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Madame de Stael Quotes

Madame de Stael (April 22, 1766 - July 14, 1817)


Madame de Stael

Madame de Stael - Germaine Necker

Adapted from an image in the public domain.

Madame de Stael was one of the best-known "women of history" to writers in the 19th century, who often quoted her, though she is not nearly so well known today.

Selected Madame de Stael Quotations

• Wit lies in recognizing the resemblance among things which differ and the difference between things which are alike.

• I learn life from the poets.

• O Earth! all bathed with blood and years, yet never / Hast thou ceased putting forth thy fruit and flowers.

• Society develops wit, but its contemplation alone forms genius.

• The human mind always makes progress, but it is a progress in spirals.

• L'esprit humain fait progres toujours, mais c'est progres en spirale

• Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man; its publication is a duty.

• Far from being reassured, the more I saw of Napoleon Bonaparte, the more alarmed I became .... [H]e is a man without emotions....

• Everything is controlled by one man, and no person can take a step, or form a wish, without him. Not only liberty but free will seems banished from the earth. [after Napoleon banned her book On Germany]

• If it were not for respect for human opinions, I would not open my window to see the Bay of Naples for the first time, whilst I would go five hundred leagues to talk with a man of genius whom I had not seen.

• Genius is essentially creative; it bears the stamp of the individual who possesses it.

• Courage of soul is necessary for the triumphs of genius.

• One must chose in life between boredom and suffering.

• Innocence in genius, and candor in power, are both noble qualities.

• Scientific progress makes moral progress a necessity; for if man's power is increased, the checks that restrain him from abusing it must be strengthened.

• Enthusiasm gives life to what is invisible; and interest to what has no immediate action on our comfort in this world.

• The sense of this word among the Greeks affords the noblest definition of it; enthusiasm signifies God in us.

• Conscience is doubtless sufficient to conduct the coldest character into the road of virtue; but enthusiasm is to conscience what honor is to duty; there is in us a superfluity of soul, which it is sweet to consecrate to the beautiful when the good has been accomplished.

• The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it.

• Politeness is the art of choosing among your thoughts.

• The more I see of men the more I like dogs.

• A man must know how to fly in the face of opinion; a woman to submit to it.

• The desire of the man is for the woman, but the desire of the woman is for the desire of the man.

• Men err from selfishness; women because they are weak.

• When women oppose themselves to the projects and ambition of men, they excite their lively resentment; if in their youth they meddle with political intrigues, their modesty must suffer.

• Glory can be for a woman but the brilliant mourning of happiness.

• The egotism of woman is always for two.

• Love is the whole history of a woman's life, it is but an episode in a man's.

• There are women vain of advantages not connected with their persons, such as birth, rank, and fortune; it is difficult to feel less the dignity of the sex. The origin of all women may be called celestial, for their power is the offspring of the gifts of Nature; by yielding to pride and ambition they soon destroy the magic of their charms.

• Love is the emblem of eternity; it confounds all notion of time; effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end.

• In matters of the heart, nothing is true except the improbable.

• We cease loving ourselves if no one loves us.

• Sow good services: sweet remembrances will grow them.

• Speech happens to not be his language.

• The greatest happiness is to transform one's feelings into action.

• Be happy, but be so by piety.

• The mystery of existence is the connection between our faults and our misfortunes.

• As we grow in wisdom, we pardon more freely.

• To live beneath sorrow, one must yield to it.

• When we destroy an old prejudice, we have need of a new virtue.

• Gaiety pleases more when we are assured that it does not cover carelessness.

• Frivolity, under whatever form it appears, takes from attention its strength, from thought its originality, from feeling its earnestness.

• The education of life perfects the thinking mind, but depraves the frivolous.

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