Cesare Pavese was an Italian poet, critic, novelist, translator and editor, born in 1908 in Santo Stefano Belbo, Italy and died by suicide in 1950 in Turin.
He was instrumental in introducing modern U.S. and English writers to Italy through his translations of works by authors like Hemingway, Faulkner and Joyce.
Pavese was also an editor of the publishing house Einaudi and the anti-Fascist review La Cultura.
His works, including novels, short stories, poetry and diaries, often explored themes of myth, symbol and archetype, reflecting his fascination with the human condition.
Some of this notable works include “The Moon and the Bonfires,” “Dialogues with Leucò,” and “This Business of Living.” The Pavese Prize for literature was established in 1957.
Here is a collection of the top quotes by Cesare Pavese.
Best Cesare Pavese Quotes
The only joy in the world is to begin. ~ Cesare Pavese.
I am the captain of my destiny, I do not abandon the ship in hard times, But, I do have sense enough not to go down with the ship. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Waiting is still an occupation. It is having nothing to wait for that is terrible. ~ Cesare Pavese.
We commit two wrongs when we fail to right a wrong. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The art of living is the art of knowing how to believe lies. ~ Cesare Pavese.
What we desire is not to possess a woman, but to be the only one to possess her. ~ Cesare Pavese.
If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears. ~ Cesare Pavese.
A corpse is what’s left after waking too often. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Will power is only the tensile strength of one’s own disposition. One cannot increase it by a single ounce. ~ Cesare Pavese.
We must never say, even in fun, that we are disheartened, because someone might take us at our word. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Maybe it’s better like this, better that everything should go up in a blaze of dry grass and that people should begin again. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Men who have a tempestuous inner life and do not seek to give vent to it by talking or writing are simply men who have no tempestuous inner life. Give company to a lonely man and he will talk more than anyone. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Reality is a prison, where one vegetates and always will. All the rest – thought, action – is just a pastime, mental or physical. What counts then, is to come to grips with reality. The rest can go. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Popular Cesare Pavese Quotes
One does not kill oneself for love of a woman, but because love – any love – reveals us in our nakedness, our misery, our vulnerability, our nothingness. ~ Cesare Pavese.
A dream is a creation of the intelligence, the creator being present but not knowing how it will end. ~ Cesare Pavese.
You’ve got to understand life, understand it when you’re young. ~ Cesare Pavese.
There is nothing fine about being a child: it is fine, when we are old, too look back to when we were children . ~ Cesare Pavese.
You will hear words old and spent and useless like costumes left over from yesterday’s parties. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Life is not a search for experience, but for ourselves. Having discovered our own fundamental level we realize that it conforms to our own destiny and we find peace. ~ Cesare Pavese.
When you dream, you are an author, but you do not know how it will end. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Perfect behavior is born of complete indifference. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Top Cesare Pavese Quotes
From someone who doesn’t want to share your destiny, you should neither accept a cigarette. ~ Cesare Pavese.
A man succeeds in completing a work only when his qualities transcend that work. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Death is repose, but the thought of death disturbs all repose. ~ Cesare Pavese.
When a man mourns for someone who has played him false, it is not for love of her, but for his own humiliation at not having deserved her trust. ~ Cesare Pavese.
To know the world, one must construct it. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Life is pain and the enjoyment of love is an anesthetic. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Here’s the difficulty about suicide: it is an act of ambition that can be committed only when one has passed beyond ambition. ~ Cesare Pavese.
I’ve discovered nothing. but do you remember how much we talked when we were boys? We talked just for the fun of it. We knew very well it was only talk, but still we enjoyed it. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The problem is not the harshness of Fate, for anything we want strongly enough we get. The trouble is rather that when we have it we grow sick of it, and then we should never blame Fate, only our own desire. ~ Cesare Pavese.
You will be loved the day when you will be able to show your weakness without the other person using it to assert his strength. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Every luxury must be paid for, and everything is a luxury, starting with being in this world. ~ Cesare Pavese.
We can all do good deeds, but very few of us can think good thoughts. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Reality is a prison, where one vegetates and always will… ~ Cesare Pavese.
No woman marries for money; they are all clever enough, before marrying a millionaire, to fall in love with him first. ~ Cesare Pavese.
A love thought: I love you so much that I could wish I had been born your brother, or had brought you into the world myself. ~ Cesare Pavese.
It had to happen to you, to concentrate your whole life on one point, and then discover that you can do anything except live at that point. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Many men on the point of an edifying death would be furious if they were suddenly restored to health. ~ Cesare Pavese.
At great periods you have always felt, deep within you, the temptation to commit suicide. You gave yourself to it, breached your own defenses. You were a child. The idea of suicide was a protest against life; by dying, you would escape this longing for death. ~ Cesare Pavese.
To avenge a wrong done to you, is to rob yourself of the comfort of crying out against the injustice of it. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The face of the night will be an old wound that reopens each evening, impassive and living. The distant silence will ache like a soul, mute, in the dark. We’ll speak to the night as it’s whispering softly. ~ Cesare Pavese.
