“If I told you that I have loved other women I would be a despicable liar. I thought I did, however; I forced myself to bind my heart to other passions, but it slid over them as if over ice. When you are a child, you have read so many books about love, you find the very word so melodious, you dream of it so much, you have such strong yearning to experience that feeling which makes you quiver when you read novels and dramas, that at every woman you see you say to yourself: isn’t this love? You endeavour to love so as to make a man of yourself. I have been no more immune than any other man from that childish weakness; I have sighed like an elegiac poet, and after many efforts I was quite astonished to find myself sometimes managing for a fortnight without having gone over to the woman I had chosen as the object of my dreams.”
– Memoirs of a Madman by Gustave Flaubert.
“No matter! She was not happy, had never been so. Where did it come from, this feeling of deprivation, this instantaneous decay of the things in which she put her trust?… But, if there were somewhere a strong and beautiful creature, a valiant nature full of passion and delicacy in equal measure, the heart of a poet in the figure of an angel, a lyre with strings of steel, sounding to the skies the elegiac epithalamia, why should she not, fortuitously, find such a one? What an impossibility! Nothing, anyway, was worth the great quest; it was all lies! Every smile concealed the yawn of boredom, every joy a malediction, every satisfaction brought its nausea, and even the most perfect kisses only leave upon the lips a fantastical craving for the supreme.”
– Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
“Down in her soul, the while, she was waiting for something to happen. Like a shipwrecked sailor, she perused her solitary world with hopeless eyes, searching for some white sail far away where the horizon turns to mist. She didn’t know what her luck might bring, what wind would blow it her way, what shore it would take her to, whether it was a sloop or a three-mastered schooner, laden with anguish or crammed to the portholes with happiness. But, every morning, when she awoke, she hoped it would happen that day, and she listened to every sound, jumping to her feet, surprised when nothing came; then, as the day came to its end, with an ever greater sadness, she was longing for the morrow.”
– Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert