Citations Henri Barbusse

„Where are the words that will light the way? What is humanity in the world, and what is the world?
Everything is within me, and there are no judges, and there are no boundaries and no limits to me.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: Where are the words that will light the way? What is humanity in the world, and what is the world? Everything is within me, and there are no judges, and there are no boundaries and no limits to me. The de profundis, the effort not to die, the fall of desire with its soaring cry, all this has not stopped. It is part of the immense liberty which the incessant mechanism of the human heart exercises (always something different, always!).

„It is not yet hostility around me; but it is already a rupture.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: It is not yet hostility around me; but it is already a rupture. With this truth that clings to me alone, amid the world and its phantoms, am I not indeed rushing into a sort of tragedy impossible to maintain? They who surround me, filled to the lips, filled to the eyes, with the gross acceptance which turns men into beasts, they look at me mistrustfully, ready to be let loose against me.

Publicité

„War will come again after this one. It will come again as long as it can be determined by people other than those who fight.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: War will come again after this one. It will come again as long as it can be determined by people other than those who fight. The same causes will produce the same effects, and the living will have to give up all hope.

„Paradis says to me, "That's war."
"Yes, that's it," he repeats in a far-away voice, "that's war. It's not anything else."“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: Waking, Paradis and I look at each other, and remember. We return to life and daylight as in a nightmare. In front of us the calamitous plain is resurrected, where hummocks vaguely appear from their immersion, the steel-like plain that is rusty in places and shines with lines and pools of water, while bodies are strewn here and there in the vastness like foul rubbish, prone bodies that breathe or rot. Paradis says to me, "That's war." "Yes, that's it," he repeats in a far-away voice, "that's war. It's not anything else." He means — and I am with him in his meaning — "More than attacks that are like ceremonial reviews, more than visible battles unfurled like banners, more even than the hand-to-hand encounters of shouting strife, War is frightful and unnatural weariness, water up to the belly, mud and dung and infamous filth. It is befouled faces and tattered flesh, it is the corpses that are no longer like corpses even, floating on the ravenous earth. It is that, that endless monotony of misery, broken, by poignant tragedies; it is that, and not the bayonet glittering like silver, nor the bugle's chanticleer call to the sun!" Paradis was so full of this thought that he ruminated a memory, and growled, "D'you remember the woman in the town where we went about a bit not so very long ago? She talked some drivel about attacks, and said, 'How beautiful they must be to see!'" A chasseur who was full length on his belly, flattened out like a cloak, raised his bead out of the filthy background in which it was sunk, and cried, 'Beautiful? Oh, hell! It's just as if an ox were to say, 'What a fine sight it must be, all those droves of cattle driven forward to the slaughter-house!'

„Men have gone towards each other because of that ray of light which each of them contains; and light resembles light.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: Men have gone towards each other because of that ray of light which each of them contains; and light resembles light. It reveals that the isolated man, too free in the open expanses, is doomed to adversity as if he were a captive, in spite of appearances; and that men must come together that they may be stronger, that they may be more peaceful, and even that they may be able to live. For men are made to live their life in its depth, and also in all its length. Stronger than the elements and keener than all terrors are the hunger to last long, the passion to possess one's days to the very end and to make the best of them. It is not only a right; it is a virtue.

