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


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  • 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.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • I thought: pity the poor in spirit who know neither the enchantment nor the beauty of language.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • 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?
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • When someone that you love dies..it's like fireworks suddenly burning out in the sky and everything going black.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • But enough of phenomenology; it is nothing more than the solitary, endless monologue of consciousness, a hard-core autism that no real cat would ever importune.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")


  • I understood that I was suffering because I couldn't make anyone else around me feel better.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • 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.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • 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?
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • But I feel like letting other people be good for me--after all, I'm just an unhappy little girl and even if I'm extremely intelligent, that doesn't change anything, does it? An unhappy little girl who, just when things are at their worst, has been lucky enough to meet some good people. Morally, do I have the right to let this chance go by?
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • 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.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • Poverty is a reaper: it harvests everything inside us that might have made us capable of social intercourse with others, and leaves us empty, purged of feeling, so that we may endure all the darkness of the present day.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • 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.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • But many intelligent people have a sort of bug: they think intelligence is an end in itself. They have one idea in mind: to be intelligent, which is really stupid. And when intelligence takes itself for its own goal, it operates very strangely: the proof that it exists is not to be found in the ingenuity or simplicity of what it produces, but in how obscurely it is expressed.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • I won't get any better by punishing the people I can't heal.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • So if there is something on the planet that is worth living for, I'd better not miss it, because once you're dead, it's too late for regrets, and if you die by mistake, that is really, really dumb.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")


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