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Francine du Plessix Gray

  • The vast Pacific ocean would always remain the islanders' great solace, escape and nourishment, the amniotic fluid that would keep them hedonistic and aloof, guarded, gentle and mysterious.

  • ... one forgives parents as naturally as one emancipates oneself from them — usually shortly afterward.

  • ... how the French can talk. About a stew, about a fly on the parapet, about death, about anything.

  • If I were ever to go mad it would be on Thanksgiving Day, that day of guilt and grace when the family hangs upon you like an ax over a sacrificial victim, like the oven's heat on that poor bird.

  • Art is both a vengeance against reality and a reconciliation with it.

  • The irreversibility of time. That's the hardest thing to accept at our age, that's the most violent aspect of death.

  • ... Americans and their desire to be novelists, the American novel should be listed in medical dictionaries alongside Megalomania and Obsessional Neuroses.

  • I venture that those of us who are most serene when faced with the possibility of nothingness are the ones who've reached furthest to the downward and upward of their beings.

  • 'Why are there no great women artists?' sounds as ignorant of human geography as the query 'Why are there no Eskimo tennis teams?'

    • Francine du Plessix Gray,
    • in The New York Times ()
  • In a world more and more polluted by the lying of politicians and the illusions of the media, I occasionally crave to hear and tell the truth. To borrow a beautiful phrase from Friedrich Nietzche, I look upon my friend as 'the beautiful enemy' who alone is able to offer me total candor. Friendship is by its very nature freer of deceit than any other relationship we can know because it is the bond least affected by striving for power, physical pleasure, or material profit, most liberated from any oath of duty or of constancy.

    • Francine du Plessix Gray,
    • in Vogue ()
  • The choice between starving and being eaten is an exotic one.

    • Francine du Plessix Gray,
    • in Mademoiselle ()
  • Lovers, children, heroes, none of them do we fantasize as extravagantly as we fantasize our parents.

  • Only friends will tell you the truths you need to hear to make your life bearable.

  • She looked at him with that cunning which those who profess unworldliness can wield like a club of stone.

Francine du Plessix Gray, French writer, literary critic

(1930)