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Page [24]



Of the vaporization and centralization of the Ego.
Everything depends on that.

Of a certain sensual pleasure in the company of
those who behave extravagantly.

(I intend to begin My Heart laid bare, no matter
where or how, and to continue it from day to day,
following the inspiration of the day and the circumstances,
provided that the inspiration is vital.)


Anyone, provided that he can be amusing, has the
right to talk of himself.


I understand how one can desert a cause in order
to experience the sensation of serving another.

It would perhaps be pleasant to be alternately
victim and executioner.


Stupidities of Girardin:

`We are accustomed to take the bull by the horns.
Let us therefore take the speech by its conclusion'
(November 7, 1861).

Then Girardin believes that the horns of bulls are
set in their behinds. He confounds the horns with
the tail.

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`Before imitating the Ptolemies of French journalism, the
Belgian journalists have taken the trouble to meditate upon
the problem which I have been studying for the last thirty
years in all its aspects—as the volume which will shortly
appear, entitled "Questions de presse", will prove—with
the result that they are in no hurry to treat as a matter for
superlative ridicule
[1] an opinion which is as indisputable as
the statement that the earth revolves and that the sun does
not revolve.'



There are those who pretend to have no difficulty in believing
that the earth turns upon its own axis, the sky remaining
stationary. These persons do not perceive that, when all which
takes place around us is considered, their opinion is a matter
for superlative ridicule (πανυ γελοίοτατον). Ptolemy (Almagest.,
Book I, Chapter VI).

Et habet mea mentrita mentum.



Woman is the opposite of the Dandy. Therefore
she should inspire horror.

Woman is hungry, and she wants to eat; thirsty,
and she wants to drink.

She is in rut and she wants to be possessed.

What admirable qualities!

Woman is natural, that is to say abominable.

Thus she is always vulgar; the opposite, in fact, of
the Dandy.

Concerning the Legion of Honour. The man who
solicits the Cross has the air of saying: If I am not
decorated for having done my duty, I shall cease to
do it.


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If a man has merit, what is the good of decorating
him? If he has none, he can be decorated, since it
will give him distinction.

To consent to being decorated is to recognize that
the State or a prince has the right to judge of your
merits, to dignify you, etc. . . .

Besides, Christian humility forbids the Cross, even
if pride does not.

Calculation in favour of God. Nothing exists without

Therefore my existence has a purpose.

What purpose? I do not know.

Therefore, it is not I who have appointed that
purpose. It is someone wiser than I.

It is therefore necessary to pray to this someone to
enlighten me. That is the wisest course.

The Dandy should aspire to be uninterruptedly
sublime. He should live and sleep in front of a mirror.


Analysis of the counter-religions. Example: sacred

What is sacred prostitution?

Nervous excitement.

The mystery of Paganism. Mysticism: the common
feature of Paganism and Christianity.

Paganism and Christianity confirm each other.

The Revolution and the Cult of Reason confirm
the doctrine of Sacrifice.

Superstition is the well of all truths.


Page [27]


There is in all Change something at once sordid
and agreeable, which smacks of infidelity and household
removals. This is sufficient to explain the
French Revolution.


My wild excitement in 1848.

What was the nature of that excitement?

The taste for revenge. Natural pleasure in destruction.
Literary excitement; memories of my reading.

The 15th of May. Still the pleasure in destruction.
A legitimate pleasure, if what is natural be legitimate.

The horrors of June. Madness of the People and
madness of the Bourgeoisie. Natural delight in crime.

My fury at the Coup d'Etat. How many gunshots
have I endured! Another Bonaparte! What infamy!

And, meanwhile, all is quiet. Has not the President
some right to invoke?

What Napoleon III is. What he is worth. To find
the explanation of his nature and of his mission
under Providence.


To be a useful person has always appeared to me
something particularly horrible.

1848 was amusing only because of those castles in
the air which each man built for his Utopia.

1848 was charming only through an excess of the

Robespierre can only be admired because he has
made several beautiful phrases.


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Revolution confirms Superstition, by offering


Politics. I have no convictions, as men of my century
understand the word, because I have no ambition.
There is no basis in me for a conviction.

There is a certain cowardice, a certain weakness,
rather, among respectable folk.

Only brigands are convinced—of what? That they
must succeed. And so they do succeed.

How should I succeed, since I have not even the
desire to make the attempt?

Glorious empires may be founded upon crime and
noble religions upon imposture.

Nevertheless, I have some convictions, in a higher
sense, which could not be understood by the people
of my time.


