Henri Michaux

French painter, poet and writer

Henri Michaux (24 May 1899 – 18 October 1984) was a Belgian writer and painter.

Quotes Edit

  • A man who knows neither how to travel nor how to keep a journal has put together this travel journal. But at the moment of signing he is suddenly afraid. So he casts the first stone. Here.
    • Preface to Ecuador (1929)
  • No, I have already said it elsewhere. This earth has had all the exoticism washed out of it. If in a hundred years we have not established contact with some other planet (but we will), or, next best, with the earth's interior, humanity is finished. There is no longer a means of living, we explode, we go to war, we perpetrate evil of all sorts; we are, in a word, incapable of remaining any longer on this rind. We are in mortal pain; both from the dimensions as they now stand, and from the lack of any future dimension to which we can turn, now that our tour of the earth has been done to death. (These opinions, I know, are quite sufficient to have me looked down upon as a mind of the fourth order.)
    • Ecuador (1929)
  • It is almost an intellectual tradition to pay heed to the insane. In my case those that I most respect are the morons.
    • Ecuador (1929)
  • A mind of a certain size can feel only exasperation toward a city. Nothing can drive me more fully into despair. The walls first of all, and even then all the rest is only so many horrid images of selfishness, mistrust, stupidity, and narrow-mindedness. No need to memorize the Napoleonic code. Just look at a city and you have it. Each time I come back from the country, just as I am starting to congratulate myself on my calmness, there breaks out a furor, a rage... And I come upon my mark, homo sapiens, the acquisitive wolf. Cities, architectures, how I loathe you! Great surfaces of vaults, vaults cemented into the earth, vaults set out in compartments, forming vaults to eat in, vaults for sex, vaults on the watch, ready to open fire. How sad, sad...
    • Ecuador (1929)
  • You can love a woman. To admire her is hard. You are not dealing with something important.
    • Ecuador (1929)
  • In my night, I besiege my King. I rise up steadily and I wring his neck. He regathers his strength, I come back at him, and wring his neck another time. I shake him, shake him like an old prune tree, and his crown trembles on his head. But nevertheless, he is my King, I know it and he knows it, and it is quite certain that I am at his service.
    • Mon Roi, in La nuit remue (1935)
  • It is preferable not to travel with a dead man.
    • La Nuit des Bulgares in Plume (1938) (Used as introductory line in Jim Jarmusch's film "Dead Man".)
  • I started publishing small poetry plaquettes. They were about 200 copies. Then I went up to 2 thousand and now I have reached 20 thousand. Last week a publisher suggested that I publish my books in a collection that runs 100,000 copies. I refused: what I want is to return to the 200 from the beginning.
    • Quoted by Octavio Paz in “Don Juan Teachings,” 30th year anniversary, spanish edition, prologue. Cambridge, Mass., september the 15th, (1973.)

External links Edit

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