Treasure Island

Quotations From CESARE PAVESE

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  • 1.
    Literature is a defense against the attacks of life. It says to life: "You can't deceive me. I know your habits, foresee and enjoy watching all your reactions, and steal your secret by involving you in cunning obstructions that halt your normal flow."
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for May 5, 1936 (1952, trans. 1961).

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  • 2.
    The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten.
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. journal entry, Feb. 13, 1944. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950 (1950, trans. 1961).

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  • 3.
    Reality is a prison, where ... one vegetates and always will. All the rest—thought, action—is just a pastime, mental or physical. What counts then, is to come to grips with reality. The rest can go.
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for Dec. 28, 1936 (1952, trans. 1961).
  • 4.
    Perfect behavior is born of complete indifference.
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for February 21, 1940 (1952, trans. 1961).

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  • 5.
    Life is pain and the enjoyment of love is an anesthetic.
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for January 19, 1938 (1952, trans. 1961).

    Read more quotations about / on: pain, love, life
  • 6.
    Artists are the monks of the bourgeois state.
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for July 25, 1940 (1952, trans. 1961).
  • 7.
    Living is like working out a long addition sum, and if you make a mistake in the first two totals you will never find the right answer. It means involving oneself in a complicated chain of circumstances.
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian author, poet. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for May 5, 1936 (1952, trans. 1961).
  • 8.
    At great periods you have always felt, deep within you, the temptation to commit suicide. You gave yourself to it; breached your own defenses. You were a child. The idea of suicide was a protest against life; by dying, you would escape this longing for death.
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for Jan. 1, 1950 (1952, trans. 1961).

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  • 9.
    One does not kill oneself for love of a woman, but because love—any love—reveals us in our nakedness, our misery, our vulnerability, our nothingness.
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for March 25, 1950 (1952, trans. 1961). See also Pavese's comment under "suicide."

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  • 10.
    A man is never completely alone in this world. At the worst, he has the company of a boy, a youth, and by and by a grown man—the one he used to be.
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, Winter 1941-1942 entry (1952, trans. 1961).

    Read more quotations about / on: alone, world
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