The sense of solitude, since my childhood. In spite
of my family, above all when surrounded by my
comrades—the sense of a destiny eternally solitary.

Yet a taste for life and for pleasure which is very


Nearly our whole lives are employed in foolish
inquiries. Nevertheless, there are questions which
should excite man's curiosity in the highest degree,


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and which, to judge from his customary mode of life,
do not inspire him with any.

Where are our dead friends?

Why are we here?

Do we come from some other place?

What is free will?

Can it be reconciled with the laws of Providence?

Is there a finite or an infinite number of souls?

What of the number of habitable lands? Etc.,
etc. . . .


Nations only produce great men in spite of themselves.
Thus the great man is the conqueror of his
whole nation.

The ridiculous modern comic religions:





Belief in Progress is a doctrine of idlers and Belgians.
It is the individual relying upon his neighbours
to do his work.

There cannot be any Progress (true progress, that
is to say, moral) except within the individual and by
the individual himself.

But the world is composed of people who can think
only in common, in the herd. Like the Sociétés belges.

There are also people who can only take their
pleasures in a flock. The true hero takes his pleasure


Page [30]


Eternal superiority of the Dandy.

What is the Dandy?


My views on the theatre. In childhood and still
today, the thing which I have always thought most
beautiful about the theatre is the chandelier—a fine,
luminous, crystalline object with a complex spherical

Meanwhile, I do not entirely deny the value of
dramatic literature. Only I should like the actors
mounted on very high pattens, wearing masks more
expressive than the human face and speaking
through megaphones; also the female parts should
be played by men.

But, after all, whether seen through the big or the
little end of the opera glass, the chandelier has always
appeared to me to be the protagonist.


One must work, if not from inclination at least
from despair, since, as I have fully proved, to work
is less wearisome than to amuse oneself.


There are in every man, always, two simultaneous
allegiances, one to God, the other to Satan.

Invocation of God, or Spirituality, is a desire to
climb higher; that of Satan, or animality, is delight


Page [31]
in descent. It is to this last that love for woman and
intimate conversations with animals, dogs, cats,
etc. . . . must be ascribed. The joys which derive
from these two loves are appropriate to the nature
of these two loves.


Intoxication of humanity: a great picture to paint:

From the aspect of Charity.

From the aspect of licentiousness.

From the aspect of literature or of the actor.


The Question (torture), when considered as the
art of discovering the truth, is a barbarous stupidity;
it is the application of a material means to a spiritual

The penalty of death is the expression of a mystical
idea, totally misunderstood today. The penalty of
death does not attempt to save Society, that is, in the
material sense. It attempts to save spiritually Society
and the guilty person. That the sacrifice may be
perfect there should be joy and consent on the part
of the victim. To give chloroform to a person condemned
to death would be impious, for he would
thereby be deprived of his consciousness of grandeur
as a victim and of his hopes of attaining Paradise.

As for torture, it has been devised by the evil half
of man's nature, which is thirsty for voluptuous
pleasures. Cruelty and sensual pleasure are identical,
like extreme heat and extreme cold.


Page [32]


My opinion of the vote and of the right of election.
Of the rights of man.

The element of baseness in any sort of government

A Dandy does nothing. Can you imagine a dandy
addressing the common herd, except to make game
of them?

There is no form of rational and assured government
save an aristocracy.

A monarchy or a republic, based upon democracy,
are equally absurd and feeble.

The immense nausea of advertisements.

There are but three beings worthy of respect: the
priest, the warrior and the poet. To know, to kill
and to create.

The rest of mankind may be taxed and drudged,
they are born for the stable, that is to say, to practise
what they call professions.


We should observe that the abolishers of the death
penalty must be more or less interested in its abolition.

Often they are guillotiners. Their attitude may be
thus expressed: `I want to be able to cut off your
head, but you shan't touch mine'.

The abolishers of the Soul (materialists) are necessarily
abolishers of hell; they, certainly, are interested.

At all events, they are people who fear to live again
—lazy people.


Page [33]


Madame de Metternich, although she is a princess,
has forgotten to answer me, regarding what I said
about her and Wagner.

Nineteenth-century manners.


The story of my translation of Edgar Poe.

The story of the Fleurs du Mal. The humiliation of
being misunderstood and my lawsuit.

The story of my relations with all the celebrated
men of the age.

Some amusing portraits of certain imbeciles:

Clément de Ris.


Portraits of magistrates, officials, newspaper editors,

Portraits of artists in general.

Of the chief editor and of the rank and file. The
immense pleasure which the French people take in
being regimented. It is the If I were King!

Portraits and Anecdotes.