„There are all those things against you. Against you and your great common interests which as you dimly saw are the same thing in effect as justice, there are not only the sword-wavers, the profiteers, and the intriguers.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: There are all those things against you. Against you and your great common interests which as you dimly saw are the same thing in effect as justice, there are not only the sword-wavers, the profiteers, and the intriguers. There is not only the prodigious opposition of interested parties — financiers, speculators great and small, armorplated in their banks and houses, who live on war and live in peace during war, with their brows stubbornly set upon a secret doctrine and their faces shut up like safes. There are those who admire the exchange of flashing blows, who hail like women the bright colors of uniforms; those whom military music and the martial ballads poured upon the public intoxicate as with brandy; the dizzy-brained, the feeble-minded, the superstitious, the savages. There are those who bury themselves in the past, on whose lips are the sayings only of bygone days, the traditionalists for whom an injustice has legal force because it is perpetuated, who aspire to be guided by the dead, who strive to subordinate progress and the future and all their palpitating passion to the realm of ghosts and nursery-tales. With them are all the parsons, who seek to excite you and to lull you to sleep with the morphine of their Paradise, so that nothing may change. There are the lawyers, the economists, the historians — and how many more? — who befog you with the rigmarole of theory, who declare the inter-antagonism of nationalities at a time when the only unity possessed by each nation of to-day is in the arbitrary map-made lines of her frontiers, while she is inhabited by an artificial amalgam of races; there are the worm-eaten genealogists, who forge for the ambitious of conquest and plunder false certificates of philosophy and imaginary titles of nobility. The infirmity of human intelligence is short sight. In too many cases, the wiseacres are dunces of a sort, who lose sight of the simplicity of things, and stifle and obscure it with formulae and trivialities. It is the small things that one learns from books, not the great ones. And even while they are saying that they do not wish for war they are doing all they can to perpetuate it. They nourish national vanity and the love of supremacy by force. "We alone," they say, each behind his shelter, "we alone are the guardians of courage and loyalty, of ability and good taste!" Out of the greatness and richness of a country they make something like a consuming disease. Out of patriotism — which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred — out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace. They pervert the most admirable of moral principles. How many are the crimes of which they have made virtues merely by dowering them with the word "national"? They distort even truth itself. For the truth which is eternally the same they substitute each their national truth. So many nations, so many truths; and thus they falsify and twist the truth. Those are your enemies. All those people whose childish and odiously ridiculous disputes you hear snarling above you — "It wasn't me that began, it was you!" — "No, it wasn't me, it was you!" — "Hit me then!" — "No, you hit me!" — those puerilities that perpetuate the world's huge wound, for the disputants are not the people truly concerned, but quite the contrary, nor do they desire to have done with it; all those people who cannot or will not make peace on earth; all those who for one reason or another cling to the ancient state of things and find or invent excuses for it — they are your enemies! They are your enemies as much as those German soldiers are to-day who are prostrate here between you in the mud, who are only poor dupes hatefully deceived and brutalized, domestic beasts. They are your enemies, wherever they were born, however they pronounce their names, whatever the language in which they lie. Look at them, in the heaven and on the earth. Look at them, everywhere! Identify them once for all, and be mindful for ever!

„Truth is more beautiful than dreams“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: What is there within us to-night? What is this sound of wings? Are our eyes opening as fast as night falls? Formerly, we had the sensual lovers' animal dread of nothingness; but to-day, the simplest and richest proof of our love is that the supreme meaning of death to us is — leaving each other. And the bond of the flesh — neither are we afraid to think and speak of that, saying that we were so joined together that we knew each other completely, that our bodies have searched each other. This memory, this brand in the flesh, has its profound value; and the preference which reciprocally graces two beings like ourselves is made of all that they have and all that they had. I stand up in front of Marie — already almost a convert — and I tremble and totter, so much is my heart my master: — "Truth is more beautiful than dreams, you see."

„They pervert the most admirable of moral principles. How many are the crimes of which they have made virtues merely by dowering them with the word "national"? They distort even truth itself. For the truth which is eternally the same they substitute each their national truth. So many nations, so many truths; and thus they falsify and twist the truth.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: There are all those things against you. Against you and your great common interests which as you dimly saw are the same thing in effect as justice, there are not only the sword-wavers, the profiteers, and the intriguers. There is not only the prodigious opposition of interested parties — financiers, speculators great and small, armorplated in their banks and houses, who live on war and live in peace during war, with their brows stubbornly set upon a secret doctrine and their faces shut up like safes. There are those who admire the exchange of flashing blows, who hail like women the bright colors of uniforms; those whom military music and the martial ballads poured upon the public intoxicate as with brandy; the dizzy-brained, the feeble-minded, the superstitious, the savages. There are those who bury themselves in the past, on whose lips are the sayings only of bygone days, the traditionalists for whom an injustice has legal force because it is perpetuated, who aspire to be guided by the dead, who strive to subordinate progress and the future and all their palpitating passion to the realm of ghosts and nursery-tales. With them are all the parsons, who seek to excite you and to lull you to sleep with the morphine of their Paradise, so that nothing may change. There are the lawyers, the economists, the historians — and how many more? — who befog you with the rigmarole of theory, who declare the inter-antagonism of nationalities at a time when the only unity possessed by each nation of to-day is in the arbitrary map-made lines of her frontiers, while she is inhabited by an artificial amalgam of races; there are the worm-eaten genealogists, who forge for the ambitious of conquest and plunder false certificates of philosophy and imaginary titles of nobility. The infirmity of human intelligence is short sight. In too many cases, the wiseacres are dunces of a sort, who lose sight of the simplicity of things, and stifle and obscure it with formulae and trivialities. It is the small things that one learns from books, not the great ones. And even while they are saying that they do not wish for war they are doing all they can to perpetuate it. They nourish national vanity and the love of supremacy by force. "We alone," they say, each behind his shelter, "we alone are the guardians of courage and loyalty, of ability and good taste!" Out of the greatness and richness of a country they make something like a consuming disease. Out of patriotism — which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred — out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace. They pervert the most admirable of moral principles. How many are the crimes of which they have made virtues merely by dowering them with the word "national"? They distort even truth itself. For the truth which is eternally the same they substitute each their national truth. So many nations, so many truths; and thus they falsify and twist the truth. Those are your enemies. All those people whose childish and odiously ridiculous disputes you hear snarling above you — "It wasn't me that began, it was you!" — "No, it wasn't me, it was you!" — "Hit me then!" — "No, you hit me!" — those puerilities that perpetuate the world's huge wound, for the disputants are not the people truly concerned, but quite the contrary, nor do they desire to have done with it; all those people who cannot or will not make peace on earth; all those who for one reason or another cling to the ancient state of things and find or invent excuses for it — they are your enemies! They are your enemies as much as those German soldiers are to-day who are prostrate here between you in the mud, who are only poor dupes hatefully deceived and brutalized, domestic beasts. They are your enemies, wherever they were born, however they pronounce their names, whatever the language in which they lie. Look at them, in the heaven and on the earth. Look at them, everywhere! Identify them once for all, and be mindful for ever!

