Quotations From THÉOPHILE GAUTIER


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  • You do not become a critic until it has been completely established to your own satisfaction that you cannot be a poet.
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic. Trans. 1943. Mademoiselle de Maupin, preface (1834).
  • Good heavens! what a foolish thing is this pretended perfectibility of the human race which is continually being dinned into our ears!
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic. Trans. by in 1943. Mademoiselle de Maupin, preface (1834).
  • [Great artists] do not copy what they see, but what they desire.
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic. The Golden Fleece (La Toison d'or), ch. 3 (1839).
  • I am one of those for whom superfluity is a necessity.
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic. Trans. by in 1943. Mademoiselle de Maupin, preface (1834).
  • Any man who does not have his inner world to translate is not an artist.
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic.

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  • Critical lice are like body lice, which desert corpses to seek the living.
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic. Trans. by in 1943. Mademoiselle de Maupin, preface (1834).
  • Art is beauty, the perpetual invention of detail, the choice of words, the exquisite care of execution.
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic. La Revue des Deux Mondes (April 1, 1841).

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  • The word poet literally means maker: anything which is not well made doesn't exist.
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic. La Revue des Deux Mondes (April 1, 1841).
  • Any man which an idea, however subtle and unexpected it may be, finds lacking, is not a writer. The inexpressible does not exist.
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic. Quoted in Charles Baudelaire, "Théophile Gautier," part 3, L'Artiste (March 13, 1859).
  • Books follow morals, and not morals books.
    Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), French poet, novelist, critic. Trans. in 1943. Mademoiselle de Maupin, preface (1834).
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