François Buloz—Houssaye—the precious Rouy—
de Calonne—Charpentier, who corrects his authors,
by virtue of the equality bestowed on all men by the
immortal principles of (17)89—Chevalier, a really
typical editor-in-chief under the Empire.


On George Sand. The woman Sand is the Prudhomme
of immorality.

She has always been a moralist.


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Only she used to work as an anti-moralist.

She has never been an artist. She has that celebrated
flowing style, so dear to the bourgeois.

She is stupid, she is clumsy, and she is a chatterbox.
She has, in her moral concepts, the same profundity
of judgement and delicacy of feeling as a concierge
or a kept woman.

What she says about her mother.

What she says about Poetry.

Her love for the working classes.

It is indeed a proof of the degradation of the men
of this century that several have been capable of
falling in love with this latrine.

See the preface to Mademoiselle La Quintinie, in
which she pretends that true Christians do not
believe in Hell.

Sand represents the God of decent folk, the god of
concierges and thieving servants.

She has good reasons for wishing to abolish Hell.


The Devil and George Sand. It must not be supposed
that the Devil only tempts men of genius. Doubtless,
he despises imbeciles, but he does not disdain their
co-operation. Quite the reverse; it is upon them that
he builds his greatest hopes.

Consider George Sand. She is, first and last, a
prodigious blockhead, but she is possessed. It is the Devil
who has persuaded her to trust in her good-nature and
common-sense, that she may persuade all other prodigious
blockheads to trust in their good-nature and


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I cannot think of this stupid creature without a
certain shudder of horror. If I were to meet her, I
should not be able to resist throwing a stoup of holy
water at her head.


George Sand is one of those decayed ingénues who
will never leave the boards. I have lately read a
preface (the preface to Mademoiselle La Quintinie) in
which she pretends that the true Christian cannot
believe in Hell. She has good reasons for wishing to
abolish Hell.


I am sick of France; chiefly because everybody is
like Voltaire.

Emerson has forgotten Voltaire in his Representative
He could have written a fine chapter entitled
Voltaire, or the Anti-Poet, the king of loungers, the
prince of triflers, the anti-artist, the preacher to concierges,
the Father Gigogne of the Editors of Le Siècle.


In Les Oreilles du Comte de Chesterfield, Voltaire jests
about our immortal soul, which has dwelt for nine
months amidst excrement and urine. Voltaire, like
all loafers, hates mystery.

Being unable to abolish Love, the Church has
desired at least to disinfect it, and has invented

Note.—He might, at least, have traced, in this localization, a
malicious and satirical intent of Providence against Love, and,
in the mode of generation, a symbol of original sin, since we
can only make love with our excretory organs.


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Portrait of the literary rabble.

Doctor Estaminetus Crapulosus Pedantissimus.
His portrait executed in the manner of Praxiteles.

His pipe.

His opinions.

His Hegelism.

His foulness.

His ideas on art.

His spleen.

His jealousy.

A fine portrait of modern youth.


Φαρμαχοτρίδης, ἀνήρ καὶ τῶν τούς όψεις ες τα
δαυματα τρεψοντων.



Theology. What is the Fall?

If it is unity become duality, it is God who has

In other words, would not creation be the fall of

Dandyism. What is the superior man?

He is not a specialist.

He is a man of leisure and of liberal education.

To be rich and to love work.


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Why does the man of parts prefer harlots to
Society women, although they are equally stupid?

To discover this.


There are certain women who are like the red
ribbon of the Legion of Honour. They are no longer
desired because they have been contaminated by
certain men.

It is for the same reason that I would not put on
the breeches of a man with the itch.

What is annoying about Love is that it is a crime
in which one cannot do without an accomplice.


Study of the great malady, horror of one's home.
Causes of the malady. Progressive growth of the

Indignation aroused by the universal fatuity of all
classes, all persons, of both sexes, at all ages.

Man loves man so much that, even when he flees
from the town, he is still in search of the mob; he
wishes, in fact, to rebuild the town in the country.


Lecture by Durandeau on the Japanese. (`I am,
before all else, a Frenchman.') The Japanese are
monkeys, Darjon it was who told me so.

Lecture by a doctor, a friend of Mathieu, on the


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art of not having children, Moses, and the immortality
of the Soul. Art is a civilizing influence


The faces of a sage man and his family, who live
on the sixth floor, drinking café au lait.

Lord Nacquart senior and Lord Nacquart junior.

How the Nacquart son has come to be a counsel
in the Court of Appeal.


Of the delight in and preference for military metaphors
shown by the French. Here every metaphor
wears moustaches.

