No, the only good in life lay in not being - or, if one had to be, then in being a tree, a stone, or even less than that, the grain of sand that cannot bleed beneath the grinding heel of a passer-by.

Words failed him again; he began to stammer in his unsuccessful attempt to express the first vague stirrings of the future he could feel within himself. While he finished feverishly brushing in the black velvet jacket, there was a long silence.

I believe that all is illusion and vanity outside the treasure of truths slowly accumulated, and which will never again be lost. I believe that the sum of these truths, always increasing, will at last confer on man incalculable power and peace, if not happiness. Yes, I believe in the final triumph of life.

Sin became a luxury, a flower set in her hair, a diamond fastened on her brow.

Sometimes she was seized with hallucinations and thought she was buried in some vault together with a lot of puppet-like corpses which nodded their heads and moved their legs and arms when you pulled the strings.

I'm a very ordinary man who's worked and fed like everyone else. I'm no longer afraid of dying, but death doesn't seem to want anything to do with me, now that I can see no point in living. I'm afraid he's forgotten me.

Kings may usurp thrones, republics may be established, but the town scarcely stirs. Plassan sleeps while Paris fights.

Why then should money be blamed for all the dirt and crimes it causes? For is love less filthy - love which creates life?

I have but one passion—that of light. This I ask for in the name of humanity, which has suffered so much, and which has a claim to happiness. My passionate protest is but the cry of my soul. Let anyone who dares bring me before an Assize Court, and let the inquiry be held in broad daylight. I am waiting.

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.

Things...oh! you can't imagine what they were like! Things that get you here, somehow, at the back of your head, like a woman breathing down your neck...Not like a kiss...No, more insubstantial that that,,,a breath, a soft, faint breath. Oh! it's like...like feeling your soul going out of your body!

He was possessed now with that obsession for the cross in which so many lips have worn themselves away on crucifixes.

A ruined man fell from her hands like a ripe fruit, to lie rotting on the ground.

Sin ought to be something exquisite, my dear boy.

I know nothing sadder than a hunchback in love or an ugly woman full of romantic ideals.

The obligation of a writer is to live out loud.

The truth is on the march and nothing will stop it.

Oh, the fools, like a lot of good little schoolboys, scared to death of anything they've been taught is wrong!

Violence has never prospered, you can't remake the world in a day. Anyone who promises to change everything for you all at once is either a fool or a rogue!

Now we need something else...and I should be the one person to be reckoned with!

Never subject to the rules, believing that the correct judgement and healthy nature keep her in the honesty she lived in.

If you shut up truth, and bury it underground, it will but grow.

And they wandered side by side, each talking at the top of his voice, for his own benefit, as the stars grew paler and paler in the morning sky.

The Revolution of 1848 found all the Rougons on the lookout, frustrated by their bad luck, and ready to use any means necessary to advance their cause. They were a family of bandits lying in wait, ready to plunder and steal.

I defy you to find any real will, any reasoning force, outside of life. And everything is there; there is, in the world, no other will than this force which impels everything to life, a life even broader and higher.

The couple fell one atop of the other, struck down, finding consolation, at last, in death.

While the storm was erupting, she stayed, staring at it, watching the shafts of lightning, like someone who could see serious things, far away in the future in these sudden flashes of light.

With his mouth open, he gave off that alcoholic smell that you get from an old brandy cask when you take out the bung.

All of a sudden, in the good-natured child, the woman stood revealed, a disturbing woman with all the impulsive madness of her sex, opening the gates of the unknown world of desire. Nana was still smiling, but with the deadly smile of a man-eater.

For a moment he [Doctor Pascal] thought he could see, in a flash, the future of the Rougon-Macquart family, a pack of wild, satiated appetites in the midst of a blaze of gold and blood.

I believe that the future of humanity is in the progress of reason through science. I believe that the pursuit of truth, through science, is the divine ideal which man should propose to himself.

It was at times like this that one of those waves of bestiality ran through the mine, the sudden lust of the male that came over a miner when he met one of these girls on all fours, with her rear in the air and her buttocks busting out of her breeches.

It is a crime to mislead public opinion, to utilize for a deadly task this opinion which has been perverted until it becomes delirious.

Antagonism breeds extremism.

There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.

Very well, sir. A woman's opinion, however humble she may be, is always worth listening to, if she's got any sense...If you put yourself in my hands, I shall certainly make a decent man of you.

On May 5, 1896, he wrote in his diary; I have no longer anything to say; everything is alike in its horrible cruelty.

It is not I who am strong, it is reason, it is truth.

He beheld Lourdes, contaminated by Mammon, turned into a spot of abomination and perdition, transformed into a huge bazaar, where everything was sold, masses and souls alike!

Vines will be planted, corn will spring up, a whole growth of new crops; and people will still fall in love in vintages and harvests yet to come. Life is eternal; it is a perpetual renewal of birth and growth.

After a time, she believed in the reality of this comedy.

The train ran on without a driver, on and on, like some mindless, unseeing beast...

The festivity had reached that apogee of joy when you face the happy fate of being crushed to death.

Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.

She was a virgin and a warrior, disdainful of the male, which was what eventually convinced people that she really must be off her head.

Élodie, who was rising fifteen, lifted her anaemic, puffy, virginal face with its wispy hair; she was so thin-blooded that good country air seemed only to make her more sickly.

In my view you cannot claim to have seen something until you have photographed it.

Blow the candle out, I don't need to see what my thoughts look like.

It was a house of shadows, where the sunshine was filtered down to a guttering night-light strength between the laths of the window-shutters.