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Edmond de Goncourt

“Out walking this morning, [Alphose] Daudet asked me whether my brother had been tormented by the thought of an after-life. I replied that he had not and that not once during the whole of his illness had he mentioned an after-life in his conversations with me.

Then Daudet asked me what my own opinions on the subject were, and I answered that in spite of my longing to see my brother again I believed that the individual was totally annihilated at death, that we were utterly insignificant beings, ephemeral creatures lasting a few days longer than those which lived for a single day, and that if God existed it was expecting too much of Him in the way of accounting to imagine that each one of us would have a second life in another world. Daudet told me that he shared my opinions; somewhere in his notes, he said, he had a record of a dream in which he was crossing a field of broom to the sound of the crackling of the bursting pods, and he compared our lives to those little explosions.”

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Edmond de Goncourt’s journal entry on Friday, July 17th, 1891.