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Isabelle Eberhardt

  • One must never look for happiness. One meets it by the way — but it is always going in the opposite direction.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • in The Cornhill Magazine ()
  • ... the farther behind I leave the past, the closer I am to forging my own character.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1900, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • I am full of the sorrow that goes with changes in surroundings, those successive stages of annihilation that slowly lead to the great and final void.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1900, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • [Three years before dying in a North African flash flood:] I am not afraid of death, but would not want to die in some obscure or pointless way.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1901, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • Now more than ever do I realize that I shall never be content with a sedentary life, and that I shall always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1901, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • Oh, if at every moment of our lives we could know the consequences of some of the utterings, thoughts and deeds that seem so trivial and unimportant at the time! And should we not conclude from such examples that there is no such thing in life as unimportant moments devoid of meaning for the future?

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1901, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • I think it is impossible for human minds to think of Death as a final, irrevocable end to life.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1902, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • The savage hatred I feel for crowds is getting worse, natural enemies that they are of imagination and of thought.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1902, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • A nomad I was even when I was very small and would stare at the road, that white spellbinding road headed straight for the unknown ... a nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1902, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • While to live in the past and think of what was good and beautiful about it amounts to a sort of seasoning of the present, the perennial wait for tomorrow is bound to result in chronic discontent that poisons one's entire outlook.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1900, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • Oh, to lie upon the rugs of some silent mosque, far from the noise of wanton city life, and, eyes closed, gaze turned heavenwards, listen to Islam's song for ever!

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • 1900, in Nina de Voogd, trans., The Passionate Nomad ()
  • Civilization, that great fraud of our times, has promised man that by complicating his existence it would multiply his pleasures. ... Civilization has promised man freedom, at the cost of giving up everything dear to him, which it arrogantly treated as lies and fantasies. ... Hour by hour needs increase and are nearly always unsatisfied, peopling the earth with discontented rebels. The superfluous has become a necessity and luxuries indispensable.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • in Annette Kobak, Isabelle ()
  • From every ruin, life springs up again and everything that dies is born again.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • in Annette Kobak, Isabelle ()
  • I feel alone, free, and detached from everything in the world, and I'm happy.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • in Annette Kobak, Isabelle ()
  • One must use the weapons one finds in one's path.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • in Annette Kobak, Isabelle ()
  • To be alone is to be free, and freedom was the only happiness accessible to my nature.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • in Annette Kobak, Isabelle ()
  • I will only ever be drawn to people who suffer from that special and fertile anguish called self-doubt, or the thirst for the ideal, and desire for the soul's mystical fire. Self-satisfaction because of some material accomplishment will never be for me. The truly great are those who quest for better spiritual selves.

    • Isabelle Eberhardt,
    • in Liz Kershaw, ed., The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt ()

Isabelle Eberhardt, Russian-born traveler, writer

(1877 - 1904)

Full name: Isabelle Wilhelmine Marie Eberhardt.