March 5th, 2005

rock

10. survivor of suicide

     Le suicide est le plus grand des crimes. Quel courage peut avoir celui qui tremble devant un revers de fortune ? Le véritable héroïsme consiste à être supérieur aux maux de la vie.
— Napoléon I, Maximes de guerre et pensées
Suicide is the greatest of crimes. What courage could possess he who trembles before a reversal of fortune? True heroism consists in being above the ills of life.
— Napoleon I, Maxims of War and Thoughts
     L’orgueil est toujours plus près du suicide que du repentir.
— Antoine de Rivarol, Maximes, pensées et paradoxes
Pride is always closer to suicide than to repentance.
— Antoine de Rivarol, Maxims, thoughts, and Paradoxes
     On a, relativement à la gravité du sujet, écrit très peu sur le suicide, on ne l’a pas observé. Peut-être cette maladie est-elle inobservable. Le suicide est l’effet d’un sentiment que nous nommerons, si vous voulez, l’estime de soi-même, pour ne pas le confondre avec le mot honneur. Le jour où l’homme se méprise, le jour où il se voit méprisé, le moment où la réalité de la vie est en désaccord avec ses espérances, il se tue et rend ainsi hommage à la société devant laquelle il ne veut pas rester déshabillé de ses vertus ou de sa splendeur. Quoi qu’on en dise, parmi les athées (il faut excepter le chrétien du suicide), les lâches seuls acceptent une vie déshonorée. Le suicide est de trois natures : il y a d’abord le suicide qui n’est que le dernier accès d’une longue maladie et qui certes appartient à la pathologie ; puis le suicide par désespoir, enfin le suicide par raisonnement. Lucien voulait se tuer par désespoir et par raisonnement, les deux suicides dont on peut revenir ; car il n’y a d’irrévocable que le suicide pathologique : mais souvent les trois causes se réunissent, comme chez Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
— Honoré de Balzac, Illusions perdues
Considering the gravity of the subject, very little has been written about suicide; it has not been studied. Perhaps this malady cannot be studied. Suicide results from a feeling that if you like we will call self-esteem, so as not to confuse it with the word “honor”. The day when a man despises himself, the day when he sees himself despised, the moment when the reality of life is at odds with his hopes, he kills himself and thus pays homage to society, before which he does not wish to stand stripped of his virtues or his splendor. Whatever one may say of it, among atheists (exception must be made for the Christian suicide) cowards alone accept a life dishonored. There are three kinds of suicide: firstly the kind that is but the final bout of a prolonged sickness, and which surely belongs to the domain of pathology; secondly the suicide arrived at through despair; thirdly the suicide arrived at through reasoning. Lucien wanted to kill himself through despair and through reasoning, the two kinds of suicide from which one may retreat; for the only irrevocable kind is the pathological suicide; but often the three causes come together, as in the case of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
— Honoré de Balzac, Lost Illusions
     SUICIDE. Preuve de lâcheté.
— Gustave Flaubert, Le Dictionnaire des idées reçues

SUICIDE. Proof of cowardice.
— Gustave Flaubert, Dictionary of Received Ideas[0]
Born on 9 April 1821, Charles Baudelaire made several attempts on his life before realizing himself as a poet. At the age of 24, he sent his mistress Jeanne Duval with a letter to the court-appointed guardian of his paternal inheritance:[1]
Je me tue ― sans chagrin. ― Je n’éprouve aucune de ces perturbations que les hommes appellent chagrin. ― Mes dettes n’ont jamais été un chagrin. Rien n’est plus facile que de dominer ces choses-là. Je me tue parce que je ne puis plus vivre, que la fatigue de m’endormir et la fatigue de me réveiller me sont insupportables. Je me tue parce que je suis inutile aux autres ― et dangereux à moi-même. Je me tue, parce que je me crois immortel et que j’espère.
― Lettre à Narcisse Ancelle, Paris, le 30 juin 1845
I kill myself ― without sorrow. ― I feel none of those disturbances that men call sorrow. ― My debts never have been a sorrow. Nothing is easier than mastering these things. I kill myself because I could no longer live, because the weariness of falling asleep and the weariness of awakening are unbearable to me. I kill myself because I am useless to others ― and dangerous to myself. I kill myself, because I believe myself to be immortal and because I hope.
― Letter to Narcisse Ancelle, Paris, 30 June 1845
As with every other melodramatic gesture commemorated in the poet’s correspondence, the suicide attempt resonated with concern among his intimates, without realizing the threatened consequence in its author’s life. Its concerns recur, in the images of death and decay, self-loathing and self-immolation, which play a crucial part in his art.[2] Collapse )