As if the fullness of the soul did not sometimes overflow in the emptiest metaphors, since no one can ever give the exact measure of his needs, nor of his conceptions, nor of his sorrows; and since human speech is like a cracked tin kettle, on which we hammer out tunes to make bears dance when we long to move the stars.
-- Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary)

At the end of August my brother came to visit us from Seattle. While he was here my brother & I visited the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. We went specifically to see an exhibit created by Maira Kalman called Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World.) As a whole, it was a marvelous exhibit, but one piece especially caught our eye. Both my brother and I stood in front of it for the longest time. The piece consisted of the above Flaubert quote written in Maira Kalman's distinctive script, displayed across a large section of wall space.

The beauty & poignancy of these words took our breath away...

Do you have any favorite quotes which make you sigh? Which take your breath away?


  1. I just saw this yesterday and was so moved at it, too. Just wonderful.

  2. Is the exhibit in Los Angeles now? Bravo, sir, on your endeavors at reading (& blogging about) War & Peace!