Jules Renard

I’ve subscribed to “Quotes of the Day,” which provides four witty statements usually made by people of whom I know very little. I often enjoy the quotations, but not knowing the life behind the statement, I’m a bit reticent to link my name to their’s. So, this morning, after enjoying one of the quotations, I decided to look up the author. Jules Renard was a French author who lived from 1864 to 1910.

Some of Jules Renard’s works take their inspiration from the countryside he loved in the Nièvre region. His character portraits are sharp, ironic and sometimes cruel (in his Histoires naturelles he humanizes animals and animalizes men) and he was an active supporter of pacifism and anticlericalism (apparent in La Bigote). His journal (1897 to 1910, published in 1925) is a masterpiece of introspection, irony, humor and nostalgia, and also provides an important glimpse into the literary life.

Although Renard is not a role model for his ideas about religion and government (he was a socialist), you will enjoy his pithy proverbs:

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting
before you get tired.”

“If one were to build the house of happiness,
the largest space would be the waiting room.”

“If money does not make you happy; give it back.”

“Writing is the only way to talk without being interrupted.”

“Writing is an occupation in which you have to keep
proving your talent to people who have none.”