostalgia for our first sense of wonder, so much power in just feeling our own insignificance when we are surrounded by nature...yes, that's it: just thinking about trees and their indifferent majesty and our love for them teaches us how ridiculous we are - vile parasites squirming on the surface of the earth - and at the same time how deserving of life we can be, when we can honor this beauty that owes us nothing.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“When someone that you love dies..it's like fireworks suddenly burning out in the sky and everything going black.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“They didn't recognize me," I repeat.
He stops in turn, my hand still on his arm.
"It is because they have never seen you," he says. "I would recognize you anywhere.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“. . . maybe that's what life's all about: there's a lof of despair, but also the odd moments of beauty, where time is no longer the same . . . [like] something suspended . . . an elsewhere . . . an always within a never.
Yes, that's is, an always within a never.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“Beautiful things should belong to beautiful souls.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“We have a knowledge of harmony, anchored deep within. It is this knowledge that enables us, at every instant, to apprehend quality in our lives and, on the rare occasions when everything is in perfect harmony, to appreciate it with the apposite intensity. And I am not referring to the sort of beauty that is the exclusive preserve of Art. Those who feel inspired, as I do, by the greatness of small things will pursue them to the very heart of the inessential where, cloaked in everyday attire, this greatness will emerge from within a certain ordering of ordinary things and from the certainty that all is as it should be, the conviction that it is fine this way.

Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“But many intelligent people have a sort of bug: they think intelligence is an end in itself. They have one idea in mind: to be intelligent, which is really stupid. And when intelligence takes itself for its own goal, it operates very strangely: the proof that it exists is not to be found in the ingenuity or simplicity of what it produces, but in how obscurely it is expressed.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“...what I dread more than anything else in this life is noise...silence helps you to go inward..anyone who is interested in something more than just life outside actually needs silence.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“... c'est peut-être ça la vie : beaucoup de désespoir mais aussi quelques moments de beauté où le temps n'est plus le même. C'est comme si les notes de musique faisaient un genre de parenthèses dans le temps, de supension, un ailleurs ici même, un toujours dans le jamais.

Oui, c'est ça, un toujours dans le jamais.”
Muriel Barbery, L'élégance du hérisson
“It would be so much better if we could share our insecurity, if we could all venture inside ourselves and realize that green beans and vitamin C, however much they nurture us, cannot save lives, or sustain our souls.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“There is always the easy way out, although I am loath to use it. I have no children, I do not watch television and I do not believe in God- all paths taken by mortals to make their lives easier. Children help us to defer the painful task of confronting ourselves, and grandchildren take over from them. Television distracts us from the onerous necessity of finding projects to construct in the vacuity of our frivolous lives; by beguiling our eyes, television releases our mind from the great work of making meaning. Finally, God appeases our animal fears and the unbearable prospect that someday all our pleasures will cease. Thus, as I have neither future nor progeny nor pixels to deaden the cosmic awareness of absurdity, and in the certainty of the end and the anticipation of the void, I believe I can affirm that I have not chosen the easy path.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“We think we can make honey without sharing in the fate of bees, but we are in truth nothing but poor bees, destined to accomplish our task and then die.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“In a split second of eternity, everything is changed, transfigured. A few bars of music, rising from an unfamiliar place, a touch of perfection in the flow of human dealings--I lean my head slowly to one side, reflect on the camellia on the moss on the temple, reflect on a cup of tea, while outside the wind is rustling foliage, the forward rush of life is crystalized in a brilliant jewel of a moment that knows neither projects nor future, human destiny is rescued from the pale succession of days, glows with light at last and, surpassing time, warms my tranquil heart. ”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
“If you dread tomorrow it's because you don't know how to build the present, and when you don't know how to build the present, you tell yourself you can deal with it tomorrow, and it's a lost cause anyway because tomorrow always ends up being today don't you see ... We have to live with the certainty that we'll get old and that it won't look nice or be good or feel happy. And tell ourselves that it's now that matters: to build something now at any price using all our strength. Always remember that there's a retirement home waiting somewhere and so we have to surpass ourselves every day, make every day undying. Climb our own personal Everest and do it in such a way that every step is a little bit of eternity. That's what the future is for: to build the present with real plans made by living people.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

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