57 Paul Valéry Quotes from the French Poet and Essayist

Paul Valéry a significant figure in Symbolist literature was a renowned French poet, essayist and thinker.

He was born in Séte, France, in 1871, he moved to Paris to cultivate his poetic career and became a regular attendee at Stéphane Mallarmé’s salons.

His career trajectory underwent a drastic shift in 1892 when he chose to abandon literature and sentiment for mathematics, philosophy and language.


During this period, he did not write poetry but compiled his thoughts in journals and essays, including “La Soirée avec M. Teste.”

After supporting himself with various jobs, he eventually revisited poetry at Andre Gide’s persuasion.

His works, including “La Jeune Parque,” “Album de vers anciens, 1890-1920,” and “Charmes,” achieved substantial acclaim, leading to his election to the Académe Francaise in 1925.

Also read: Anne Carson Quotes and Hristo Botev Quotes

Valéry continued to influence the literary world, contributing to the realm of language theory and influencing writers like T.S. Eliot and John Ashbery.

He passed away in Paris in 1945.

Here are some best Paul Valéry quotes for you to read.

Top 10 Paul Valery Quotes


An artist never really finishes his work, he merely abandons it. ~ Paul Valéry.


Let us enrich ourselves with our mutual differences. ~ Paul Valéry.


A politician is a hybrid of a dancer and an accountant. ~ Paul Valery.


The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. ~ Paul Valéry.


Politeness is organized indifference. ~ Paul Valéry.


History is the science of what never happens twice. ~ Paul Valéry.


We hope vaguely but dread precisely. ~ Paul Valéry.


Books have the same enemies as people: fire, humidity, animals, weather, and their own content. ~ Paul Valéry.


Poetry is a separate language, or more specifically, a language within a language. ~ Paul Valery.


A man’s true secrets are more secret to himself than they are to others. ~ Paul Valéry.

Famous Paul Valery Quotes

Poems are never finished – just abandoned. ~ Paul Valery.


Politics is the art of stopping people from minding their own business. ~ Paul Valery.

The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best. ~ Paul Valéry.


Thought must be hidden in the verse like nutritional virtue in a fruit. ~ Paul Valéry.

To penetrate one’s being, one must go armed to the teeth. ~ Paul Valéry.


One had to be a Newton to notice that the moon is falling, when everyone sees that it doesn’t fall. ~ Paul Valéry.

Love is being stupid together. ~ Paul Valéry.

We need to wake up from a thought that lasts too long. ~ Paul Valéry.

Ego is awful. The ego of other people, of course. ~ Paul Valery.


Fidelity to meaning alone in translation is a kind of betrayal. ~ Paul Valéry.

To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees. ~ Paul Valéry.


Man is only man at the surface. Remove the skin, dissect, and immediately you come to machinery. ~ Paul Valéry.

Science means simply the aggregate of all the recipes that are always successful. All the rest is literature. ~ Paul Valéry.


Every beginning is a consequence – every beginning ends some thing. ~ Paul Valéry.

Short Paul Valery Quotes


A leader is someone who needs other people. ~ Paul Valery.

Conscience reigns but it does not govern. ~ Paul Valery.

Fascism begins with the thought that everybody else is an idiot. ~ Paul Valery.


Everything simple is false. Everything complex is unusable. ~ Paul Valery.

If the Ego is hateful, Love your neighbor as yourself becomes a cruel irony. ~ Paul Valéry.

We are enriched by our reciprocate differences. ~ Paul Valéry.

Our most important thoughts are those that contradict our emotions. ~ Paul Valéry.


Serious people have few ideas. People with ideas are never serious. ~ Paul Valéry.

Everything changes but the avant-garde. ~ Paul Valéry.

A difficulty is a light. An insurmountable difficulty is a sun. ~ Paul Valéry.

If the state is strong, it crushes us. If it is weak, we perish. ~ Paul Valéry.

Having precise ideas often leads to a man doing nothing. ~ Paul Valéry.

War: a massacre of people who don’t know each other for the profit of people who know each other but don’t massacre each other. ~ Paul Valéry.


One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather. ~ Paul Valéry.

God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through. ~ Paul Valéry.

Every social system is more or less against nature, and at every moment nature is at work to reclaim her rights. ~ Paul Valéry.

Power without abuse loses its charm. ~ Paul Valéry.

Sometimes I think, sometimes I am. ~ Paul Valéry.

A great man is one who leaves others at a loss after he is gone. ~ Paul Valéry.

The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be. ~ Paul Valéry.


Two dangers constantly threaten the world: order and disorder. ~ Paul Valéry.

Optimists do not write well. ~ Paul Valery.

Best Paul Valery Quotes

To enter into your own mind you need to be armed to the teeth. ~ Paul Valéry.

An intelligent woman is a woman with whom one can be as stupid as one wants. ~ Paul Valéry.

The universe is built on a plan the profound symmetry of which is somehow present in the inner structure of our intellect. ~ Paul Valéry.

What golden hour of life, what glittering moment will ever equal the pain its loss can cause? ~ Paul Valéry.

A work of art is never finished; it is only abandoned. ~ Paul Valery.

Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking. ~ Paul Valéry.


Breath, dreams, silence, invincible calm, you triumph. ~ Paul Valéry.

Stupidity is not my strong point. ~ Paul Valery.

The advantage of the incomprehensible is that it never loses its freshness. ~ Paul Valery.

So these were the 57 famous quotes about Paul Valery.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Paul Farmer quotes and Marshall McLuhan quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar