Quotes about Stendhal
9 Sourced Quotes
I started out very quiet and I beat Mr. Turgenev. Then I trained hard and I beat Mr. de Maupassant. I've fought two draws with Mr. Stendhal, and I think I had an edge in the last one. But nobody's going to get me in any ring with Mr. Tolstoy unless I'm crazy or I keep getting better.
One can become overwhelmed on vacation—I have become so—by thinking thoughts that are too large. There is a condition identified in psychology textbooks as the Stendhal syndrome, also called, or related to, the Jerusalem syndrome, that describes a tourist's overwhelmed response to great works of art or to a sudden apprehension of scale, antiquity, multitude, death—the accompanying fear is of one's insignificance, but also of squandered opportunity.
It had become an indisputable dogma that every expression in the same language must bear the same meaning in all peoples. And this was really the greatest affliction of the Select of that epoch, that they had to converse in the same tongue as the rabble, which had so often been desecrated in Parliaments, and assemblies, and lectures, and railway carriages; all of them, like Stendhal, would have given a great deal to have a langue sacre, comprehensible only by the few. All of them, like Goethe, allegorized meanings into their best works, in order to give the slip to prying snouts, and endeavoured to make themselves, as did Nietzsche, inaccessible, in order that the swine might not break into the gardens.
We live through myriads of seconds, but there is only one second among all these myriads which brings our whole inner world to the boil; the second in which, as Stendhal described, there suddenly takes place a crystallization in the supersaturated blood; a magical second like that of procreation, and, like it, hidden in the warm interior of one's own body, invisible, intangible, impalpable, a unique experience of mystery. No algebra of the soul can calculate it; no alchemy can divine it. Usually, even for ourselves, it remains unsearchable.
There is a sense, and a very exciting sense, in which art is moral. When Stendhal says a good picture is nothing but a construction in ethics, one recognises a truth about art which opens up vistas that are at the same time liberating and terrifying. The ethics of art are terrifying because real art by increasing our knowledge of ourselves increases in exactly the same proportion the ethical commitment.