„I would give my life for you, and I forgive you beforehand for everything you might ever do to make yourself happy.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XXIII - Face To Face
Kontext: You are a living creature, you are a human being, you are the infinity that man is, and all that you are unites me to you. Your suffering of just now, your regret for the ruins of youth and the ghosts of caresses, all of it unites me to you, for I feel them, I share them. Such as you are and such as I am. I can say to you at last, "I love you."
I love you, you who now appearing truly to me, you who truly duplicate my life. We have nothing to turn aside from us to be together. All your thoughts, all your likes, your ideas and your preferences have a place which I feel within me, and I see that they are right even if my own are not like them (for each one's freedom is part of his value), and I have a feeling that I am telling you a lie whenever I do not speak to you.
I am only going on with my thought when I say aloud:
"I would give my life for you, and I forgive you beforehand for everything you might ever do to make yourself happy.".

„The noblest and most fruitful work of the human intelligence is to make a clean sweep of every enforced idea — of advantages or meanings — and to go right through appearances in search of the eternal bases.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XXII - Light
Kontext: The noblest and most fruitful work of the human intelligence is to make a clean sweep of every enforced idea — of advantages or meanings — and to go right through appearances in search of the eternal bases. Thus you will clearly see the moral law at the beginning of all things, and the conception of justice and equality will appear to you beautiful as daylight.
Strong in that supreme simplicity, you shall say: I am the people of the peoples; therefore I am the King of Kings, and I will that sovereignty flows everywhere from me, since I am might and right. I want no more despots, confessed or otherwise, great or little; I know, and I want no more.

„No, you do not elevate aberration into an ideal, and illusion is always a stain, whatever the name you lend it.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XXIII - Face To Face
Kontext: By what right does carnal love say, "I am your hearts and minds as well, and we are indissoluble, and I sweep all along with my strokes of glory and defeat; I am Love!"? It is not true, it is not true. Only by violence does it seize the whole of thought; and the poets and lovers, equally ignorant and dazzled, dress it up in a grandeur and profundity which it has not. The heart is strong and beautiful, but it is mad and it is a liar. Moist lips in transfigured faces murmur, "It's grand to be mad!" No, you do not elevate aberration into an ideal, and illusion is always a stain, whatever the name you lend it.

„Only the idolatrous and the weak have need of illusion as of a remedy.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XXIII - Face To Face
Kontext: Only the idolatrous and the weak have need of illusion as of a remedy. The rest only need see and speak.
She smiles, vague as an angel, hovering in the purity of the evening between light and darkness. I am so near to her that I must kneel to be nearer still. I kiss her wet face and soft lips, holding her hand in both of mine.
Yes, there is a Divinity, one from which we must never turn aside for the guidance of our huge inward life and of the share we have as well in the life of all men. It is called the truth.

„He who would dig right down to the truth must simplify; his faith must be brutally simple, or he is lost.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XXII - Light
Kontext: He who would dig right down to the truth must simplify; his faith must be brutally simple, or he is lost. Laugh at the subtle shades and distinctions of the rhetoricians and the specialist physicians. Say aloud: "This is what is," and then, "That is what must be."

„We may no longer be able to count; but Fate will count.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XVI - De Profundis Clamavi
Kontext: We may no longer be able to count; but Fate will count. Some day the men will be killed, and the women and children. And they also will disappear — they who stand erect upon the ignominious death of the soldiers, — they will disappear along with the huge and palpitating pedestal in which they were rooted. But they profit by the present, they believe it will last as long as they, and as they follow each other they say, "After us, the deluge." Some day all war will cease for want of fighters.

„Paradis, possessed by his notion, waved his hand towards the wide unspeakable landscape. and looking steadily on it repeated his sentence, 'War is that.“

—  Henri Barbusse, kniha Under Fire

Under Fire (1916), Ch. 24 - The Dawn
Kontext: Paradis, possessed by his notion, waved his hand towards the wide unspeakable landscape. and looking steadily on it repeated his sentence, 'War is that. It is that everywhere. What are we, we chaps, and what's all this here? Nothing at all. All we can see is only a speck. You've got to remember that this morning there's three thousand kilometers of equal evils, or nearly equal, or worse."
"And then," said the comrade at our side, whom we could not recognize even by his voice, "to-morrow it begins again. It began again the day before yesterday, and all the days before that!"