Publicité

„Sometimes I myself have been sublime, I myself have been a masterpiece. Sometimes my visions have been mingled with a thrill of evidence so strong and so creative that the whole room has quivered with it like a forest, and there have been moments, in truth, when the silence cried out.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: Who shall compose the Bible of human desire, the terrible and simple Bible of that which drives us from life to life, the Bible of our doings, our goings, our original fall? Who will dare to tell everything, who will have the genius to see everything? I believe in a lofty form of poetry, in the work in which beauty will be mingled with beliefs. The more incapable of it I feel myself, the more I believe it to be possible. The sad splendour with which certain memories of mine overwhelm me, shows me that it is possible. Sometimes I myself have been sublime, I myself have been a masterpiece. Sometimes my visions have been mingled with a thrill of evidence so strong and so creative that the whole room has quivered with it like a forest, and there have been moments, in truth, when the silence cried out. But I have stolen all this, and I have profited by it, thanks to the shamelessness of the truth revealed. At the point in space in which, by accident, I found myself, I had only to open my eyes and to stretch out my mendicant hands to accomplish more than a dream, to accomplish almost a work.

„They are your enemies, wherever they were born, however they pronounce their names, whatever the language in which they lie. Look at them, in the heaven and on the earth. Look at them, everywhere! Identify them once for all, and be mindful for ever!“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: There are all those things against you. Against you and your great common interests which as you dimly saw are the same thing in effect as justice, there are not only the sword-wavers, the profiteers, and the intriguers. There is not only the prodigious opposition of interested parties — financiers, speculators great and small, armorplated in their banks and houses, who live on war and live in peace during war, with their brows stubbornly set upon a secret doctrine and their faces shut up like safes. There are those who admire the exchange of flashing blows, who hail like women the bright colors of uniforms; those whom military music and the martial ballads poured upon the public intoxicate as with brandy; the dizzy-brained, the feeble-minded, the superstitious, the savages. There are those who bury themselves in the past, on whose lips are the sayings only of bygone days, the traditionalists for whom an injustice has legal force because it is perpetuated, who aspire to be guided by the dead, who strive to subordinate progress and the future and all their palpitating passion to the realm of ghosts and nursery-tales. With them are all the parsons, who seek to excite you and to lull you to sleep with the morphine of their Paradise, so that nothing may change. There are the lawyers, the economists, the historians — and how many more? — who befog you with the rigmarole of theory, who declare the inter-antagonism of nationalities at a time when the only unity possessed by each nation of to-day is in the arbitrary map-made lines of her frontiers, while she is inhabited by an artificial amalgam of races; there are the worm-eaten genealogists, who forge for the ambitious of conquest and plunder false certificates of philosophy and imaginary titles of nobility. The infirmity of human intelligence is short sight. In too many cases, the wiseacres are dunces of a sort, who lose sight of the simplicity of things, and stifle and obscure it with formulae and trivialities. It is the small things that one learns from books, not the great ones. And even while they are saying that they do not wish for war they are doing all they can to perpetuate it. They nourish national vanity and the love of supremacy by force. "We alone," they say, each behind his shelter, "we alone are the guardians of courage and loyalty, of ability and good taste!" Out of the greatness and richness of a country they make something like a consuming disease. Out of patriotism — which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred — out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace. They pervert the most admirable of moral principles. How many are the crimes of which they have made virtues merely by dowering them with the word "national"? They distort even truth itself. For the truth which is eternally the same they substitute each their national truth. So many nations, so many truths; and thus they falsify and twist the truth. Those are your enemies. All those people whose childish and odiously ridiculous disputes you hear snarling above you — "It wasn't me that began, it was you!" — "No, it wasn't me, it was you!" — "Hit me then!" — "No, you hit me!" — those puerilities that perpetuate the world's huge wound, for the disputants are not the people truly concerned, but quite the contrary, nor do they desire to have done with it; all those people who cannot or will not make peace on earth; all those who for one reason or another cling to the ancient state of things and find or invent excuses for it — they are your enemies! They are your enemies as much as those German soldiers are to-day who are prostrate here between you in the mud, who are only poor dupes hatefully deceived and brutalized, domestic beasts. They are your enemies, wherever they were born, however they pronounce their names, whatever the language in which they lie. Look at them, in the heaven and on the earth. Look at them, everywhere! Identify them once for all, and be mindful for ever!

