Robert Louis Stevenson‎‎ citations

Robert Louis Stevenson‎‎ photo
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Robert Louis Stevenson‎‎

Date de naissance: 13. novembre 1850
Date de décès: 3. décembre 1894
Autres noms:Robert L. Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson, né le 13 novembre 1850 à Édimbourg et mort le 3 décembre 1894 à Vailima , est un écrivain écossais et un grand voyageur, célèbre pour son roman L'Île au trésor , pour sa nouvelle L'Étrange Cas du docteur Jekyll et de M. Hyde et pour son récit Voyage avec un âne dans les Cévennes .

Stevenson est parfois considéré comme un auteur de romans d'aventures ou de récits fantastiques pour adolescents, mais son œuvre a une tout autre dimension : il a d'ailleurs été salué avec enthousiasme par les plus grands de ses contemporains et de ses successeurs. Ses nouvelles et romans manifestent en effet une profonde intelligence de la narration, de ses moyens et de ses effets. Il exploite tous les ressorts du récit comme la multiplication des narrateurs et des points de vue, et pratique en même temps une écriture très visuelle, propice aux scènes particulièrement frappantes.

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Citations Robert Louis Stevenson‎‎

„When the torrent sweeps the man against a boulder, you must expect him to scream, and you need not be surprised if the scream is sometimes a theory.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: All error, not merely verbal, is a strong way of stating that the current truth is incomplete. The follies of youth have a basis in sound reason, just as much as the embarrassing questions put by babes and sucklings. Their most antisocial acts indicate the defects of our society. When the torrent sweeps the man against a boulder, you must expect him to scream, and you need not be surprised if the scream is sometimes a theory. Shelley, chafing at the Church of England, discovered the cure of all evils in universal atheism. Generous lads irritated at the injustices of society, see nothing for it but the abolishment of everything and Kingdom Come of anarchy. Shelley was a young fool; so are these cocksparrow revolutionaries. But it is better to be a fool than to be dead. It is better to emit a scream in the shape of a theory than to be entirely insensible to the jars and incongruities of life and take everything as it comes in a forlorn stupidity. Some people swallow the universe like a pill; they travel on through the world, like smiling images pushed from behind. For God’s sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself! As for the others, the irony of facts shall take it out of their hands, and make fools of them in downright earnest, ere the farce be over. There shall be such a mopping and a mowing at the last day, and such blushing and confusion of countenance for all those who have been wise in their own esteem, and have not learnt the rough lessons that youth hands on to age. If we are indeed here to perfect and complete our own natures, and grow larger, stronger, and more sympathetic against some nobler career in the future, we had all best bestir ourselves to the utmost while we have the time. To equip a dull, respectable person with wings would be but to make a parody of an angel. Crabbed Age and Youth.

„Hope is the boy, a blind, headlong, pleasant fellow, good to chase swallows with the salt; Faith is the grave, experienced, yet smiling man.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: Hope is the boy, a blind, headlong, pleasant fellow, good to chase swallows with the salt; Faith is the grave, experienced, yet smiling man. Hope lives on ignorance; open-eyed Faith is built upon a knowledge of our life, of the tyranny of circumstance and the frailty of human resolution. Hope looks for unqualified success; but Faith counts certainly on failure, and takes honourable defeat to be a form of victory. Hope is a kind old pagan; but Faith grew up in Christian days, and early learnt humility. In the one temper, a man is indignant that he cannot spring up in a clap to heights of elegance and virtue; in the other, out of a sense of his infirmities, he is filled with confidence because a year has come and gone, and he has still preserved some rags of honour. In the first, he expects an angel for a wife; in the last, he knows that she is like himself - erring, thoughtless, and untrue; but like himself also, filled with a struggling radiancy of better things, and adorned with ineffective qualities. You may safely go to school with hope; but ere you marry, should have learned the mingled lesson of the world: that dolls are stuffed with sawdust, and yet are excellent play-things; that hope and love address themselves to a perfection never realised, and yet, firmly held, become the salt and staff of life; that you yourself are compacted of infirmities, perfect, you might say, in imperfection, and yet you have a something in you lovable and worth preserving; and that, while the mass of mankind lies under this scurvy condemnation, you will scarce find one but, by some generous reading, will become to you a lesson, a model, and a noble spouse through life. Virginibus Puerisque, Ch. 2.

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„For God’s sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself! As for the others, the irony of facts shall take it out of their hands, and make fools of them in downright earnest, ere the farce be over.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: All error, not merely verbal, is a strong way of stating that the current truth is incomplete. The follies of youth have a basis in sound reason, just as much as the embarrassing questions put by babes and sucklings. Their most antisocial acts indicate the defects of our society. When the torrent sweeps the man against a boulder, you must expect him to scream, and you need not be surprised if the scream is sometimes a theory. Shelley, chafing at the Church of England, discovered the cure of all evils in universal atheism. Generous lads irritated at the injustices of society, see nothing for it but the abolishment of everything and Kingdom Come of anarchy. Shelley was a young fool; so are these cocksparrow revolutionaries. But it is better to be a fool than to be dead. It is better to emit a scream in the shape of a theory than to be entirely insensible to the jars and incongruities of life and take everything as it comes in a forlorn stupidity. Some people swallow the universe like a pill; they travel on through the world, like smiling images pushed from behind. For God’s sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself! As for the others, the irony of facts shall take it out of their hands, and make fools of them in downright earnest, ere the farce be over. There shall be such a mopping and a mowing at the last day, and such blushing and confusion of countenance for all those who have been wise in their own esteem, and have not learnt the rough lessons that youth hands on to age. If we are indeed here to perfect and complete our own natures, and grow larger, stronger, and more sympathetic against some nobler career in the future, we had all best bestir ourselves to the utmost while we have the time. To equip a dull, respectable person with wings would be but to make a parody of an angel. Crabbed Age and Youth.

„Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be; Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill. Bk. I, Requiem (the final sentence was used on Stevenson's Gravestone).

„The true wisdom is to be always seasonable, and to change with a good grace in changing circumstances.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: The true wisdom is to be always seasonable, and to change with a good grace in changing circumstances. To love playthings well as a child, to lead an adventurous and honourable youth, and to settle when the time arrives, into a green and smiling age, is to be a good artist in life and deserve well of yourself and your neighbour. Crabbed Age and Youth.

„Fifteen men on the dead man's chest —
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: Fifteen men on the dead man's chest — Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and the devil had done for the rest — Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Ch. 1, The Old Sea-dog at the Admiral Benbow.

„All who have meant good work with their whole hearts, have done good work, although they may die before they have the time to sign it. Every heart that has beat strong and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: All who have meant good work with their whole hearts, have done good work, although they may die before they have the time to sign it. Every heart that has beat strong and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind. And even if death catch people, like an open pitfall, and in mid-career, laying out vast projects, and planning monstrous foundations, flushed with hope, and their mouths full of boastful language, they should be at once tripped up and silenced: is there not something brave and spirited in such a termination? and does not life go down with a better grace, foaming in full body over a precipice, than miserably straggling to an end in sandy deltas? 316.

„Fiction is to the grown man what play is to the child“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: Fiction is to the grown man what play is to the child; it is there that he changes the atmosphere and tenor of his life. A Gossip on Romance, printed in Longman's Magazine (November 1882).

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„Age may have one side, but assuredly Youth has the other. There is nothing more certain than that both are right, except perhaps that both are wrong.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: Age may have one side, but assuredly Youth has the other. There is nothing more certain than that both are right, except perhaps that both are wrong. Let them agree to differ; for who knows but what agreeing to differ may not be a form of agreement rather than a form of difference? Crabbed Age and Youth.

„A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note. He or she is a radiating focus of goodwill; and their entrance into a room is as though another candle had been lighted. We need not care whether they could prove the forty-seventh proposition; they do a better thing than that, they practically demonstrate the great Theorem of the Liveableness of Life. An Apology for Idlers.

„In real life, help is given out of friendship, or it is not valued; it is received from the hand of friendship, or it is resented.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: We should wipe two words from our vocabulary: gratitude and charity. In real life, help is given out of friendship, or it is not valued; it is received from the hand of friendship, or it is resented. Ch. IX, Beggars.

„Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be; Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill. Bk. I, Requiem (the final sentence was used on Stevenson's Gravestone).

Publicité

„There is a strong feeling in favour of cowardly and prudential proverbs.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: There is a strong feeling in favour of cowardly and prudential proverbs. The sentiments of a man while he is full of ardour and hope are to be received, it is supposed, with some qualification. But when the same person has ignominiously failed and begins to eat up his words, he should be listened to like an oracle. Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity. And since mediocre people constitute the bulk of humanity, this is no doubt very properly so. But it does not follow that the one sort of proposition is any less true than the other, or that Icarus is not to be more praised, and perhaps more envied, than Mr. Samuel Budgett the Successful Merchant. The one is dead, to be sure, while the other is still in his counting-house counting out his money; and doubtless this is a consideration. But we have, on the other hand, some bold and magnanimous sayings common to high races and natures, which set forth the advantage of the losing side, and proclaim it better to be a dead lion than a living dog. It is difficult to fancy how the mediocrities reconcile such sayings with their proverbs. According to the latter, every lad who goes to sea is an egregious ass; never to forget your umbrella through a long life would seem a higher and wiser flight of achievement than to go smiling to the stake; and so long as you are a bit of a coward and inflexible in money matters, you fulfil the whole duty of man. Crabbed Age and Youth.

„It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in the retrospect.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in the retrospect. We should have been cut-throats to do otherwise. And there's an end. We ought to know distinctly that we are damned for what we do wrong; but when we have done right, we have only been gentlemen, after all. There is nothing to make a work about. "Reflections and Remarks on Human Life", VI: Right and Wrong, published in Works: Letters and Miscellanies of Robert Louis Stevenson -- Sketches, Criticisms, Etc. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hwe7px (1895), p. 628.

„There is no foreign land; it is the traveller only that is foreign“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: There is no foreign land; it is the traveller only that is foreign, and now and again, by a flash of recollection, lights up the contrasts of the ear. The Silverado Squatters.

„Idleness, which is often becoming and even wise in the bachelor, begins to wear a different aspect when you have a wife to support.“

— Robert Louis Stevenson
Context: Times are changed with him who marries; there are no more by-path meadows, where you may innocently linger, but the road lies long and straight and dusty to the grave. Idleness, which is often becoming and even wise in the bachelor, begins to wear a different aspect when you have a wife to support. Virginibus Puerisque, Ch. 2.

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