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Adrienne Monnier

"The sight or sound of perfect things causes a certain suffering."

Adrienne Monnier, 1940, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"The Left Bank called me and even now it does not cease to call me and to keep me. I cannot imagine that I could ever leave it, any more than an organ can leave the place that is assigned to it in the body."

Adrienne Monnier, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"Unkindness almost always stands for the displeasure that one has in oneself."

Adrienne Monnier, 1939, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"... I can easily do without people (there are days when I could easily do without myself), and ... in the country of books where I dwell, the dead can count entirely as much as the living."

Adrienne Monnier, in Richard McDougall, trans., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"It matters less to venerate things than to live with them on terms of good friendship."

Adrienne Monnier, 1938, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"Our present-day artists do not transform, they deform. That gives pleasure to nobody. It changes everything, therefore it changes nothing. "

Adrienne Monnier, 1939, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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" Abstract art: a construction site for high fashion, for advertising, for furniture."

Adrienne Monnier, 1939, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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" For the last six or seven years the circus has no longer been in fashion. That is a pity. One should go to the circus, beyond any question of fashion, at least one or two times a year--I am not speaking here to the real enthusiasts, they know better than I what they have to do."

Adrienne Monnier, 1935, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"The circus is perhaps the most vital of all spectacles. It is a place full of simple and powerful charms. Charms of childhood memories. Charms of the very form of the circus, of its odor, its clamor. Charms of the ritual that presides over the entrances and the stunts. These bodily acts, these attractions that are daughters of universal Attraction take place with great ceremony. What is so moving as the roll of the drum that precedes the most perilous moment of the number and the total silence that follows it? Shall we hesitate to think of the Elevation of the Mass? And what is so noble as the hand of the gymnast, who stands up absolutely straight after his stunt, with his palm open like the very symbol of work and its fulfillment?"

Adrienne Monnier, 1935, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"Gaiety is forgetfulness of the self, melancholy is memory of the self: in that state the soul feels all the power of its roots, nothing distracts it from its profound homeland and the look that it casts upon the outer world is gently dismayed."

Adrienne Monnier, 1942, in Richard McDougall, trans., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"She has told me that she was attracted by the art of storytellers more than by any other--those Oriental storytellers who sit in marketplaces and hold beneath their words a group of people who have the faces of nurslings who are suckling. The sand of time flows away and the whole sun lies like a cloak upon the shoulders of the storyteller. "

Adrienne Monnier, 1936, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"This city, with its weighty past, its small outlines, its strong odor, reveals in essence such wide perspectives that we are outside of time in it. We find here, better than elsewhere, the proof that difficulties are the best artisans of great destinies."

Adrienne Monnier, on Venice, 1936, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"One attacks those who possess things that one does not possess. The attack is all the more savage because the one who attacks is destitute and the one who is attacked is well provided. The one who attacks always considers himself to be in the position of legitimate offense."

Adrienne Monnier, 1938, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"German civility, which often seems stiff to us, shows an attentive and touching respect for the person that I often prefer to our offhandedness."

Adrienne Monnier, 1938, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"I am not sure that Christ would have been very satisfied to foresee that He would be looked upon principally as a redeemer and nailed forever upon the cross by human ignorance. It seems to me that He above all desired to bring men a message of truth, that He wanted to heal them of their faults by making an appeal to all their energy; He shook them as much as He could, He did not seek to spare them the trouble."

Adrienne Monnier, 1938, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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"In my opinion what distinguishes the Bible from the other books is its sense of time. Its first concern is to establish a calendar. Then it traces a genealogy. It imposes rhythms, it orders, it operates, it does not abandon the earth where its destiny must be fulfilled and whose own destiny must be fulfilled by it. Its history will be that of men and not of idle gods. The whole spirit must become incarnate and explore the possible."

Adrienne Monnier, 1938, in Richard McDougall, tr., The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (1976)

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Adrienne Monnier, French bookseller, writer
(1892 - 1955)