Literature takes its revenge on reality by making it the slave of fiction.

But women do not say 'We', except at some congress of feminists or similar formal demonstration; men say 'women', and women use the same word in referring to themselves.

Oh, it was easy to be a soldier, it was much less easy to become a man again.

All oppression creates a state of war. And this is no exception.

The man most sympathetic to women never knows her concrete situation fully. So there is no good reason to believe men when they try to defend privileges whose scope they cannot even fathom.

I should like to be the landscape which I am contemplating, I should like this sky, this quiet water to think themselves within me, that it might be I whom they express in flesh and bone, and I remain at a distance. But it is also by this distance that the sky and the water exist before me.

All the idols made by man, however terrifying they may be, are in point of fact subordinate to him, and that is why he will always have it in his power to destroy them.

Yet, there is hardly a sadder virtue than resignation. It transforms into phantoms and contingent reveries projects which had at the beginning been set up as will and freedom.

Mystery is never more than a mirage that vanishes as we draw near to look at it.

I asked Isabelle whether she was happy. I never ask myself, so I suppose the answer is yes. At all events she likes the moment of waking up. That seems to me a pretty good definition of happiness! It is the same with me: every morning, when I open my eyes, I smile.

Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it.

One night I summoned God, if He really existed, to show Himself to me. He didn't, and I never addressed another word to Him. In my heart of hearts I was very glad He didn't exist. I should have hated it if what was going on here below had had to end up in eternity.

To protest in the name of morality against 'excesses' or 'abuses' is an error which hints on active complicity. There are no 'abuses' or 'excesses' here, simpily an all-pervasive system.

It is dreadful to think that behind me my own past is no longer anything but shifting darkness.

To paint, to write, to engage in politics—these are not merely ‘sublimations'; here we have aims that are willed for their own sakes. To deny it is to falsify all human history.

Buying is a profound pleasure.

As far as I am concerned sexuality no longer exists. I used to call this indifference serenity: all at once I have come to see it in another light—it is a mutilation; it is the loss of a sense. The lack of it makes me blind to the needs, the pains, and the joys of those who do possess it.

Freedom is the source from which all significations and all values spring. It is the original condition of all justification of existence.

It is perfectly natural for the future woman to feel indignant at the limitations posed upon her by her sex. The real question is not why she should reject them: the problem is rather to understand why she accepts them.

To abstain from politics is in itself a political attitude.

The characteristic feature of all ethics is to consider human life as a game that can be won or lost and to teach man the means of winning.

If I want to define myself, I first have to say, I am a woman; all other assertions will arise from this basic truth. A man never begins by positing himself as an individual of a certain sex: that he is a man is obvious.

I could easily understand why Lambert was bored with this peace which gave us back our lives without giving us back our reasons for living.

That's what I consider true generosity: You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.

Authentic love must be founded on reciprocal recognition of two freedoms...

There is only one solution if old age is not to be an absurd parody of our former life, and that is to go on pursuing ends that give our existence a meaning.

The writer of originality, unless dead, is always shocking, scandalous; novelty disturbs and repels.

There is no justification for present existence other than its expansion into an indefinitely open future.

By the time humankind reaches the stage of writing its mythology and laws, patriarchy is definitively established: it is males who write the codes.

In all my games, my day-dreams, and my plans for the future I never changed myself into a man; all my imagination was devoted to the fulfilment of my destiny as a woman.

My contemplation is an excruciation only because it is also a joy.

Has my watch stopped? No. But its hands do not seem to be going around. Don't look at them. Think of something else - anything else: think of yesterday, a calm, ordinary, easy-flowing day, in spite of the nervous tension of waiting.

I'm not tragic these days, I don't weep, but I feel alone, bewildered, far from you, far from everything — nothing has any meaning.

There were no scruples, no feelings of respect or loyal affection that would stop us from making up our minds by the pure light of reason - and of our own desires.

I love you, with a touch of tragedy and quite madly.

Today it strikes me that the most important aspect of these conversations was not so much what we said as what we took for granted, and what in fact was not so at all. We were wrong about almost everything. An accurate character sketch must take these errors into account, since they expressed one kind of reality - our actual situation.

Sex pleasure in women is a kind of magic spell; it demands complete abandon; if words or movements oppose the magic of caresses, the spell is broken.

Which we welcomed precisely because it happened to suit our convenience.

A day in which I don't write leaves a taste of ashes.

I was too much of an extremist to be able to live under the eye of God and at the same time say both yes and no to life.

History took hold of me and never let me go thereafter.

The fact that we are human beings is infinitely more important than all the peculiarities that distinguish human beings from one another; it is never the given that confers superiorities: ‘virtue', as the ancients called it, is defined on the level of ‘that which depends on us'.

The validity of the cook's work is to be found only in the mouths of those at her table; she needs their approbation, demands that they appreciate her dishes and call for second helpings; she is upset if they are not hungry, to the point that one wonders whether the fried potatoes are for her husband or her husband for the fried potatoes.

But what does the word insist mean after a whole life of love and understanding? I have never asked anything for myself that I did not also wish for him.

All success cloaks a surrender.

Fathers never have exactly the daughters they want because they invent a notion a them that the daughters have to conform to.

My life was hurrying, racing tragically toward its end. And yet at the same time it was dripping so slowly, so very slowly now, hour by hour, minute by minute. One always has to wait until the sugar melts, the memory dies, the wound scars over, the sun sets, the unhappiness lifts and fades away.

The monologue is her form of revenge. FLAUBERT.

They don't like being seen through: as for me I'm straight I don't join their act I tear masks off.