Friday, February 19, 2010

beauty usurped by love

“In a box at the theater, Albéric meets a woman more beautiful than his lover. Allow me to express this mathematically. This woman promises three units of happiness as compared with his lover’s two. Perfect beauty, let’s say, would be expressed by four units.”

“Is it really surprising, if he should prefer his lover, whose features, to him, offer a hundred units of happiness? Even little blemishes on another woman, a smallpox scar for example, are touching to a man in love and inspire deep reverie; just imagine the effects when these belong to the body of his lover.”

“If one even begins to prefer ugliness and love it, it is because in this case ugliness is beauty.”

[Note:] “Beauty is but the promise of happiness. (La beauté n’est que la promesse du bonheur.) The happiness of a Greek was different from the happiness of a Frenchman in 1822. Look in the eyes of the Medici Venus and compare them to those of the Magdalen of Pordenone (at M. de Sommariva’s).”

Marie Henri Beyle, aka Stendhal, De l’Amour, 1822

1 comment:

  1. you are too prolific, i cannot keep up - meaning i can read it all, but i cannot find the time to reflect on it. but it is here and i am happy for that, because it is findable and returnable to at the end of my summer...