''What a mysterious faculty is that queen of the faculties!''
''Nature ... is nothing but the inner voice of self-interest.''
''Being a useful man has always seemed to me to be something truly hideous.''
''It is one of the prodigious privileges of art that the horrific, artistically expressed, becomes beauty, and that sorrow, given rhythm and cadence, fills the spirit with a calm joy.''
''Even in the centuries which appear to us to be the most monstrous and foolish, the immortal appetite for beauty has always found satisfaction.''
''They were making their way with the resigned expression of those who are condemned to hope forever.''
''What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense.''
''It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.''
''In philosophical inquiry, the human spirit, imitating the movement of the stars, must follow a curve which brings it back to its point of departure. To conclude is to close a circle.''
''It is the pleasure of astonishing others, and the proud satisfaction of never being astonished by them.''
''There exist only three respectable beings: the priest, the warrior, the poet. To know, to kill, and to create.''
''The fact that several men were able to become infatuated with that latrine is truly the proof of the decline of the men of this century.''
''These great and beautiful ships, imperceptibly rocking like waddling ducks on tranquil waters, these robust ships, with their idle and nostalgic air, aren't they telling us in a silent tongue: When are we leaving for happiness?''
''It is this admirable and immortal instinct for beauty which causes us to regard the earth and its spectacles as a glimpse, a correspondence of the beyond.''
''However incoherent a human existence may be, human unity is not bothered by it.''
''All fashions are charming, or rather relatively charming, each one being a new striving, more or less well conceived, after beauty, an approximate statement of an ideal, the desire for which constantly teases the unsatisfied human mind.''
''Everything for me becomes allegory.''
''The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able to be himself and others, as he wishes.''
''There are as many kinds of beauty as there are habitual ways of seeking happiness.''
''If the poet has pursued a moral objective, he has diminished his poetic force.''
''Beauty is the sole ambition, the exclusive goal of Taste.''
''Any man who does not accept the conditions of life sells his soul.''
''It is unfortunately very true that, without leisure and money, love can be no more than an orgy of the common man.... Instead of being a sudden impulse full of ardour and reverie, it becomes a distastefully utilitarian affair.''
''My soul travels on the smell of perfume like the souls of other men on music.''
''The world only goes round by misunderstanding.''
''To be just, that is to say, to justify its existence, criticism should be partial, passionate and political, that is to say, written from an exclusive point of view, but a point of view that opens up the widest horizons.''
''A frenzied passion for art is a canker that devours everything else.''
''Love is a taste for prostitution. In fact, there is no noble pleasure that cannot be reduced to Prostitution.''
''France is not poetic; she even feels, in fact, a congenital horror of poetry. Among the writers who use verse, those whom she will always prefer are the most prosaic.''
''Always be a poet, even in prose.''
''Alas! everything is an abyss,—action, dream, desire, speech!''
''The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries with terror before being defeated.''
''The immense profundity of thought in vulgar locutions, like holes dug by generations of ants.''
''How little remains of the man I once was, save the memory of him! But remembering is only a new form of suffering.''
''By nature, by necessity itself, [primitive man] is encyclopedic, while civilized man finds himself confined in the infinitely small regions of specialization.''
''True Civilization does not lie in gas, nor in steam, nor in turn-tables. It lies in the reduction of the traces of original sin.''
''Love is the natural occupation of the man of leisure.''
''Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man's physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed.''
''Two fundamental literary qualities: supernaturalism and irony.''
''The more a man cultivates the arts the less he fornicates. A more and more apparent cleavage occurs between the spirit and the brute.''
''It would be difficult for me not to conclude that the most perfect type of masculine beauty is Satan,—as portrayed by Milton.''
''Poetry and progress are like two ambitious men who hate one another with an instinctive hatred, and when they meet upon the same road, one of them has to give place.''
''It would perhaps be nice to be alternately the victim and the executioner.''
''Poetry has no goal other than itself; it can have no other, and no poem will be so great, so noble, so truly worthy of the name of poem, than one written uniquely for the pleasure of writing a poem.''
''Imagination is an almost divine faculty which, without recourse to any philosophical method, immediately perceives everything: the secret and intimate connections between things, correspondences and analogies.''
''The pleasure we derive from the representation of the present is due, not only to the beauty it can be clothed in, but also to its essential quality of being the present.''
''For me, Romanticism is the most recent and the most current expression of beauty.''
''For each letter received from a creditor, write fifty lines on an extraterrestrial subject and you will be saved.''
''"Modernity" signifies the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art of which the other half is the eternal and the immutable.''
''All which is beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation.''
''Woman is natural, that is to say, abominable.''
''Common sense tells us that the things of the earth exist only a little, and that true reality is only in dreams.''
''I consider it useless and tedious to represent what exists, because nothing that exists satisfies me. Nature is ugly, and I prefer the monsters of my fancy to what is positively trivial.''
