“The artist, in my way of thinking, is a monstrosity, something outside nature. All the woes with which Providence showers him come from the stubbornness with which he dies that axiom. His refusal to admit it brings suffering not only to him, but to those with whom he is in contact. Ask women who have loved poets, or men who have loved actresses. So (and this is my conclusion) I am resigned to living as I have lived; alone, with a throng of great men rather than a social circle, with my bear-rug (bearing a bear myself), etc. I care nothing for the world, for the future, for what people will say, for any kind of established position, or even for literary fame, which in my early days I used to stay awake so many nights dreaming about. That is what I am like; that is my character.”—French novelist Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), in a letter to his mother, from Constantinople, December 15, 1850, quoted in Flaubert and Madame Bovary: A Double Portrait, by Francis Steegmuller (1939)
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