Zitate von Henri Barbusse

Henri Barbusse Foto
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Henri Barbusse

Geburtstag: 17. Mai 1873
Todesdatum: 30. August 1935

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Henri Barbusse war ein französischer Politiker und Schriftsteller.

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Zitate Henri Barbusse

„Zwei Armeen, die sich bekämpfen, sind eine grosse Armee, die Selbstmord an sich übt.“

— Henri Barbusse
"Das Feuer" (orig.: Le Feu, 1916), Zürich 1920, ins Deutsche übersetzt von L. von Meyenburg, S. 3

„Alles ruht in mir. Es gibt keine Richter, es gibt keine Schranken, und es gibt keine Grenzen vor mir.“

— Henri Barbusse
"Die Hölle" (orig.: L`Enfer, 1908), Zürich 1919, ins Deutsche übersetzt von Max Hochdorf, S. 244

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„Nach diesem Kriege darf es keinen Krieg mehr geben! […] - Keinen Krieg mehr, keinen Krieg mehr! - Ja, es ist genug!“

— Henri Barbusse
"Das Feuer" (orig.: Le Feu, 1916), Zürich 1920, ins Deutsche übersetzt von L. von Meyenburg, S. 390

„They who say, "There will always be war," do not know what they are saying. They are preyed upon by the common internal malady of shortsight. They think themselves full of common-sense as they think themselves full of honesty. In reality, they are revealing the clumsy and limited mentality of the assassins themselves.“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: The spectacle of to-morrow is one of agony. Wise men make laughable efforts to determine what may be, in the ages to come, the cause of the inhabited world's end. Will it be a comet, the rarefaction of water, or the extinction of the sun, that will destroy mankind? They have forgotten the likeliest and nearest cause — Suicide. They who say, "There will always be war," do not know what they are saying. They are preyed upon by the common internal malady of shortsight. They think themselves full of common-sense as they think themselves full of honesty. In reality, they are revealing the clumsy and limited mentality of the assassins themselves. The shapeless struggle of the elements will begin again on the seared earth when men have slain themselves because they were slaves, because they believed the same things, because they were alike.

„The cult of the masterpieces of art and thought is the only impulse of the soul which, by general consent, has always soared above patriotic littlenesses.“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: If, from the idea of motherland, you take away covetousness, hatred, envy and vainglory; if you take away from it the desire for predominance by violence, what is there left of it? It is not an individual unity of laws; for just laws have no colors. It is not a solidarity of interests, for there are no material national interests — or they are not honest. It is not a unity of race; for the map of the countries is not the map of the races. What is there left? There is left a restricted communion, deep and delightful; the affectionate and affecting attraction in the charm of a language — there is hardly more in the universe besides its languages which are foreigners — there is left a personal and delicate preference for certain forms of landscape, of monuments, of talent. And even this radiance has its limits. The cult of the masterpieces of art and thought is the only impulse of the soul which, by general consent, has always soared above patriotic littlenesses.

„It is not a woman I want — it is all women. And I seek for them in those around me, one by one...“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: Moving in both directions, the street is full of dresses which sway, offering themselves airily, the skirts lifting; dresses which lift and yet do not lift. In the tall and narrow shop mirror I see myself approaching, rather pale and heavy-eyed. It is not a woman I want — it is all women. And I seek for them in those around me, one by one... As translated by John Rodker <!-- p. 72 -->

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„There must be justice, not charity.“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: There must be justice, not charity. Kindness is solitary. Compassion becomes one with him whom we pity; it allows us to fathom him, to understand him alone amongst the rest; but it blurs and befogs the laws of the whole. I must set off with a clear idea, like the beam of a lighthouse through the deformities and temptations of night.

„A stupor and a sort of shame overwhelmed me as I heard that man trying to extract the utmost entertainment possible from the dark happenings that had been torturing me for a month.“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: A stupor and a sort of shame overwhelmed me as I heard that man trying to extract the utmost entertainment possible from the dark happenings that had been torturing me for a month. I thought of that great voice, now silenced, which had said so clearly and forcefully that the writers of to-day imitate the caricaturists. I, who had penetrated into the heart of humanity and returned again, found nothing human in this jiggling caricature! It was so superficial that it was a lie. He said in front of me — of me the awful witness: "It is man stripped of all outward appearances that I want people to see. Others are fiction, I am the truth."

