Anatole France Quotes

A person is never happy except at the price of some ignorance.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.

An education which does not cultivate the will is an education that depraves the mind.

Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign.

Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one.

Existence would be intolerable if we were never to dream.

History books that contain no lies are extremely dull.

I prefer the folly of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.

I thank fate for having made me born poor. Poverty taught me the true value of the gifts useful to life.

If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.

Ignorance and error are necessary to life, like bread and water.

In art as in love, instinct is enough.

Innocence most often is a good fortune and not a virtue.

Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom.

It is better to understand little than to misunderstand a lot.

It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion.

It is only the poor who pay cash, and that not from virtue, but because they are refused credit.

It is well for the heart to be naive and the mind not to be.

Lovers who love truly do not write down their happiness.

Nature has no principles. She makes no distinction between good and evil.

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have left me.

Nine tenths of education is encouragement.

No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will. Chance is the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign.

Of all the sexual aberrations, chastity is the strangest.

Of all the ways of defining man, the worst is the one which makes him out to be a rational animal.

One thing above all gives charm to men’s thoughts, and this is unrest. A mind that is not uneasy irritates and bores me.

Only men who are not interested in women are interested in women’s clothes. Men who like women never notice what they wear.

Religion has done love a great service by making it a sin.

Silence is the wit of fools.

Suffering! We owe to it all that is good in us, all that gives value to life; we owe to it pity, we owe to it courage, we owe to it all the virtues.

That man is prudent who neither hopes nor fears anything from the uncertain events of the future.

The average man does not know what to do with this life, yet wants another one which will last forever.

The books that everybody admires are those that nobody reads.

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself a fool.

The good critic is he who relates the adventures of his soul among masterpieces.

The greatest virtue of man is perhaps curiosity.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

The poor have to labour in the face of the majestic equality of the law, which forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

The truth is that life is delicious, horrible, charming, frightful, sweet, bitter, and that is everything.

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.

There are very honest people who do not think that they have had a bargain unless they have cheated a merchant.

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all.

Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.

War will disappear only when men shall take no part whatever in violence and shall be ready to suffer every persecution that their abstention will bring them. It is the only way to abolish war.

We do not know what to do with this short life, yet we want another which will be eternal.

We reproach people for talking about themselves; but it is the subject they treat best.

What can be more foolish than to think that all this rare fabric of heaven and earth could come by chance, when all the skill of art is not able to make an oyster!

What frightens us most in a madman is his sane conversation.

When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.

Without lies humanity would perish of despair and boredom.

You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.

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