„You are a living creature, you are a human being, you are the infinity that man is, and all that you are unites me to you. Your suffering of just now, your regret for the ruins of youth and the ghosts of caresses, all of it unites me to you, for I feel them, I share them. Such as you are and such as I am. I can say to you at last, "I love you."“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: You are a living creature, you are a human being, you are the infinity that man is, and all that you are unites me to you. Your suffering of just now, your regret for the ruins of youth and the ghosts of caresses, all of it unites me to you, for I feel them, I share them. Such as you are and such as I am. I can say to you at last, "I love you." I love you, you who now appearing truly to me, you who truly duplicate my life. We have nothing to turn aside from us to be together. All your thoughts, all your likes, your ideas and your preferences have a place which I feel within me, and I see that they are right even if my own are not like them (for each one's freedom is part of his value), and I have a feeling that I am telling you a lie whenever I do not speak to you. I am only going on with my thought when I say aloud: "I would give my life for you, and I forgive you beforehand for everything you might ever do to make yourself happy.".

„Desire wears the brain as much as thought wears it. All my being is agog for chances to shine and to be shared.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: I am looking for the happiness which lives. And truly, when I have a sense of some new assent wavering and making ready, or when I am on the way to a first rendezvous, I feel myself gloriously uplifted, and equal to everything! This fills my life. Desire wears the brain as much as thought wears it. All my being is agog for chances to shine and to be shared. When they say in my presence of some young woman that, "she is not happy," a thrill of joy tears through me.

Publicité

„Against all the chains of facts I must have long arguments to bring; and the world's chaos requires an interpretation equally terrible.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: My spirit is no longer what it was. Vaguely I seek, everywhere. I must see things with all their consequences, and right to their source. Against all the chains of facts I must have long arguments to bring; and the world's chaos requires an interpretation equally terrible.

„I have only one recourse, to remember and to believe.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: I have only one recourse, to remember and to believe. To hold on with all my strength to the memory of the tragedy of the Room. I believe that the only thing which confronts the heart and the reason is the shadow of that which the heart and the reason cry for. I believe that around us there is only one word, the immense word which takes us out of our solitude, NOTHING. I believe that this does not signify our nothingness or our misfortune, but, on the contrary, our realisation and our deification, since everything is within us.

„There are official proclamations, full of the notion of liberty and rights, which would be beautiful if they said truly what they say. But they who compose them do not attach their full meaning to the words. What they recite they are not capable of wanting, nor even of understanding.“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: There are official proclamations, full of the notion of liberty and rights, which would be beautiful if they said truly what they say. But they who compose them do not attach their full meaning to the words. What they recite they are not capable of wanting, nor even of understanding. The one indisputable sign of progress in ideas to-day is that there are things which they dare no longer leave publicly unsaid, and that's all. There are not all the political parties that there seem to be. They swarm, certainly, as numerous as the cases of short sight; but there are only two — the democrats and the conservatives. Every political deed ends fatally either in one or the other, and all their leaders have always a tendency to act in the direction of reaction.

„You can form no idea of the beauty that is possible!“

—  Henri Barbusse
Context: You can form no idea of the beauty that is possible! You cannot imagine what all the squandered treasure can provide, what can be brought on by the resurrection of misguided human intelligence, successively smothered and slain hitherto by infamous slavery, by the despicable infectious necessity of armed attack and defense, and by the privileges which debase human worth. You can have no notion what human intelligence may one day find of new adoration. The people's absolute reign will give to literature and the arts — whose harmonious shape is still but roughly sketched — a splendor boundless as the rest. National cliques cultivate narrowness and ignorance, they cause originality to waste away; and the national academies, to which a residue of superstition lends respect, are only pompous ways of upholding ruins.

Anniversaires aujourd'hui
Hannah Arendt photo
Hannah Arendt27
philosophe américaine d'origine allemande 1906 - 1975
Enzo Traverso photo
Enzo Traverso14
historien italien 1957
Thom Jones photo
Thom Jones
1945 - 2016
Edith Evans photo
Edith Evans
actrice britannique 1888 - 1976
Un autre 69 ans aujourd'hui
Auteurs similaires
Maxence Fermine photo
Maxence Fermine7
écrivain français
Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues photo
Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues23
moraliste et essayiste français
Jacques Cazotte photo
Jacques Cazotte6
écrivain français
Éric Zemmour photo
Éric Zemmour32
journaliste et essayiste français
Étienne de La Boétie photo
Étienne de La Boétie11
écrivain, poète et homme politique français