Muriel Barbery’s “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” Quotes (55 Quotes)



    When something is bothering me, I seek refuge. No need to travel far; a trip to the realm of literary memory will suffice. For where can one find more noble distraction, more entertaining company, more delightful enchantment than in literature?


    Language is a bountiful gift and its usage, an elaboration of community and society, is a sacred work. Language and usage evolve over time: elements change, are reborn or forgotten, and while there are instances where transgression can become the source of an even greater wealth, this does not alter the fact that to become entitled to the liberties of playfulness or enlightened misuse of language, one must first and foremost have sworn one's total allegiance.



    Thinking back on it, this evening, with my heart and my stomach all jelly, I have finally concluded, maybe that's what life is about: there's a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It's as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within a never.

    I witness the birth on paper of sentences that have eluded my will and appear in spite of me on the sheet, teaching me something that I neither knew nor thought I might want to know. This painless birth, like an unsolicited proof, gives me untold pleasure, and with neither toil nor certainty but the joy of frank astonishment I follw the pen that is guiding and supporting me.

    Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And, with each swallow, time is sublimed.



    Don't worry Renee, I won't commit suicide and I won't burn a thing. Because from now on, for you, I'll be searching for those moments of always within never. Beauty, in this world.

    This is eminently true of many happy moments in life. Freed from the demands of decision and intention, adrift on some inner sea, we observe our various movements as if they belonged to someone else, and yet we admire their involuntary excellence.


    At times like this you desperately need Art. You seek to reconnect with your spiritual illusions, and you wish fervently that something might rescue you from your biological destiny, so that all poetry and grandeur will not be cast out from the world

    Madame Michel has the elegance of the hedgehog: on the outside she is covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary--and terrible elegant.


    This pause in time, within time ... When did I first experience the exquisite sense of surrender that is only possible with another person? The peace of mind one experiences on one's own, one's certainty of self in the serenity of solitude, are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another, in close companionship ...







    Because beauty consits of it's own passing, just as we reach for it. It's the ephemeral configuration of things in the moment, when you can see both their movement and their death.

    Maybe the greatest anger and frustration come not from unemployment or poverty or the lack of a future but from the feeling that you have no culture, because you've been torn between cultures, between incompatible symbols. How can you exist when you don't know where you are?


    To rich people it must seem that the ordinary little people..experience human emotions with less intensity and greater indifference...The fact that we might be going through hell like any other human being, or that our hearts might be filling with rage as Lucien's suffering ravaged our lives, or that we might be slowly going to pieces inside, in the torment of fear and horror that death inspires in everyone, did not cross the mind of anyone on these premises.

    If you imagine that getting high at a party and sleeping around is going to propel you into a state of full adulthood, that's like thinking that dessing up as an Indian is going to make you an Indian.


    Most people, when they move, well they just move depending on whatever's around them. At this very moment, as I am writing, Constitution the cat is going by with her tummy dragging close to the floor. This cat has absolutely nothing constructive to do in life and still she is heading toward something, probably an armchair.


    More Muriel Barbery Quotations (Based on Topics)


    World - Pleasure - Beauty - Life - Mind - Time - People - Cats - Death & Dying - Facts - Wine - Emotions - Mastery & Expertise - Purposes - Art - Society & Civilization - Writing - Work & Career - Thought & Thinking - View All Muriel Barbery Quotations

    More Muriel Barbery Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Gourmet Rhapsody
    - The Elegance of the Hedgehog

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