„The woman from the depths of her rags, a waif, a martyr — smiled. She must have a divine heart to be so tired and yet smile.“

—  Henri Barbusse

The Inferno (1917), Ch. XVI
Kontext: The woman from the depths of her rags, a waif, a martyr — smiled. She must have a divine heart to be so tired and yet smile. She loved the sky, the light, which the unformed little being would love some day. She loved the chilly dawn, the sultry noontime, the dreamy evening. The child would grow up, a saviour, to give life to everything again. Starting at the dark bottom he would ascend the ladder and begin life over again, life, the only paradise there is, the bouquet of nature. He would make beauty beautiful. He would make eternity over again with his voice and his song. And clasping the new-born infant close, she looked at all the sunlight she had given the world. Her arms quivered like wings. She dreamed in words of fondling. She fascinated all the passersby that looked at her. And the setting sun bathed her neck and head in a rosy reflection. She was like a great rose that opens its heart to the whole world.

„You can form no idea of the beauty that is possible!“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XXII - Light
Kontext: You can form no idea of the beauty that is possible! You cannot imagine what all the squandered treasure can provide, what can be brought on by the resurrection of misguided human intelligence, successively smothered and slain hitherto by infamous slavery, by the despicable infectious necessity of armed attack and defense, and by the privileges which debase human worth. You can have no notion what human intelligence may one day find of new adoration. The people's absolute reign will give to literature and the arts — whose harmonious shape is still but roughly sketched — a splendor boundless as the rest. National cliques cultivate narrowness and ignorance, they cause originality to waste away; and the national academies, to which a residue of superstition lends respect, are only pompous ways of upholding ruins.

„Men have gone towards each other because of that ray of light which each of them contains; and light resembles light.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XVI - De Profundis Clamavi
Kontext: Men have gone towards each other because of that ray of light which each of them contains; and light resembles light. It reveals that the isolated man, too free in the open expanses, is doomed to adversity as if he were a captive, in spite of appearances; and that men must come together that they may be stronger, that they may be more peaceful, and even that they may be able to live.
For men are made to live their life in its depth, and also in all its length. Stronger than the elements and keener than all terrors are the hunger to last long, the passion to possess one's days to the very end and to make the best of them. It is not only a right; it is a virtue.

„I believe that the only thing which confronts the heart and the reason is the shadow of that which the heart and the reason cry for. I believe that around us there is only one word, the immense word which takes us out of our solitude, NOTHING. I believe that this does not signify our nothingness or our misfortune, but, on the contrary, our realisation and our deification, since everything is within us.“

—  Henri Barbusse

The Inferno (1917), Ch. XVII
Kontext: I have only one recourse, to remember and to believe. To hold on with all my strength to the memory of the tragedy of the Room.
I believe that the only thing which confronts the heart and the reason is the shadow of that which the heart and the reason cry for. I believe that around us there is only one word, the immense word which takes us out of our solitude, NOTHING. I believe that this does not signify our nothingness or our misfortune, but, on the contrary, our realisation and our deification, since everything is within us.

„Our heart is only made for one heart at a time.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XV - An Apparition
Kontext: I felt the beginning of a farewell rise in me like a sob. But there are too many of them for one to mourn them all. How many of them are there on all this plain? How many, how many of them are there in all this moment? Our heart is only made for one heart at a time. It wears us out to look at all. One may say, "There are the others," but it is only a saying. "You shall not know; you shall not know."

„The cult of the masterpieces of art and thought is the only impulse of the soul which, by general consent, has always soared above patriotic littlenesses.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XX The Cult
Kontext: If, from the idea of motherland, you take away covetousness, hatred, envy and vainglory; if you take away from it the desire for predominance by violence, what is there left of it?
It is not an individual unity of laws; for just laws have no colors. It is not a solidarity of interests, for there are no material national interests — or they are not honest. It is not a unity of race; for the map of the countries is not the map of the races. What is there left?
There is left a restricted communion, deep and delightful; the affectionate and affecting attraction in the charm of a language — there is hardly more in the universe besides its languages which are foreigners — there is left a personal and delicate preference for certain forms of landscape, of monuments, of talent. And even this radiance has its limits. The cult of the masterpieces of art and thought is the only impulse of the soul which, by general consent, has always soared above patriotic littlenesses.

