3 thoughts on “Vincent Van Gogh, on Death, Passion, and Boredom

  1. This source seems to have (undated) letters from Van Gogh. Its a bit confusing but looks like Vincent is quoting another man (in French), and the English translation has the phrase at the end.
    This is from Octave Mouret:
    Mouret says:
    “Si tu te crois fort, parce que tu refuses d’etre bete et de souffrir! Eh bien, alors tu n’es qu’une dupe, pas davantage.”

    “Tu t’amuses?”
    Mouret ne parut pas comprendre tout de suite, mais lorsqu’il se fut rappele’ leurs conversations anciennes sur la betise vide et l’inutile torture de la vie, il repondit:
    “Sans doute, jamais je n’ai tant v~cu…. Ah! mon vieux, ne te moques pas! Ce sont les heures les plus courtes ou’ l’on meurt de souffrance.”

    “Je la veux, je l’aurai … et, Si elle m’e’chappe tu verras les choses que je ferai pour m’en gue’flr. Tu n’entends pas cette langue, mon vieux; autrement tu saurais que l’action contient en elle sa recompense; agir, creer, se battre contre les faits, les vaincre ou eAtre vaincu par eux, toute la joie et toute la sante’ humaines sont ia! “Simple facon de s’e’tourdir,” murmura l’autre. “Eh bien, j’aime mieux m’ etourdir, crever pour crever, je prefire crever de passion, que de crever d’ennui.”

    [“If you think yourself strong, because you refuse to be stupid and to suffer! Well, then you are only a dupe, and nothing more “You amuse yourself?”
    Mouret did not seem to understand at once, but when he remembered their earlier talks about the empty stupidity and the useless torture of life, he replied:
    “Undoubtedly I have never lived so intensely..;; Ah! old fellow, don’t scoff! The hours when one dies of suffering are shortest.
    “I want her, I will have her … and, M’ she escapes me, you will see the things I’ll do to cure myself of it. You don’t understand this language, old fellow; otherwise you would know that action contains its own reward; to act, to create, to fight against facts, to vanquish them or be vanquished by them, the whole human joy and health are there!” “A simple way to stupefy oneself,” muttered the other. “Well, I prefer stupefying myself, to perish in order to perish, I would rather die of passion than die of boredom.”]

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