Militant literature.

To hold the breach.

To keep the flag flying.

To emerge with flying colours.

To plunge into the fray.

One of the old brigade.

All these glorious phrases are commonly applied
to drunkards and bar-flies.


French metaphors.

A soldier of the judicial press (Bertin).

The militant press.


To be added to the military metaphors:

The fighting poets.


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The literary vanguard.

This use of military metaphor reveals minds not
militant but formed for discipline, that is, for compliance;
minds born servile, Belgian minds, which
can think only collectively.


Desire for Pleasure attaches us to the Present. Care
for our safety makes us dependent upon the Future.

He who clings to Pleasure, that is, to the Present,
makes me think of a man rolling down a slope who,
in trying to grasp hold of some bushes, tears them up
and carries them with him in his fall.

To be, before all else, a great man and a saint according
to one's own standards.


Of the People's hatred of Beauty. Examples:
Jeanne and Mme. Muller.


Political. After all, the supreme glory of Napoleon
III, in the eyes of History and of the French people,
will have been to prove that anybody can govern a
great nation as soon as they have got control of the
telegraph and the national press.

They are imbeciles who believe that such things
can be accomplished without the permission of the
People—and that glory can only be founded upon


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Dictators are the servants of the People—nothing
more; a damnable job, the glory and the result of
adapting a brain to the requirements of the national


What is Love?

The need to emerge from oneself.

Man is an animal which adores.

To adore is to sacrifice and prostitute onself.

Thus all Love is prostitution.


The most prostitute of all beings is the Supreme
Being, God Himself, since for each man he is the
friend above all others; since he is the common,
inexhaustible fount of Love.


Do not punish me through my Mother and do not
punish my Mother on my behalf—I entrust to your
keeping the souls of my father and of Mariette—
Give me the strength immediately to perform my
daily task and thus to become a hero and a saint.


A chapter on the indestructible, eternal, universal,
and ingenious ferocity of Men.

Of delight in bloodshed.

Of the intoxication of bloodshed.

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Of the intoxication of the mob.

Of the intoxication of the tortured (Damiens).


There are no great men save the poet, the priest,
and the soldier.

The man who sings, the man who offers up sacrifice,
and the man who sacrifices himself.

The rest are born for the whip.

Let us beware of the rabble, of common-sense,
good-nature, inspiration, and evidence.


I have always been astonished that women are
allowed to enter churches. What conversation can
they have with God?

The Eternal Venus (capricious, hysterical, full of
whims) is one of the seductive shapes of the Devil.

On the day when a young writer corrects his first
proof-sheet he is as proud as a schoolboy who has
just got his first dose of pox.

Do not forget a long chapter on the art of divination
by water, by the cards, by chiromancy, etc.


Woman cannot distinguish between her soul and
her body. She simplifies things, like an animal. A
cynic would say that it is because she has nothing
but a body.

A chapter on The Toilet.

Morality of the toilet, the delights of the toilet.


Page [42]


Of nincompoops.

Of professors.

Of judges.

Of priests.

And of Cabinet Ministers.

The precious little great men of the day.



Octave Feuillet.


The editors of newspapers, François Buloz, Houssaye,
Rouy, Girardin, Texier, de Calonne, Solar,
Turgan, Dalloz.

A list of guttersnipes. Solar first of all.


To be a great man and a saint by one's own standards,
that is all that matters.


Nadar is the most astounding example of vitality.
Adrien used to tell me that this brother Felix had all
his viscera double. I have been jealous of him, seeing
him succeed so well in everything which is not

Veuillot is so uncouth and such an enemy of the
arts that one might suppose the whole democracy
of the world had taken refuge in his breast.

Development of the portrait. Supremacy of the
pure idea over the Christian and the babouviste communist.


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The fanaticism of humility. Not even to aspire to
understand religion.



Of slavery.

Of Society women.

Of prostitutes.

Of magistrates.

Of the sacraments.

The man of letters is the enemy of the world.

Of bureaucrats.


In Love, as in nearly all human affairs, a satisfactory
relationship is the result of a misunderstanding.
This misunderstanding constitutes pleasure. The
man cries: Oh, my angel. The woman coos: Mamma!
Mamma! And these two imbeciles are persuaded that
they think alike. The unbridgeable gulf—the cause
of their failure in communication remains—unbridged.


Why is the spectacle of the sea so infinitely and
eternally agreeable?

Because the sea presents at once the idea of immensity
and of movement. Six or seven leagues
represent for man the radius of the infinite. An
infinite in little. What matter, if it suffices to suggest
the idea of all infinity? Twelve or fourteen leagues
of liquid in movement are enough to convey to man


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the highest expression of beauty which he can
encounter in his transient abode.


Nothing upon the earth is interesting except

What is the universal religion? (Chateaubriand,
de Maistre, the Alexandrines, Capé.)

There is a universal religion devised for the alchemists
of thought, a religion which has nothing to do
with Man, considered as a divine memento.


Saint-Marc Girardin has uttered one phrase which
will endure: `Let us be mediocre!'

Let us put this beside the words of Robespierre:
`Those who do not believe in the immortality of their
being pass judgement upon themselves'.

This phrase of Saint-Marc Girardin implies an
immense hatred of the sublime.

Whoever sees Saint-Marc Girardin walking in the
street is reminded immediately of a fat goose, full of
self-conceit, but bewildered and waddling along the
high road in front of the stage-coach.


Theory of the true civilization. It is not to be found
in gas or steam or table-turning. It consists in the
diminution of the traces of original sin.

Nomad peoples, shepherds, hunters, farmers and
even cannibals, may all, by virtue of energy and


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personal dignity, be the superiors of our races of the

These will perhaps be destroyed.

Theocracy and communism.


I have grown, for the most part, by means of

To my great detriment; for leisure without fortune
breeds debts and the insults which result from debts.

But to my great profit also, so far as sensibility is
concerned and meditation and the faculty of dandyism
and dilletantism.

Other men of letters are, for the most part, common,
ignorant earth-grubbers.


The modern girl according to the publishers.

The modern girl according to the editors-in-chief.

The modern girl as a bugbear, a monster, an
assassin of art.

The modern girl as she is in reality.

A little blockhead and a little slut. The extreme of
imbecility combined with the extreme of depravity.

There are in the modern girl all the despicable
qualities of the footpad and the schoolboy.


Warning to non-communists:

All is common property, even God.


Page [46]


The Frenchman is a farmyard animal, so well
domesticated that he dares not jump over any fence.
Witness his tastes in art and literature.

He is an animal of the Latin race; he does not
object to filth in his place of abode; and in literature
he is scatophagous. He dotes on excrements. That is
what pothouse men of letters call the Gallic salt.

A choice example of French depravity: of the nation
which pretends to be independent above all others.

(Here a paragraph cut out from a newspaper is
fastened to the manuscript.)

The following extract from M. de Vaulabelle's fine book
will suffice to give an idea of the impression made by Lavalette's
escape upon the least enlightened section of the Royalist party:

`The tide of Royalism, at this period of the Second Restoration,
was rising almost to the point of madness. The young
Josephine de Lavalette was receiving her education at one of
the principal convents of Paris
(l'Abbaye-au-Bois). She had
left it merely to come to kiss her father. When she returned
after the escape, and when the very modest part she had played
in it was known, an immense outcry was raised against the
child; the nuns and her companions avoided her and a number
of the parents declared that they would remove their daughters
if she were allowed to remain there. They did not wish, they
said, to allow their daughters to come into contact with a
young person who had been guilty of such conduct and such
an example. When Madame de Lavalette recovered her liberty,
six weeks later, she was obliged to take away her daughter.'


Page [47]


Princes and generations. It is equally unjust to attribute
to reigning princes the merits or the vices of
those whom they actually govern.

These merits and these vices are almost always, as
statistics and logic can prove, attributable to the
influence of the preceding government. Louis XIV
inherits from the men of Louis XIII: glory. Napoleon
I inherits from the men of the Republic: glory.
Louis-Philippe inherits from the men of Charles X:
glory. Napoleon inherits from the men of Louis-Philippe:

It is always the preceding government which is
responsible for the morals of its successor, in so far as
a government can be responsible for anything.

The sudden cutting short of a reign by circumstance
prevents this law from being quite exact as
regards time. One cannot mark exactly where an
influence ends, but this influence will survive
throughout the whole generation which has undergone
it in youth.


Of youth's hatred of the quoters of precedents.
The quoter is its enemy.

`Even spelling I would hand over to the hangman.'

A fine picture to paint: the literary riff-raff.

Not to forget a portrait of Forgues, the plagiarist,
the cream-skinner of letters.

Ineradicable desire for prostitution in the heart
of man, whence is born his horror of solitude. He


Page [48]
wants to be two. The man of genius wants to be one,
and therefore solitary. Glory is to remain one, and to
prostitute oneself in an individual manner.

It is this horror of solitude, this need to lose his
ego in exterior flesh, which man calls grandly the need
for love.

