Nicolas Chamfort

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Nicolas Chamfort (1741 - April 13, 1794), born Nicolas-Sébastien Roch, was a French writer.


  • L'amour, tel qu'il existe dans la société, n'est que l'échange de deux fantaisies et le contact de deux épidermes.
    • Maximes et pensées, nr. 359. Translation: Love, as it exists in society, is nothing but the exchange of two fantasies and the contact of two skins.
  • "Eminence without merit earns deference without esteem."

'Maximes et pensées' (1805)

  • The only thing that stops God sending a second Flood is that the first one was useless.
    • Characters and Anecdotes book, 1771
  • We must start human society from scratch; as Francis Bacon said, we must recreate human understanding.
    • "Reflections and Anecdotes", nr. 264 (Douglas Parmée translation)
  • La pensée console de tout et remédie à tout. Si quelquefois elle vous fait du mal, demandez-lui le reméde du mal qu'elle vous a fait, elle vous le donnera.
    • Samuel Beckett: Collected Poems 161-163. Translation: "Ask of all-healing, all-consoling thought/Salve and solace for the woe it wrought."
  • Most anthologists of poetry or quotations are like those who eat cherries or oysters, first picking the best and ending by eating everything.
    • Maximes et anecdotes (1795)


  • Le bonheur n’est pas chose aisée, il est très difficile de le trouver en nous et impossible de le trouver ailleurs.
    • Translation: Happiness is not easily won; it is hard to find it in ourselves, and impossible to find it elsewhere.
  • Said a man ingenuously to one of his friends: "This morning we condemned three men to death. Two of them definitely deserved it."

"Swallow a toad in the morning and you will encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day." Source: Journalist Mark Stevens, NYC

"The most wasted day is that in which we have not laughed."

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