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Muriel Barbery Quotes (68 Quotes)


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

  • To tell a group of adolescents who already know how to speak and write that that is the purpose of grammar is like telling someone that they need to read a history of toilets through the ages in order to pee and poop.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • As far as I can see, only psychoanalysis can compete with Christians in their love of drawn-out suffering.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • I had a brief glimpse of a frail, mature man carrying a ravaged child in his arms...
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • Levin delights in the forgetfulness that movement brings, where the pleasure of doing is marvellously foreign to the striving of the will.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")


  • We don't recognize each other because other people have become our permanent mirrors. If we actually realized this, if we were able to become aware of the fact that we are only ever looking at ourselves in the other person, that we are alone in the wilderness, we would go crazy.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

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

  • I may be indigent in name, position, and in appearance, but in my own mind I am an unrivaled goddess -
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

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

  • We think we can make honey without sharing in the fate of bees, but we are in truth nothing but poor bees, destined to accomplish our task and then die.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • A man who farts in bed . . . is a man who loves life.
    (Muriel Barbery, "Gourmet Rhapsody")

  • Beautiful things should belong to beautiful souls.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • I may know that the world is an ugly place, I still don't want to see it.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • Maybe that's what being alive is about: so we can track down those movments that are dying.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")

  • What is an aristocrat? A woman who is never sullied by vulgarity, although she may be surrounded by it.
    (Muriel Barbery, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog")


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