The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Théophile Gautier on Ideology

December 15th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Théophile Gautier’s 1865 novel, La Belle-Jenny, is a boisterous, Romantic tale of conspiracy and intrigue, all of which fails.  Couples are parted; lives are ruined.  Near the end, Arthur Sidney, the character most to blame for all of this, sums up what he’s learned:

Aimez quelqu’un ou quelque chose, un homme, un enfant, un chien, une espèce de fleurs, mais jamais une idée, c’est trop dangereux.

Love someone or something, a man, a child, a dog, a kind of flower, but never an idea, it’s too dangerous.

Tags: Belief Systems · Education · Literature

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lisa // Dec 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Timely words for the holiday season, Doug.

  • 2 Doug // Dec 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Always timely. People do do funny things when they idealize the holidays.

    Gautier is a lot of fun. This sentence was a surprise, coming after pages of cartoonish thrills and chills. My other favorite part is when he acknowledges a particularly preposterous coincidence by saying that nobody would believe it in a novel.

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