Stendhal - The Red and the Black (1830)
25 Sourced Quotes
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.
A strange effect of marriage, such as the nineteenth century has made it! The boredom of married life inevitably destroys love, when love has preceded marriage. And yet, as a philosopher has observed, it speedily brings about, among people who are rich enough not to have to work, an intense boredom with all quiet forms of enjoyment. And it is only dried up hearts, among women, that it does not predispose to love.
Politics in the middle of things of the imagination is like a pistol shot in the middle of a concert. The noise is loud without being forceful. It isn't in harmony with the sound of any instrument. This political discussion will mortally offend half my readers and bore the others, who have found a much more precise and vigorous account of such matters in their morning newspapers.
Chélan had acted as imprudently for Julien as he had for himself. He had given him the habit of reasoning correctly, and of not being put off by empty words, but he had neglected to tell him that this habit was a crime in the person of no importance, since every piece of logical reasoning is offensive.
The dinner was indifferent and the conversation irritating. "It's like the table of contents of a dull book," thought Julien. "All the greatest subjects of human thought are proudly displayed in it. Listen to it for three minutes, and you ask yourself which is more striking, the emphasis of the speaker or his shocking ignorance."