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A good author, who writes with care, often feels that the expression he was looking for for a long time without recognizing it, and which he has finally found, is the one that is simplest, most natural, which seems to have presented itself from the first and without effort.


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A medioce spirit tries to write divinely; a good one tries to write reasonably. I forgive him, and more can't be expected from another author; I am even sorry that he had listen to beautiful things that he didn't write. Then they say that they were the first ones to approve of the work, and that the public is of their opinion. Why can't you simply say: "This is a good book"? You say it, it is true, with all of France, with foreigners as well as your compatriots, once it has been printed everywhere in Europe and has been translated into many languages: but by then the time has passed.

By chance, I read my work to him, and he listened. Once I was done, he talked to me about his. Est-il lu, il me parle du sien. These latter cry: "Why suppress this thought? What else can an author do, but dare to share the opinion of the people who approve of it? You must leave it to them to supply everything, and write for nobody else. They understand a phrase from the word that begins it, and a whole chapter from a phrase: if you have read them a single part of your work, that is enough, they have experienced it and understand everything.

Comparisons of a flood whose course, though rapid, is smooth and uniform, or of a fire that, driven by the wind, spreads far over a forest and consumes oaks and pines, give them no idea of eloquence. I don't know if this last type can still be found. Damis cedes to the multitude and ingenuously says with the public that Capys is a frigid one.

Poésie 1/10 (Le cancre, de Jacques Prevert)-French

A novelist thinks he is being sublime when his reasoning is based on a hollow politic. A novelist tranquilly falls asleep in the evening reading a novel that wastes his night, and that he is obliged to forget when he wakes up in the morning. Le sublime du nouvelliste est le raisonnement creux sur la politique. He carries his project higher and works toward a nobler end: he asks from men a greater and rarer success than praises, and even than any reward, which is to make them better. Fools sometimes admire authors, but they are fools.

Les sots admirent quelquefois, mais ce sont des sots. This sex goes farther than ours in letter writing. However, what a man could be made from these two writers of comedy! Mais quel homme on aurait pu faire de ces deux comiques! They both knew nature, with the difference that the first, with a full and uniform style, shows all at once what is most beautiful and noble, most naive and simple, as if it were painting or history.

The other, without discernment, without precision, with a free and unequal pen, just after charging his descriptions, gets weighed down in details; he makes an anatomy; he feigns, exaggerates, and passes the truth in nature: he makes a novel. When it is bad, it passes far beyond the worst things, it's the charm of the canaille; when it is good, it is exquisite and excellent, it can be enjoyed by the most delicate tastes.

It was a publication edited by Fontenelle. Il y a bien d'autres ouvrages qui lui ressemblent. I I don't know how the Opera, with such perfect music and such royal expenses, is able to be boring.

Qui doute que la chasse sur l'eau, l'enchantement de la Table, la merveille du Labyrinthe ne soient encore de leur invention? Is it less natural to show tenderness for something pitiable than to break into laughter at something ridiculous? That it makes them laugh? Moreover, isn't the truth as vividly represented through images as in comedy? Doesn't it take something true in both genres to move someones soul?

Is it that easy to satisfy someone? It is possible to put a fool there so low and crude, or even so tasteless and indifferent, that it is desirable neither for the poet to give him attention, nor for the spectators to distract themselves with him. Therefore, by this rule, one will soon occupy the whole amphitheatre with a lackey who whistles, with a patient in his bath robe, with a drunk who's sleeping or vomiting: what could be more natural? It belongs to an effeminate to get out of bed late, pass a part of the day at his toilette, look at himself in the mirror, perfume himself, decorate his beauty spot, receive invitations and make responses.

Put this character into a scene. The longer it goes on, one act, two acts, the more it will be natural and conform to the original; but the more, too, it will be cold and insipid. What grandeur is missing from Mithridates, Porus and Burrhus? In the first there are more things that one admires and ought to imitate; in the second there are more things that one sees in others or in oneself. The first elevates, amazes, masters, and instructs; the second pleases, stirs, touches, and penetrates. What is most beautiful, noble and imperious in reason is handled by the first; and by the second, what is most moving and delicate in passions.

In the first there are maxims, rules and precepts; in the second, taste and feeling.

A person is more occupied with the pieces of Corneille, and more shaken and softened by those of Racine. Corneille is more moral, Racine more natural. It seems that the one imitates Sophocles and the other owes more to Euripides".

Materializing Notions, Concepts and Language into Another Linguistic Framework

Quelle grandeur ne se remarque point en Mithridate, en Porus et en Burrhus? Corneille est plus moral, Racine plus naturel. Pedants only allow it to be in oratorical speeches, and make no distinction between it and overcrowded figurative speech, the use of grand words and rounded periods. I It seems that logic is the art of convincing people of some truth, and eloquence is a gift of the soul that renders us masters of the heart and spirit of others, that makes us inspire or persuade them to anything we like.

I Eloquence can be found in negotiations and in every genre of writing. It is rarely where one looks for it, and is sometimes where one doesn't look for it at all. IV Eloquence is to sublimity what the whole is to its part. IV What is sublimity? It seems that people haven't defined it. Is it a figure?

Is it born from figures, or at least from some of them? Does every genre of writing have examples of sublimity, or are only great subjects capable of it? Or rather, is naturalness and tactfulness the sublimity of the works that they make perfect? What is sublimity? Where does it come from? IV Synonyms are different words or many different phrases that mean the same thing. Antitheses are opposite truths that spread light on each other. Metaphors or comparisons lend something foreign a sensible and natural image of truth.

Hyperbole goes beyond the truth in order to make a persons spirit recognize it better.

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The sublime only paints the truth, but in a noble subject; it paints it completely, in its cause and effect; it is the most worthy expression or image of this truth. People with mediocre esprit never find the right expression and they use synonyms. Young people are dazzled by the brilliance of antitheses and use them.


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People with a just understanding, who love to use precise images, naturally use comparisons and metaphors.