''On the day when a young writer corrects his first proof-sheet he is as proud as a schoolboy who has just got his first dose of pox.''
''This life is a hospital in which each patient is obsessed with the desire to change beds.''
''The idea which man forms of beauty imprints itself throughout his attire, rumples or stiffens his garments, rounds off or aligns his gestures, and, finally, even subtly penetrates the features of his face.''
''Hypocrite reader—my fellow—my brother!''
''The insatiable thirst for everything which lies beyond, and which life reveals, is the most living proof of our immortality.''
''The man who says his evening prayer is a captain posting his sentinels. He can sleep.''
''I am bored in France because everyone resembles Voltaire.''
''In literature as in ethics, there is danger, as well as glory, in being subtle. Aristocracy isolates us.''
''Evil is committed without effort, naturally, fatally; goodness is always the product of some art.''
''Any newspaper, from the first line to the last, is nothing but a web of horrors.... I cannot understand how an innocent hand can touch a newspaper without convulsing in disgust.''
''These beings have no other profession than to cultivate the idea of beauty in their person, to satisfy their passions, to feel and to think.''
''Nearly all our originality comes from the stamp that time impresses upon our sensibility.''
''The unique and supreme voluptuousness of love lies in the certainty of committing evil. And men and women know from birth that in evil is found all sensual delight.''
''Where one should see only what is beautiful, our public looks only for what is true.''
''To be a great man and a saint for oneself, that is the only important thing.''
''I am a cemetery abhorred by the moon.''
''We want ... to plunge into the depths of the abyss, Hell or Heaven, what does it matter? into the depths of the Unknown to find something new!''
''Romanticism is found precisely neither in the choice of subjects nor in exact truth, but in a way of feeling.''
''Multitude, solitude: equal and interchangeable terms for the active and prolific poet.''
''It is from the womb of art that criticism was born.''
''I have to confess that I had gambled on my soul and lost it with heroic insouciance and lightness of touch. The soul is so impalpable, so often useless, and sometimes such a nuisance, that I felt no more emotion on losing it than if, on a stroll, I had mislaid my visiting card.''
''For the merchant, even honesty is a financial speculation.''
''An artist is an artist only because of his exquisite sense of beauty, a sense which shows him intoxicating pleasures, but which at the same time implies and contains an equally exquisite sense of all deformities and all disproportions.''
''To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.''
''That in all times, mediocrity has dominated, that is indubitable; but that it reigns more than ever, that it is becoming absolutely triumphant and inhibiting, this is what is as true as it is distressing.''
''As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.''
''But what does an eternity of damnation matter to one who has found for one second the infinity of pleasure?''
''We have psychologized like the insane, who make their insanity greater by striving to understand it.''
''There is no dream of love, however ideal it may be, which does not end up with a fat, greedy baby hanging from the breast.''
''The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.''
''Let us beware of common folk, of common sense, of sentiment, of inspiration, and of the obvious.''
''But a dandy can never be a vulgar man.''
''We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.''
''There are moments of existence when time and space are more profound, and the awareness of existence is immensely heightened.''
''Are you not the oasis where I dream, and the gourd from which I drink in long draughts the wine of memory?''
''The whole visible universe is but a storehouse of images and signs to which the imagination will give a relative place and value; it is a sort of pasture which the imagination must digest and transform.''
''A Dandy does nothing.''
''I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.''
''Hugo, like a priest, always has his head bowed—bowed so low that he can see nothing except his own navel.''
''We are all born marked for evil.''
''We all have the republican spirit in our veins, like syphilis in our bones. We are democratized and venerealized.''
''Everything that is beautiful and noble is the product of reason and calculation.''
''Whether you come from heaven or hell, what does it matter, O Beauty!''
''The artist is today and has been for many years, despite his absence of merit, simply a spoiled child. So many honors, so much money bestowed on men without souls and without education.''
''Every idea is endowed of itself with immortal life, like a human being. All created form, even that which is created by man, is immortal. For form is independent of matter: molecules do not constitute form.''
''The cannon thunders ... limbs fly in all directions ... one can hear the groans of victims and the howling of those performing the sacrifice ... it's Humanity in search of happiness.''
''Progress, this great heresy of decay.''
''There is no more steely barb than that of the Infinite.''
''The taste for pleasure attaches us to the present. The concern with our salvation leaves us hanging on the future.''
''What is art? Prostitution.''
''It is the hour to be drunken! To escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.''
''Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.''
''To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art—that is, intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts.''
''The dandy should aspire to be uninterruptedly sublime. He should live and sleep in front of a mirror.''
''Evil is done without effort, naturally, it is the working of fate; good is always the product of an art.''
''The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.''
''Who would dare assign to art the sterile function of imitating nature?''
''I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy.''