Wide World of Quotes > Marguerite Yourcenar Quotes


Marguerite Yourcenar
Belgian-born French novelist and essayist
(1903- 87)



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La lettre écrite m'a enseigné à écouter la voix humaine, tout comme les grandes attitudes immobiles des statues m'ont appris à apprécier les gestes.
The written word has taught me to listen to the human voice, much as the great unchanging statues have taught me to appreciate bodily motions.
-- Mémoires d'Hadrien (1951), translated in 1984 as Memoirs of Hadrian by Grace Frick in collaboration with Marguerite Yourcenar

Les êtres humains avouent leurs pires faiblesses quand ils s'étonnent qu'un maître du monde ne soit pas sottement indolent, présomptueux, ou cruel.
Human beings betray their worst failings when they marvel to find that a world ruler is neither foolishly indolent, presumptuous, nor cruel.
-- Mémoires d'Hadrien (1951), translated in 1984 as Memoirs of Hadrian by Grace Frick in collaboration with Marguerite Yourcenar

Nos lois civiles ne seront jamais assez souples pour s'adapter à l'immense et fluide variété des faits. Elles changent moins vite que les moeurs; dangereuses quand elles retardent sur celles-ci, elles le sont davantage quand elles se mêlent de les précéder.
Our civil laws will never be supple enough to fit the immense and changing variety of facts. Laws change more slowly than custom, and though dangerous when they fall behind the times are more dangerous still when they presume to anticipate custom.
-- Mémoires d'Hadrien (1951), translated in 1984 as Memoirs of Hadrian by Grace Frick in collaboration with Marguerite Yourcenar, p. 113


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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