Flaubert on Writing: Cellos, Daggers, and Flames

... I envision a style: a style that would be beautiful that someone will invent some day, ten years or ten centuries from now, one that would be rhythmic as verse, precise as the language of the sciences, undulant, deep-voiced as a cello, tipped with flame: a style that would pierce your idea like a dagger, and on which your thought would sail easily ahead over a smooth surface, like a skiff before a good tail wind ... everything must be as clear as Voltaire, as abrim with substance as Montaigne, as vigorous as La Bruyere, and always streaming with color.

- Gustave Flaubert to Louise Colet, The Letters of Gustave Flaubert, Volume 1