Emile Zola Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 86 quotes)
From the moment I start a new novel, life’s just one endless torture. The first few chapters may go fairly well and I may feel there’s still a chance to prove my worth, but that feeling soon disappears and every day I feel less and less satisfied. I begin to say the book’s no good, far inferior to my earlier ones, until I’ve wrung torture out of every page, every sentence, every word, and the very commas begin to look excruciatingly ugly. Then, when it’s finished, what a relief! Not the blissful delight of the gentleman who goes into ecstasies over his own production, but the resentful relief of a porter dropping a burden that’s nearly broken his back . . . Then it starts all over again, and it’ll go on starting all over again till it grinds the life out of me, and I shall end my days furious with myself for lacking talent, for not leaving behind a more finished work, a bigger pile of books, and lie on my death-bed filled with awful doubts about the task I’ve done, wondering whether it was as it ought to have been, whether I ought not to have done this or that, expressing my last dying breath the wish that I might do it all over again!
And then there are always clever people about to promise you that everything will be all right if only you put yourself out a bit... And you get carried away, you suffer so much from the things that exist that you ask for what can't ever exist. Now look at me, I was well away dreaming like a fool and seeing visions of a nice friendly life on good terms with everybody, and off I went, up into the clouds. And when you fall back into the mud it hurts a lot. No! None of it was true, none of those things we thought we could see existed at all. All that was really there was still more misery-- oh yes! as much of that as you like-- and bullets into the bargain!
And then there was pain and blood and tears, all those things that cause suffering and revolt, the killing of Franoise, the killing of Fouan, vice triumphing, and the stinking, bloodthirsty peasants, vermin who disgrace and exploit the earth. But can you really know? Just as the frost that burns the crops, the hail that chops them down, the thunderstorms which batter them are all perhaps necessary, maybe blood and tears are needed to keep the world going. And how important is human misery when weighed against the mighty mechanism of the stars and the sun? What does God care for us? We earn our bread only by dint of a cruel struggle, day in, day out. And only the earth is immortal, the Great Mother from whom we spring and to whom we return, love of whom can drive us to crime and through whom life is perpetually preserved for her own inscrutable ends, in which even our wretched degraded nature has its part to play.
A silence fell at the mention of Gavard. They all looked at each other cautiously. As they were all rather short of breath by this time, it was the camembert they could smell. This cheese, with its gamy odour, had overpowered the milder smells of the marolles and the limbourg; its power was remarkable. Every now and then, however, a slight whiff, a flute-like note, came from the parmesan, while the bries came into play with their soft, musty smell, the gentle sound, so to speak, of a damp tambourine. The livarot launched into an overwhelming reprise, and the grom kept up the symphony with a sustained high note.
"Well then! it was the end; his ruin was complete. Even if he mended the cables and lit the fires, where would he find men? Another fortnight's strike and he would be bankrupt. And in this certainty of disaster he no longer felt any hatred of the Montsou bandits; he felt that all had a hand in it, that it was a general agelong fault. They were brutes, no doubt, but brutes who could not read, and who were dying of hunger.
He mused on this village of his, which had sprung up in this place, amid the stones, like the gnarled undergrowth of the valley. All Artaud's inhabitants were inter-related, all bearing the same surname to such an extent that they used double-barrelled names from the cradle up, to distinguish one from another. At some antecedent date an ancestral Artaud had come like an outcast, to establish himself in this waste land. His family had grown with the savage vitality of the vegetation, drawing nourishment from this stone till it had become a tribe, then the tribe turned to a community, till they could not sort out their cousinage, going back for generations. They inter-married with unblushing promiscuity.
... Have you ever reflected that posterity may not be the faultless dispenser of justice that we dream of? One consoles oneself for being insulted and denied, by reyling on the equity of the centuries to come; just as the faithful endure all the abominations of this earth in the firm belief of another life, in which each will be rewarded according to his deserts. But suppose Paradise exists no more for the artist than it does for the Catholic, suppose that future generations prolong the misunderstanding and prefer amiable little trifles to vigorous works! Ah! What a sell it would be, eh? To have led a convict's life - to have screwed oneself down to one's work - all for a mere delusion!..."Bah! What does it matter? Well, there's nothing hereafter. We are even madder than the fools who kill themselves for a woman. When the earth splits to pieces in space like a dry walnut, our works won't add one atom to its dust.
Death had to take her little by little, bit by bit, dragging her along to the bitter end of the miserable existence she'd made for herself. They never even knew what she did die of. Some spoke of a chill. But the truth was that she died from poverty, from the filth and the weariness of her wretched life.
There Albine lay, panting, exhausted by love, her hands clutched closer and closer to her heart, breathing her last. She parted her lips, seeking the kiss which should obliterate her, and then the hyacinths and tuberoses exhaled their incense, wrapping her in a final sigh, so profound that it drowned the chorus of roses, and in this culminating gasp of blossom, Albine was dead.
Angelique, with both hands open, lying limply on her knees, was giving herself. And Felicien remembered the evening on which she had run barefoot through the grass, so adorable that he had pursued her, and whispered in her ear, "I love you". And he understood full well that only now had she replied, with the same cry, "I love you." And he understood full well that only now had she replied, with the same cry, "I love you", the eternal cry that had finally emerged from her wide-open heart. "I love you... Take me, carry me away, I am yours.