„It is not a woman I want — it is all women. And I seek for them in those around me, one by one…“

—  Henri Barbusse

As translated by John Rodker <!-- p. 72 -->
The Inferno (1917)
Kontext: Moving in both directions, the street is full of dresses which sway, offering themselves airily, the skirts lifting; dresses which lift and yet do not lift.
In the tall and narrow shop mirror I see myself approaching, rather pale and heavy-eyed. It is not a woman I want — it is all women. And I seek for them in those around me, one by one...

„I understand of what a great tribune's sorrow is made; and I can only dream of him who, visibly summarizing the immense crisis of human necessity in a work which forgets nothing, which seems to forget nothing, without the blot even of a misplaced comma, will proclaim our Charter to the epochs of the times in which we are, and will let us see it.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XXII - Light
Kontext: It is not enough to speak; you must know words. When you have said, "I am in pain," or when you have said, "I am right," you have said nothing in reality, you have only spoken to yourself. The real presence of truth is not in every word of truth, because of the wear and tear of words, and the fleeting multiplicity of arguments. One must have the gift of persuasion, of leaving to truth its speaking simplicity, its solemn unfoldings. It is not I who will be able to speak from the depths of myself. The attention of men dazzles me when it rises before me. The very nakedness of paper frightens me and drowns my looks. Not I shall embellish that whiteness with writing like light. I understand of what a great tribune's sorrow is made; and I can only dream of him who, visibly summarizing the immense crisis of human necessity in a work which forgets nothing, which seems to forget nothing, without the blot even of a misplaced comma, will proclaim our Charter to the epochs of the times in which we are, and will let us see it. Blessed be that simplifier, from whatever country he may come, — but all the same, I should prefer him, at the bottom of my heart, to speak French.

„All this is within us, and has fallen upon our heads. And God Himself, who is all these kinds of heavens in one, has fallen on our heads like thunder, and His infinity is ours.“

—  Henri Barbusse

The Inferno (1917), Ch. XVI
Kontext: The heavens have fallen on our heads! What a tremendous idea! It is the loftiest cry that life hurls. That was the cry of deliverance for which I had been groping until then. I had had a foreboding it would come, because a thing of glory like a poet's song always gives something to us poor living shadows, and human thought always reveals the world. But I needed to have it said explicitly so as to bring human misery and human grandeur together. I needed it as a key to the vault of the heavens.
These heavens, that is to say, the azure that our eyes enshrine, purity, plenitude — and the infinite number of suppliants, the sky of truth and religion. All this is within us, and has fallen upon our heads. And God Himself, who is all these kinds of heavens in one, has fallen on our heads like thunder, and His infinity is ours.

„Who shall compose the Bible of human desire, the terrible and simple Bible of that which drives us from life to life, the Bible of our doings, our goings, our original fall?“

—  Henri Barbusse

The Inferno (1917), Ch. XVII
Kontext: Who shall compose the Bible of human desire, the terrible and simple Bible of that which drives us from life to life, the Bible of our doings, our goings, our original fall? Who will dare to tell everything, who will have the genius to see everything?
I believe in a lofty form of poetry, in the work in which beauty will be mingled with beliefs. The more incapable of it I feel myself, the more I believe it to be possible. The sad splendour with which certain memories of mine overwhelm me, shows me that it is possible. Sometimes I myself have been sublime, I myself have been a masterpiece. Sometimes my visions have been mingled with a thrill of evidence so strong and so creative that the whole room has quivered with it like a forest, and there have been moments, in truth, when the silence cried out.
But I have stolen all this, and I have profited by it, thanks to the shamelessness of the truth revealed. At the point in space in which, by accident, I found myself, I had only to open my eyes and to stretch out my mendicant hands to accomplish more than a dream, to accomplish almost a work.