Two fine religions, immortalized upon walls, the
eternal obsessions of the People: a p—(the antique
phallus) and `Long live Barbès!' or `Down with
Philippe!' or `Long live the Republic!'


To study in all its modes, in the works of nature and
in the works of man, the universal and eternal law
of gradation, of the little by little, of the by degrees,
with forces progressively increasing, like compound
interest in money matters.

It is the same with literary and artistic talents; it is
the same with the variable treasures of the will.


The crush of minor literary men whom one sees
at funerals, distributing handshakes and trying to
catch the eye of the writer of the obituary notice.

Of the funerals of famous men.


Molière. My opinion of Tartuffe is that it is not a
comedy but a pamphlet. An atheist, if he is simply
a well-educated man, would reflect, in thinking
about this piece, that there are certain serious
questions which must never be referred to the rabble.


Page [49]


To glorify the cult of pictures (my great, my
unique, my primitive passion).

To glorify vagabondage and what may be called
bohemianism. Cult of the multiple sensations expressed
by music. Refer here to Liszt.

Of the necessity of thrashing women.

One can chastise those whom one loves. As in the
case of children. But that implies the sorrow of
despising those whom one loves.

Of cuckolds and cuckoldom.

The sorrows of the cuckold.

They are born of his pride, of false reasoning concerning
honour and happiness, and of a love which
has been foolishly withdrawn from God to be
bestowed upon his fellow-creatures. It is always the
animal idolator being deceived in his idol.


Analysis of insolent imbecility. Clément de Ris and
Paul Pérignon.


The more a man cultivates the arts the less he
fornicates. A more and more apparent cleavage
occurs between the spirit and the brute.

Only the brute is really potent. Sexuality is the
lyricism of the masses.

To fornicate is to aspire to enter into another; the
artist never emerges from himself.

I have forgotten the name of that slut. Bah! I shall
remember it at the last judgement.


Page [50]

Music conveys the idea of space.

So do all the arts, more or less; since they are
number and since number is a translation of space.

To will every day to be the greatest of men!


When I was a child I wanted sometimes to be pope,
but a military pope, and sometimes to be an actor.

The pleasures that I derived from these two


Even when quite a child I felt two conflicting
sensations in my heart: the horror of life and the
ecstasy of life. That, indeed, was the mark of a
neurasthenic idler.


Nations produce great men only in spite of themselves.

Speaking of the actor and of my childish dreams,
a chapter upon what constitutes, in the human soul,
the vocation of the actor, the glory of the actor, the
art of the actor and his situation in the world.

The theory of Legouvé. Is Legouvé a dispassionate
joker, a Swift, who has tried to make France swallow
a new absurdity?

His choice. Good, in the sense that Samson is not
an actor.

Of the true grandeur of pariahs.

It is possible, indeed, that virtue would injure the
talents of pariahs.


Page [51]


Commerce is, in its very essence, satanic. Commerce
is return of the loan, a loan in which there is
the understanding: give me more than I give you.

The spirit of every business-man is completely

Commerce is natural, therefore shameful.

The least vile of all merchants is he who says: `Let
us be virtuous, since, thus, we shall gain much more
money than the fools who are dishonest'.

For the merchant, even honesty is a financial

Commerce is satanic, because it is the basest and
vilest form of egoism.


When Jesus Christ says, `Blessed are they that
hunger, for they shall be filled," Jesus Christ is
calculating on probabilities.


The world only goes round by misunderstanding.

It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree.

For if, by ill luck, people understood each other,
they would never agree.

The man of intelligence, who will never agree with
anyone, should cultivate a pleasure in the conversation
of imbeciles and the study of worthless books.
From these he will derive a sardonic amusement
which will largely repay him for his pains.


Page [52]


Any official, whether a minister, a theatre manager
or a newspaper editor, can sometimes be an
estimable individual, but he is never a man of distinction.
They are persons without personality,
unoriginal, born for office, that is, for domestic
service to the public.


God and His profundity. It is possible even for the
intelligent man to seek in God that helper and friend
whom he can never find. God is the eternal confidant
in that tragedy of which each man is hero. Perhaps
there are usurers and assassins who say to God:
`Lord, grant that my next enterprise may be successful!'
But the prayers of these vile persons do not mar
the virtue and joy of my own.


Every idea is endowed of itself with immortal life,
like a human being. All created form, even that
which is created by man, is immortal. For form is
independent of matter: molecules do not constitute

Anecdotes of Emile Douay and Constantin Guys,
and how they destroyed, or believed that they
destroyed, their works.


It is impossible to glance through any newspaper,
no matter what the day, the month or the year,
without finding on every line the most frightful


Page [53]
traces of human perversity, together with the most
astonishing boasts of probity, charity, and benevolence
and the most brazen statements regarding the
progress of civilization.

Every journal, from the first line to the last, is
nothing but a tissue of horrors. Wars, crimes, thefts,
lecheries, tortures, the evil deeds of princes, of
nations, of private individuals; an orgy of universal

And it is with this loathsome appetizer that civilized
man daily washes down his morning repast.
Everything in this world oozes crime: the newspaper,
the street wall, and the human countenance.

I am unable to comprehend how a man of honour
could take a newspaper in his hands without a
shudder of disgust.


The power of the amulet as displayed by philosophy.
The sous with holes bored in them, the
talismans, each man's souvenirs.

Dissertation on the moral dynamic. Of the virtue
of the sacraments.

A tendency to mysticism since my childhood. My
conversations with God.


Of Obsession, of Possession, of Prayer and Faith.

The dynamic Ethic of Jesus.

Renan finds it ridiculous that Jesus should believe
in the omnipotence, even over matter, of Prayer and


Page [54]

The sacraments are the modes of this dynamic.

Of the infamy of the press, a great obstacle to the
development of the Beautiful.

The Jews who are librarians and bear witness to
the Redemption.


All these imbecile bourgeois who ceaselessly utter
the words: immoral, immorality, morality in art,
and other idiotic phrases, make me think of Louise
Villedieu, the five-franc whore, who, having accompanied
me one day to the Louvre, where she had
never been before, began blushing and covering her
face with her hands. And as we stood before the
immortal statues and pictures she kept plucking me
by the sleeve and asking how they could exhibit such
indecencies in public.

The fig-leaves of Mr. Nieuwerkerke.


In order that the law of Progress could exist each
man would have to be willing to enforce it; for it is
only when every individual has made up his mind
to move forward that humanity will be in a state of

This hypothesis may serve to show that two contradictory
ideas—free-will and destiny—are identical.
Not only will there be identity between free-will and
destiny in Progress, but this identity has always
existed. This identity is history—the history of
nations and individuals.


Page [55]


A sonnet to be quoted in My Heart Laid Bare.
Quote also the poem on Roland:

I dreamt that night that Philis had returned
Fair as she was in the brightness of day,
And I desired once again to possess her as ghost
And, like Ixion, to embrace a cloud.
Her naked shadow stole into my bed,
Saying, `Dear Damon, see, I have come back;
Only grown fairer in my sad abode
Where fate has held me since my departure.
`I am come to kiss again the most beautiful of lovers;
I am come to die again within thine embrace.'
Then, when my idol had abused my flame,
She said, `Adieu. I must return to the dead.
As thou hast bragged of having — my body,
So also canst thou boast of having — my soul.'

Parnasse Satyrique

I believe that this sonnet is by Maynard.
Malassis pretends that it is by Théophile.


Hygiene. Projects. The more one desires, the stronger
one's will.

The more one works, the better one works and
the more one wants to work.

The more one produces, the more fecund one


Page [56]

After a debauch, one feels oneself always to be
more solitary, more abandoned.

In the moral as in the physical world, I have been
conscious always of an abyss, not only of the abyss
of sleep, but of the abyss of action, of day-dreaming,
of recollection, of desire, of regret, of remorse, of the
beautiful, of number . . . etc.

I have cultivated my hysteria with delight and
terror. Now I suffer continually from vertigo, and
today, 23rd of January, 1862, I have received a
singular warning, I have felt the wind of the wing of
madness pass over me.


Hygiene. Morality. To Honfleur! as soon as possible,
before I sink further.

How many have been the presentiments and signs
sent me already by God that it is high time to act, to
consider the present moment as the most important
of all moments and to take for my everlasting delight
my accustomed torment, that is to say, my work!


Hygiene. Conduct. Morality. We are weighed down,
every moment, by the conception and the sensation
of Time. And there are but two means of escaping
and forgetting this nightmare: Pleasure and work.
Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us

The more we employ one of these means, the
more the other will inspire us with repugnance.

One can only forget Time by making use of it.

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Nothing can be accomplished save by degrees.

De Maistre and Edgar Poe have taught me to

No task seems long but that which one dares not
begin. It becomes a nightmare.


Hygiene. In putting off what one has to do, one
runs the risk of never being able to do it. In refusing
instant conversion one risks damnation.

To heal all things, wretchedness, disease or melancholy,
absolutely nothing is required but an inclination
for work.