There comes a day when, for someone who has persecuted us, we feel only indifference, a weariness at his stupidity. Then we forgive him. ~ Cesare Pavese.
I thought of how many places there are in the world that belong in this way to someone, who has it in his blood beyond anyone else’s understanding. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Love is the cheapest of religions. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Famous Cesare Pavese Quotes
Life without smoking is like the smoke without the roast. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Misfortunes cannot suffice to make a fool into an intelligent man. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Work alone isn’t enough for me and mine; we know how to break our backs, but the great dream Of my fathers was to be good at doing nothing. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Love has the faculty of making two lovers seem naked, not in each other’s sight, but in their own. ~ Cesare Pavese.
There is mercy for everyone, except those who are bored with life. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Perfect behavior is born of complete indifference. Perhaps this is why we always love madly someone who treats us with indifference. ~ Cesare Pavese.
If it were possible to have a life absolutely free from every feeling of sin, what a terrifying vacuum it would be. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The only way to escape the abyss is to look at it, gauge it, sound it out and descend into it. ~ Cesare Pavese.
You wait for nothing if not for the word that will burst from the deep like a fruit among branches. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Not believing in anything is also a religion. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The art of living is the art of knowing how to believe lies. The fearful thing about it is that, not knowing what truth may be, we can still recognize lies. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The real affliction of old age is remorse. ~ Cesare Pavese.
We want Realism’s wealth of experience and Symbolism’s depth of feeling. All art is a problem of balance between two opposites. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Childhood is not only the childhood we really had but also the impressions we formed of it in our adolescence and maturity. That is why childhood seems so long. Probably every period of life is multiplied by our reflections upon the next. ~ Cesare Pavese.
What world lies beyond that stormy sea I do not know, but every ocean has a distant shore, and I shall reach it. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Writing is a fine thing, because it combines the two pleasures of talking to yourself and talking to a crowd. ~ Cesare Pavese.
When writing poetry, it is not that produces a bright idea, but the bright idea that kindles the fire of. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Don’t mix wine and women. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The whole problem of life, then, is this: how to break out of one’s own loneliness, how to communicate with others. ~ Cesare Pavese.
A man is never completely alone in this world. At the worst, he has the company of a boy, a youth, and by and by a grown man – the one he used to be. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Ultimate Cesare Pavese Quotes
We like to have work to do, so as to have the right to rest. ~ Cesare Pavese.
We do not free ourselves from something by avoiding it, but only by living through it. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Suicides are timid murderers. Masochism instead of Sadism. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Remember, writing poetry is like making love: one will never know whether one’s own pleasure is shared. ~ Cesare Pavese.
War makes men barbarous because, to take part in it, one must harden oneself against all regret, all appreciation of delicacy and sensitive values. One must live as if those values did not exist, and when the war is over one has lost the resilience to return to those values. ~ Cesare Pavese.
No matter how much a young man likes to think for himself, he is always trying to model himself on some abstract pattern largely derived from the example of the world around him. And a man, no matter how conservative, shows his own worth by his personal deviation from that pattern. ~ Cesare Pavese.
For women, history does not exist. Murasaki, Sappho, and Madame Lafayette might be their own contemporaries. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The slowness of time, for a man who knows nothing will happen, is brutal. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. ~ Cesare Pavese.
There is only one pleasure-that of being alive. All the rest is misery. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Idleness makes hours pass slowly and years swiftly. Activity makes the hours short and the years long. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The cadence of suffering has begun. Every evening at dusk, my heart constricts until night has come. ~ Cesare Pavese.
There is something indecent in words. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Hate is always a clash between our spirit and someone else’s body. ~ Cesare Pavese.
You cannot insult a man more atrociously than by refusing to believe he is suffering . ~ Cesare Pavese.
We care so little of other people than even Christianity urges us to do good for the love of God . ~ Cesare Pavese.
Wise Cesare Pavese Quotes
Things are revealed through the memories we have of them. Remembering a thing means seeing it only then for the first time. ~ Cesare Pavese.
One stops being a child when one realizes that telling one’s trouble does not make it any better. ~ Cesare Pavese.
It is not the actual enjoyment of pleasure that we desire. What we want is to test the futility of that pleasure, so as to be no longer obsessed by it. ~ Cesare Pavese.
We do not remember days, we remember moments. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Artists are the monks of the bourgeois state. ~ Cesare Pavese.
In the mental disturbance and effort of writing, what sustains you is the certainty that on every page there is something left unsaid. ~ Cesare Pavese.
If it is true that one gets used to suffering, how is it that as the years go one always suffers more? No, they are not mad, those people who amuse themselves, enjoy life, travel, make love, fight they are not mad. We should like to do the same ourselves. ~ Cesare Pavese.
Woman gives herself as a prize to the weak and as a prop to the strong and no man ever has what he should. ~ Cesare Pavese.
The closing years of life are like the end of a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped. ~ Cesare Pavese.
So these were 89 top Cesare Pavese quotes on life.