Guy de Maupassant Quotes

Guy de Maupassant

Any government has as much of a duty to avoid war as a ship's captain has to avoid a shipwreck.

Guy de Maupassant
(Sur l'eau, 1888)

A sick thought can devour the body's flesh more than fever or consumption.

Guy de Maupassant (The Horla, 1887)

How weak and incomprehensible a man sometimes is!

Guy de Maupassant (The Wreck)

A legal kiss is never as good as a stolen one.

Guy de Maupassant (A Wife's Confession)

There is only one good thing in life, and that is love.

Guy de Maupassant (The Love of Long Ago)

It is the lives we encounter that make life worth living.

Guy de Maupassant

We live always under the weight of the old and odious customs ... of our barbarous ancestors.

Guy de Maupassant (Sur l'eau, 1888)

The past attracts me, the present frightens me, because the future is death.

Guy de Maupassant (One Phase of Love)

I entered literary life as a meteor, and I shall leave it like a thunderbolt.

Guy de Maupassant

There can be no happiness, no health even, without regular daily labor of some sort... The need of work is in me.

Guy de Maupassant

Love always has its price, come whence it may.

Guy de Maupassant (Miss Harriet, 1884)

I have come to the conclusion that the bed comprehends our whole life; for we were bom in it, we live in it, and we shall die in it.

Guy de Maupassant (The Bed)

Guy de Maupassant

What would have happened if she had not lost that necklace? Who knows? who knows? How strange and changeful is life! How small a thing is needed to make or ruin us!

Guy de Maupassant
(The Necklace, 1884)

Solitude is dangerous for active minds. We need men who can think and can talk, around us. When we are alone for a long time, we people space with phantoms.

Guy de Maupassant (The Horla, 1887)

You have the army of mediocrities followed by the multitude of fools. As the mediocrities and the fools always form the immense majority, it is impossible for them to elect an intelligent government.

Guy de Maupassant (Sundays of a Burgeois)

Night was a very different matter. It was dense, thicker than the very walls, and it was empty, so black, so immense that within it you could brush against appalling things and feel roaming and prowling around a strange, mysterious horror.

Guy de Maupassant

I know nothing more enjoyable than that happy-go-lucky wandering life, in which you are perfectly free; without shackles of any kind, without care, without preoccupation, without thought even of tomorrow. You go in any direction you please, without any guide save your fancy.

Guy de Maupassant (Miss Harriet, 1884)

How weak our mind is; how quickly it is terrified and unbalanced as soon as we are confronted with a small, incomprehensible fact. Instead of dismissing the problem with: "We do not understand because we cannot find the cause," we immediately imagine terrible mysteries and supernatural powers.

Guy de Maupassant (The Horla, 1887)

Why does one love? How queer it is to see only one being in the world, to have only one thought in one's mind, only one desire in the heart, and only one name on the lips.. A name which comes up continually, rising, like the water in a spring, from the depths of the soul to the lips, a name which one repeats over and over again, which one whispers ceaselessly, everywhere, like a prayer.

Guy de Maupassant (Was it a Dream?)

I have seen mad people, and I have known some who were quite intelligent, lucid, even clear-sighted in every concern of life, except on one point. They could speak clearly, readily, profoundly on everything; till their thoughts were caught in the breakers of their delusions and went to pieces there, were dispersed and swamped in that furious and terrible sea of fogs and squalls which is called Madness!

Guy de Maupassant (The Horla, 1887)

I go to bed, and I wait for sleep as a man might wait for the executioner. I wait for its coming with dread, and my heart beats and my legs tremble, while my whole body shivers beneath the warmth of the bedclothes, until the moment when I suddenly fall asleep, as a man throws himself into a pool of stagnant water in order to drown. I do not feel this perfidious sleep coming over me as I used to, but a sleep which is close to me and watching me, which is going to seize me by the head, to close my eyes and annihilate me.

Guy de Maupassant (The Horla, 1887)

How fathomless the mystery of the Unseen is! We cannot plumb its depths with our feeble senses - with eyes which cannot see the infinitely small or the infinitely great, nor anything too close or too distant, such as the beings who live on a star or the creatures which live in a drop of water... with ears that deceive us by converting vibrations of the air into tones that we can hear, for they are sprites which miraculously change movement into sound, a metamorphosis which gives birth to harmonies which turn the silent agitation of nature into song... with our sense of smell, which is poorer than any dog's... with our sense of taste, which is barely capable of detecting the age of a wine! 
Ah! If we had other senses which would work other miracles for us, how many more things would we not discover around us!

Guy de Maupassant (The Horla, 1887)

Man kills without ceasing, to nourish himself; but since in addition he needs to kill for pleasure, he has invented the chase! The child kills the insects he finds, the little birds, all the little animals that come in his way. But this does not suffice for the irresistible need of massacre that is in us. It is not enough to kill beasts; we must kill man too. Long ago this need was satisfied by human sacrifice. Now, the necessity of living in society has made murder a crime. We condemn and punish the assassin! But as we cannot live without yielding to this natural and imperious instinct of death, we relieve ourselves from time to time, by wars. Then a whole nation slaughters another nation. It is a feast of blood, a feast that maddens armies and intoxicates the civilians, women and children, who read, by lamplight at night, the feverish story of massacre.

Guy de Maupassant (The Diary of a Madman)

Guy de Maupassant Biography

Born: August 5, 1850
Died: July 6, 1893

Guy de Maupassant was a French writer. He was very popular during his time for his novels and short stories. Today he is widely considered to be one of the fathers of the modern short story.

Notable Works

Les Soirées de Médan (1880)
Mademoiselle Fifi (1882)
The Necklace (1884)
Bel-Ami (1885)
The Horla (1887)
Pierre et Jean (1888)