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Anatole France

  • French novelist
  • Born April 16, 1844
  • Died October 12, 1924

Anatole France (French: [anatɔl fʁɑ̃s]; born François-Anatole Thibault, [frɑ̃swa anatɔl tibo]; 16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and successful novelist with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament".


The books that everybody admires are those that nobody reads.




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




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




Without lies humanity would perish of despair and boredom.




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

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




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




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.




The greatest virtue of man is perhaps curiosity.




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.




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




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




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




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




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




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




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




It is by acts and not by ideas that people live.




History books that contain no lies are extremely dull.




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.




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




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.




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




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




In art as in love, instinct is enough.




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




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




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




Nine tenths of education is encouragement.




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




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




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.




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.




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




Existence would be intolerable if we were never to dream.




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



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