Precious notes. Do, every day, what duty and prudence

If you worked every day your life would be more
supportable. Work six days without relaxing.

To find subjects, Γνωδί σεαυτόν.

Always be a poet, even in prose.

The grand style (nothing more beautiful than the

First make a start, then apply logic and analysis.
Every hypothesis demands a conclusion.

To achieve a daily madness.


Hygiene. Conduct. Morality. Two parts. Debts.


Friends (my mother, friends, myself).


Page [58]

Thus, 1,000 francs should be divided into two
parts of 500 francs each, and the second divided into
three parts.

At Honfleur. To go through and classify all my
letters (two days) and all my debts (two days). (Four
categories: notes of hand, large debts, small debts, friends.)
A classification of my engravings (two days). A
classification of my notes (two days).


Hygiene. Morality. Conduct. Too late, perhaps!—
My mother and Jeanne—My health, for pity's, for
duty's sake!—The maladies of Jeanne. My mother's
infirmities and loneliness.

To do one's duty every day and trust in God for
the morrow.

The only method of earning money is to work in
a disinterested manner.

A summary of wisdom. Toilet. Prayer. Work.

Prayer: charity, wisdom and strength.

Without charity I am no more than a resounding

My humiliations have been the graces of God.

My phase of egoism—is it passed?

The faculty of being able to meet the need of the
moment; exactitude, in other words, must infallibly
obtain its reward.

Prolonged unhappiness has upon the soul the same
effect as old age upon the body: one cannot stir, one
takes to one's bed. . . .

Extreme youth, on the other hand, finds reasons for
procrastination; when there is plenty of time to spare,


Page [59]
one is persuaded that years may be allowed to pass
before one need play one's part.



Hygiene. Conduct. Morality. Jeanne 300, my mother
200, myself 300—800 francs a month. To work from
six o'clock in the morning, fasting at midday. To
work blindly, without aim, like a madman. We shall
see the result.

I believe that I stake my destiny upon hours of
uninterrupted work.

All may be redeemed. There is still time. Who
knows, even, if some new pleasure . . . ?

Fame, payment of my debts. Wealth of Jeanne
and my mother.

I have never yet tasted the pleasure of an accomplished

Power of the fixed idea, power of hope.

The habit of doing one's duty drives out fear.

One must desire to dream and know how to dream.
The evocation of inspiration. A magic art. To sit
down at once and write. I reason too much.

Immediate work, even when it is bad, is better
than day-dreaming.

A succession of small acts of will achieves a large

Every defeat of the will forms a portion of lost
matter. How wasteful, then, is hesitation! One may
judge this by the immensity of the final effort necessary
to repair so many losses.


Page [60]

The man who says his evening prayer is a captain
posting his sentinels. He can sleep.

Dreams and warnings of death.

Up to the present I have only enjoyed my
memories alone; I must enjoy them in the company
of another. To make the pleasures of the spirit one's

Because I can understand the nature of a glorious
existence, I believe myself capable of its realization.
Oh, Jean-Jacques!

Work engenders good habits, sobriety and chastity,
from which result health, riches, continuous and
strengthening inspiration and charity. Age quod agis.

Fish, cold baths, showers, moss, pastilles occasionally,
together with the abstinence from all stimulants.

Iceland moss . . . 125 grammes.

White sugar . . . 250 grammes.

Soak the moss for twelve to fifteen hours in a
sufficient quantity of cold water, then pour off the
water. Boil the moss in two litres of water upon a
slow and constant fire until these two litres are
reduced to one, skim the froth off once, then add the
250 grammes of sugar and let it thicken to the consistency
of syrup. Let it cool off. Take three very large
tablespoonfuls daily, in the morning, at midday and
in the evening. One need not be afraid to increase the
doses if the crises are too frequent.


Hygiene. Conduct. Method. I swear to observe henceforth
the following rules as immutable rules of my


Page [61]

To pray every morning to God, the source of all
power and all justice; to my father, to Mariette and to Poe,

as intercessors; that they may give me the necessary
strength to fulfil all my appointed tasks and that
they may grant my mother a sufficient span of life in
which to enjoy my transformation; to work all day
long, or as long, at any rate, as my strength allows me;
to put my trust in God, that is, in Justice itself, for the
success of my plans; to offer, every evening, a further
prayer, asking God for life and strength for my
mother and myself; to divide all my earnings into
four parts—one for current expenses, one for my
creditors, one for my friends and one for my mother
—to obey the strictest principles of sobriety, the first
being the abstinence from all stimulants whatsoever.