Jean de La Bruyère citations

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Jean de La Bruyère

Date de naissance: 16. août 1645
Date de décès: 11. mai 1696

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Jean de La Bruyère, né à Paris le 16 août 1645 et mort à Versailles le 11 mai 1696, est un moraliste français.

La Bruyère est célèbre pour une œuvre unique, Les Caractères ou les Mœurs de ce siècle . Cet ouvrage, constitué d’un ensemble de brèves pièces littéraires, compose une chronique essentielle de l’esprit du XVIIe siècle.

La Bruyère fut l’un des premiers écrivains à mettre en avant le style littéraire, en développant un phrasé rythmé dans lequel les effets de rupture sont prépondérants. Ce style incite à la lecture à haute voix, donnant ainsi à cette activité le statut de jugement moral grâce à l’effet rhétorique obtenu par la lecture orale sur les auditeurs. La Bruyère consacre au demeurant toute une section des Caractères aux effets pervers de l’éloquence. Nombre d’écrivains ont suivi le chemin stylistique tracé par La Bruyère : depuis Marivaux jusqu’à Proust et André Gide, en passant par Balzac.

Citations Jean de La Bruyère

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„What a vast advantage has a speech over a written composition. Men are imposed upon by voice and gesture, and by all that is conducive to enhance the performance.“

— Jean de La Bruyère
Context: What a vast advantage has a speech over a written composition. Men are imposed upon by voice and gesture, and by all that is conducive to enhance the performance. Any little prepossession in favor of the speaker raises their admiration, and then they do their best to comprehend him; they commend his performance before he has begun, but they soon fall off asleep, doze all the time he is preaching, and only wake to applaud him. An author has no such passionate admirers; his works are read at leisure in the country or in the solitude of the study; no public meetings are held to applaud him.... However excellent his book may be, it is read with the intention of finding it but middling; it is perused, discussed, and compared to other works; a book is not composed of transient sounds lost in the air and forgotten; what is printed remains. Aphorism 27

„The true spirit of conversation consists more in bringing out the cleverness of others than in showing a great deal of it yourself“

— Jean de La Bruyère
Context: The true spirit of conversation consists more in bringing out the cleverness of others than in showing a great deal of it yourself; he who goes away pleased with himself and his own wit is also greatly pleased with you. Most men would rather please than admire you; they seek less to be instructed, and even to be amused, than to be praised and applauded. 16

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„Outward simplicity befits ordinary men, like a garment made to measure for them; but it serves as an adornment to those who have filled their lives with great deeds“

— Jean de La Bruyère
Context: Outward simplicity befits ordinary men, like a garment made to measure for them; but it serves as an adornment to those who have filled their lives with great deeds: they might be compared to some beauty carelessly dressed and thereby all the more attractive. Aphorism 17

„There are certain things in which mediocrity is intolerable: poetry, music, painting, public eloquence.“

— Jean de La Bruyère
Context: There are certain things in which mediocrity is intolerable: poetry, music, painting, public eloquence. What torture it is to hear a frigid speech being pompously declaimed, or second-rate verse spoken with all a bad poet's bombast! Aphorism 7

„The town is divided into various groups, which form so many little states, each with its own laws and customs, its jargon and its jokes.“

— Jean de La Bruyère
Context: The town is divided into various groups, which form so many little states, each with its own laws and customs, its jargon and its jokes. While the association holds and the fashion lasts, they admit nothing well said or well done except by one of themselves, and they are incapable of appeciating anything from another source, to the point of despising those who are not initiated into their mysteries. Aphorism 4

„That man is good who does good to others; if he suffers on account of the good he does, he is very good“

— Jean de La Bruyère
Context: That man is good who does good to others; if he suffers on account of the good he does, he is very good; if he suffers at the hands of those to whom he has done good, then his goodness is so great that it could be enhanced only by greater sufferings; and if he should die at their hands, his virtue can go no further: it is heroic, it is perfect. Aphorism 44

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