„I had seen Jesus Christ on the margin of the lake. He came like an ordinary man along the path.“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: I had seen Jesus Christ on the margin of the lake. He came like an ordinary man along the path. There is no halo round his head. He is only disclosed by his pallor and his gentleness. Planes of light draw near and mass themselves and fade away around him. He shines in the sky, as he shone on the water. As they have told of him, his beard and hair are the color of wine. He looks upon the immense stain made by Christians on the world, a stain confused and dark, whose edge alone, down on His bare feet, has human shape and crimson color. In the middle of it are anthems and burnt sacrifices, files of hooded cloaks, and of torturers, armed with battle-axes, halberds and bayonets; and among long clouds and thickets of armies, the opposing clash of two crosses which have not quite the same shape. Close to him, too, on a canvas wall, again I see the cross that bleeds. There are populations, too, tearing themselves in twain that they may tear themselves the better; there is the ceremonious alliance, "turning the needy out of the way," of those who wear three crowns and those who wear one; and, whispering in the ear of Kings, there are gray-haired Eminences, and cunning monks, whose hue is of darkness. I saw the man of light and simplicity bow his head; and I feel his wonderful voice saying: "I did not deserve the evil they have done unto me." Robbed reformer, he is a witness of his name's ferocious glory. The greed-impassioned money-changers have long since chased Him from the temple in their turn, and put the priests in his place. He is crucified on every crucifix.

„I understand of what a great tribune's sorrow is made; and I can only dream of him who, visibly summarizing the immense crisis of human necessity in a work which forgets nothing, which seems to forget nothing, without the blot even of a misplaced comma, will proclaim our Charter to the epochs of the times in which we are, and will let us see it.“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: It is not enough to speak; you must know words. When you have said, "I am in pain," or when you have said, "I am right," you have said nothing in reality, you have only spoken to yourself. The real presence of truth is not in every word of truth, because of the wear and tear of words, and the fleeting multiplicity of arguments. One must have the gift of persuasion, of leaving to truth its speaking simplicity, its solemn unfoldings. It is not I who will be able to speak from the depths of myself. The attention of men dazzles me when it rises before me. The very nakedness of paper frightens me and drowns my looks. Not I shall embellish that whiteness with writing like light. I understand of what a great tribune's sorrow is made; and I can only dream of him who, visibly summarizing the immense crisis of human necessity in a work which forgets nothing, which seems to forget nothing, without the blot even of a misplaced comma, will proclaim our Charter to the epochs of the times in which we are, and will let us see it. Blessed be that simplifier, from whatever country he may come, — but all the same, I should prefer him, at the bottom of my heart, to speak French.

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„I wanted to know the secret of life.“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: I wanted to know the secret of life. I had seen men, groups, deeds, faces. In the twilight I had seen the tremulous eyes of beings as deep as wells. I had seen the mouth that said in a burst of glory, "I am more sensitive than others." I had seen the struggle to love and make one's self understood, the refusal of two persons in conversation to give themselves to each other, the coming together of two lovers, the lovers with an infectious smile, who are lovers in name only, who bury themselves in kisses, who press wound to wound to cure themselves, between whom there is really no attachment, and who, in spite of their ecstasy deriving light from shadow, are strangers as much as the sun and the moon are strangers. I had heard those who could find no crumb of peace except in the confession of their shameful misery, and I had seen faces pale and red-eyed from crying. I wanted to grasp it all at the same time. All the truths taken together make only one truth. I had had to wait until that day to learn this simple thing. It was this truth of truths which I needed. Not because of my love of mankind. It is not true that we love mankind. No one ever has loved, does love, or will love mankind. It was for myself, solely for myself, that I sought to attain the full truth, which is above emotion, above peace, even above life, like a sort of death. I wanted to derive guidance from it, a faith. I wanted to use it for my own good.

„I saw the man of light and simplicity bow his head; and I feel his wonderful voice saying:
"I did not deserve the evil they have done unto me."
Robbed reformer, he is a witness of his name's ferocious glory. The greed-impassioned money-changers have long since chased Him from the temple in their turn, and put the priests in his place. He is crucified on every crucifix.“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: I had seen Jesus Christ on the margin of the lake. He came like an ordinary man along the path. There is no halo round his head. He is only disclosed by his pallor and his gentleness. Planes of light draw near and mass themselves and fade away around him. He shines in the sky, as he shone on the water. As they have told of him, his beard and hair are the color of wine. He looks upon the immense stain made by Christians on the world, a stain confused and dark, whose edge alone, down on His bare feet, has human shape and crimson color. In the middle of it are anthems and burnt sacrifices, files of hooded cloaks, and of torturers, armed with battle-axes, halberds and bayonets; and among long clouds and thickets of armies, the opposing clash of two crosses which have not quite the same shape. Close to him, too, on a canvas wall, again I see the cross that bleeds. There are populations, too, tearing themselves in twain that they may tear themselves the better; there is the ceremonious alliance, "turning the needy out of the way," of those who wear three crowns and those who wear one; and, whispering in the ear of Kings, there are gray-haired Eminences, and cunning monks, whose hue is of darkness. I saw the man of light and simplicity bow his head; and I feel his wonderful voice saying: "I did not deserve the evil they have done unto me." Robbed reformer, he is a witness of his name's ferocious glory. The greed-impassioned money-changers have long since chased Him from the temple in their turn, and put the priests in his place. He is crucified on every crucifix.

