André Maurois

French writer best known for his biographies (1885-1967)

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A great biography should, like the close of a great drama, leave behind it a feeling of serenity. We collect into a small bunch the flowers, the few flowers, which brought sweetness into a life, and present it as an offering to an accomplished destiny. It is the dying refrain of a completed song, the final verse of a finished poem.
A marriage without conflicts is almost as inconceivable as a nation without crises.
A mixture of admiration and pity is one of the surest recipes for affection.
A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.
Above all things, never be afraid. The enemy who forces you to retreat is himself afraid of you at that very moment.
If you create an act, you create a habit. If you create a habit, you create a character. If you create a character, you create a destiny.
In literature, as in love, we are astonished at the choice made by other people.
Men and women are not born inconstant: they are made so by their early amorous experiences.
Self-pity comes so naturally to all of us. The most solid happiness can be shaken by the compassion of a fool.
The need to express oneself in writing springs from a mal-adjustment to life, or from an inner conflict which the adolescent (or the grown man) cannot resolve in action. Those to whom action comes as easily as breathing rarely feel the need to break loose from the real, to rise above, and describe it... I do not mean that it is enough to be maladjusted to become a great writer, but writing is, for some, a method of resolving a conflict, provided they have the necessary talent.
We owe to the Middle Ages the two worst inventions of humanity - gunpowder and romantic love.

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