More Wisdom from Gautier

October 3rd, 2004 · No Comments · Writing

“What a foolish thing is this suppositious perfectibility of the species with which they are forever dinning our ears! They talk as if man were a machine admitting of improvement, and that a better adjusted cog or better placed counterweight might make him function more easily and conveniently. When science has contrived to offer man a double stomach, so that he can ruminate like a cow; eyes on the far side of his head so that, like Janus, he can see people sticking their tongue out behind his back, and contemplate his indignity in a less embarrassing position than that of the callipygous Venus in Athens; wings implanted in his shoulders so that he need no longer pay six sous to ride in the omnibus; when it has created a new organ; then, then indeed, the word perfectibility will mean something. Has anything been done since all this perfecting started, that was not done as well, or better, before the Flood?” — Théophile Gautier, from the preface to Mademoiselle de Maupin

Category: Writing

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