„It terrifies one to think for how short a time science has been methodical and of useful industry; and after all, is there anything on earth more marvelously easy than destruction?“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: It terrifies one to think for how short a time science has been methodical and of useful industry; and after all, is there anything on earth more marvelously easy than destruction? Who knows the new mediums it has laid in store? Who knows the limit of cruelty to which the art of poisoning may go? Who knows if they will not subject and impress epidemic disease as they do the living armies — or that it will not emerge, meticulous, invincible, from the armies of the dead? Who knows by what dread means they will sink in oblivion this war, which only struck to the ground twenty thousand men a day, which has invented guns of only seventy-five miles' range, bombs of only one ton's weight, aeroplanes of only a hundred and fifty miles an hour, tanks, and submarines which cross the Atlantic? Their costs have not yet reached in any country the sum total of private fortunes.

„There are those who admire the exchange of flashing blows, who hail like women the bright colors of uniforms; those whom military music and the martial ballads poured upon the public intoxicate as with brandy; the dizzy-brained, the feeble-minded, the superstitious, the savages.“

— Henri Barbusse
Context: There are all those things against you. Against you and your great common interests which as you dimly saw are the same thing in effect as justice, there are not only the sword-wavers, the profiteers, and the intriguers. There is not only the prodigious opposition of interested parties — financiers, speculators great and small, armorplated in their banks and houses, who live on war and live in peace during war, with their brows stubbornly set upon a secret doctrine and their faces shut up like safes. There are those who admire the exchange of flashing blows, who hail like women the bright colors of uniforms; those whom military music and the martial ballads poured upon the public intoxicate as with brandy; the dizzy-brained, the feeble-minded, the superstitious, the savages. There are those who bury themselves in the past, on whose lips are the sayings only of bygone days, the traditionalists for whom an injustice has legal force because it is perpetuated, who aspire to be guided by the dead, who strive to subordinate progress and the future and all their palpitating passion to the realm of ghosts and nursery-tales. With them are all the parsons, who seek to excite you and to lull you to sleep with the morphine of their Paradise, so that nothing may change. There are the lawyers, the economists, the historians — and how many more? — who befog you with the rigmarole of theory, who declare the inter-antagonism of nationalities at a time when the only unity possessed by each nation of to-day is in the arbitrary map-made lines of her frontiers, while she is inhabited by an artificial amalgam of races; there are the worm-eaten genealogists, who forge for the ambitious of conquest and plunder false certificates of philosophy and imaginary titles of nobility. The infirmity of human intelligence is short sight. In too many cases, the wiseacres are dunces of a sort, who lose sight of the simplicity of things, and stifle and obscure it with formulae and trivialities. It is the small things that one learns from books, not the great ones. And even while they are saying that they do not wish for war they are doing all they can to perpetuate it. They nourish national vanity and the love of supremacy by force. "We alone," they say, each behind his shelter, "we alone are the guardians of courage and loyalty, of ability and good taste!" Out of the greatness and richness of a country they make something like a consuming disease. Out of patriotism — which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred — out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace. They pervert the most admirable of moral principles. How many are the crimes of which they have made virtues merely by dowering them with the word "national"? They distort even truth itself. For the truth which is eternally the same they substitute each their national truth. So many nations, so many truths; and thus they falsify and twist the truth. Those are your enemies. All those people whose childish and odiously ridiculous disputes you hear snarling above you — "It wasn't me that began, it was you!" — "No, it wasn't me, it was you!" — "Hit me then!" — "No, you hit me!" — those puerilities that perpetuate the world's huge wound, for the disputants are not the people truly concerned, but quite the contrary, nor do they desire to have done with it; all those people who cannot or will not make peace on earth; all those who for one reason or another cling to the ancient state of things and find or invent excuses for it — they are your enemies! They are your enemies as much as those German soldiers are to-day who are prostrate here between you in the mud, who are only poor dupes hatefully deceived and brutalized, domestic beasts. They are your enemies, wherever they were born, however they pronounce their names, whatever the language in which they lie. Look at them, in the heaven and on the earth. Look at them, everywhere! Identify them once for all, and be mindful for ever!

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