„The eye is lost in all directions among the desolation where the multitude of men and women are hiding, as always and as everywhere.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XXII - Light
Kontext: The eye is lost in all directions among the desolation where the multitude of men and women are hiding, as always and as everywhere.
That is what is. Who will say, "That is what must be!"
I have searched, I have indistinctly seen, I have doubted. Now, I hope.

„Our heart is not made for the abstract formula of happiness, since the truth of things is not made for it either. It beats for emotion and not for peace. Such is the gravity of the truth.“

—  Henri Barbusse

Light (1919), Ch. XXIII - Face To Face
Kontext: To live is to be happy to live. The usefulness of life — ah! its expansion has not the mystic shapes we vainly dreamed of when we were paralyzed by youth. Rather has it a shape of anxiety, of shuddering, of pain and glory. Our heart is not made for the abstract formula of happiness, since the truth of things is not made for it either. It beats for emotion and not for peace. Such is the gravity of the truth.

„There are all those things against you. Against you and your great common interests which as you dimly saw are the same thing in effect as justice, there are not only the sword-wavers, the profiteers, and the intriguers.“

—  Henri Barbusse, kniha Under Fire

Under Fire (1916), Ch. 24 - The Dawn
Kontext: There are all those things against you. Against you and your great common interests which as you dimly saw are the same thing in effect as justice, there are not only the sword-wavers, the profiteers, and the intriguers.
There is not only the prodigious opposition of interested parties — financiers, speculators great and small, armorplated in their banks and houses, who live on war and live in peace during war, with their brows stubbornly set upon a secret doctrine and their faces shut up like safes.
There are those who admire the exchange of flashing blows, who hail like women the bright colors of uniforms; those whom military music and the martial ballads poured upon the public intoxicate as with brandy; the dizzy-brained, the feeble-minded, the superstitious, the savages.
There are those who bury themselves in the past, on whose lips are the sayings only of bygone days, the traditionalists for whom an injustice has legal force because it is perpetuated, who aspire to be guided by the dead, who strive to subordinate progress and the future and all their palpitating passion to the realm of ghosts and nursery-tales.
With them are all the parsons, who seek to excite you and to lull you to sleep with the morphine of their Paradise, so that nothing may change. There are the lawyers, the economists, the historians — and how many more? — who befog you with the rigmarole of theory, who declare the inter-antagonism of nationalities at a time when the only unity possessed by each nation of to-day is in the arbitrary map-made lines of her frontiers, while she is inhabited by an artificial amalgam of races; there are the worm-eaten genealogists, who forge for the ambitious of conquest and plunder false certificates of philosophy and imaginary titles of nobility. The infirmity of human intelligence is short sight. In too many cases, the wiseacres are dunces of a sort, who lose sight of the simplicity of things, and stifle and obscure it with formulae and trivialities. It is the small things that one learns from books, not the great ones.
And even while they are saying that they do not wish for war they are doing all they can to perpetuate it. They nourish national vanity and the love of supremacy by force. "We alone," they say, each behind his shelter, "we alone are the guardians of courage and loyalty, of ability and good taste!" Out of the greatness and richness of a country they make something like a consuming disease. Out of patriotism — which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred — out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace.
They pervert the most admirable of moral principles. How many are the crimes of which they have made virtues merely by dowering them with the word "national"? They distort even truth itself. For the truth which is eternally the same they substitute each their national truth. So many nations, so many truths; and thus they falsify and twist the truth.
Those are your enemies. All those people whose childish and odiously ridiculous disputes you hear snarling above you — "It wasn't me that began, it was you!" — "No, it wasn't me, it was you!" — "Hit me then!" — "No, you hit me!" — those puerilities that perpetuate the world's huge wound, for the disputants are not the people truly concerned, but quite the contrary, nor do they desire to have done with it; all those people who cannot or will not make peace on earth; all those who for one reason or another cling to the ancient state of things and find or invent excuses for it — they are your enemies!
They are your enemies as much as those German soldiers are to-day who are prostrate here between you in the mud, who are only poor dupes hatefully deceived and brutalized, domestic beasts. They are your enemies, wherever they were born, however they pronounce their names, whatever the language in which they lie. Look at them, in the heaven and on the earth. Look at them, everywhere! Identify them once for all, and be mindful for ever!

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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