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Jean de la Bruyère

1645-1696. French satiric moralist who is best known for one work, "The Characters, or the Manners of the Age, with The Characters of Theophrastus" (1688), which is considered to be one of the masterpieces of French literature.

Books by Jean de la Bruyère

Two persons cannot long be friends if they cannot forgive each other's little failings.

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Criticism is often not a science; it is a craft, requiring more good health than wit, more hard work than talent, more habit than native genius. In the hands of a man who has read widely but lacks judgment, applied to certain subjects it can corrupt both its readers and the writer himself.

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It is fortunate to be of high birth, but it is no less so to be of such character that people do not care to know whether you are or are not.

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Generosity lies less in giving much than in giving at the right moment.

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The great gift of conversation lies less in displaying it ourselves than in drawing it out of others. He who leaves your company pleased with himself and his own cleverness is perfectly well pleased with you.

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All of our unhappiness comes from our inability to be alone.

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If poverty is the mother of crime, lack of good sense is the father.

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Children enjoy the present because they have neither a past nor a future.

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The pleasure we feel in criticizing robs us from being moved by very beautiful things.

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I would not like to see a person who is sober, moderate, chaste and just say that there is no God. They would speak disinterestedly at least, but such a person is not to be found.

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