Posts tagged ‘Dostoyevsky’

November 28, 2014

What beauty saves the world?

Is it true, prince, that you once declared that ‘beauty would save the world’? Great Heaven! The prince says that beauty saves the world! And I declare that he only has such playful ideas because he’s in love! Gentlemen, the prince is in love. I guessed it the moment he came in. Don’t blush, prince; you make me sorry for you. What beauty saves the world? Colia told me that you are a zealous Christian; is it so? Colia says you call yourself a Christian.” The prince regarded him attentively, but said nothing.

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

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November 28, 2014

in real life typical characters are watered down

There are certain people of whom it is difficult to say anything which will at once throw them into relief—in other words, describe them graphically in their typical characteristics. These are they who are generally known as “commonplace people,” and this class comprises, of course, the immense majority of mankind. Authors, as a rule, attempt to select and portray types rarely met with in their entirety, but these types are nevertheless more real than real life itself.

Therefore, without entering into any more serious examination of the question, I will content myself with remarking that in real life typical characters are “watered down,” so to speak; and all these Dandins and Podkoleosins actually exist among us every day, but in a diluted form.

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

November 28, 2014

she will believe nothing but that she is a guilty creature

This unhappy woman is persuaded that she is the most hopeless, fallen creature in the world. Oh, do not condemn her! Do not cast stones at her! She has suffered too much already in the consciousness of her own undeserved shame.

And she is not guilty—oh God!—Every moment she bemoans and bewails herself, and cries out that she does not admit any guilt, that she is the victim of circumstances—the victim of a wicked libertine.

But whatever she may say, remember that she does not believe it herself,—remember that she will believe nothing but that she is a guilty creature.

When I tried to rid her soul of this gloomy fallacy, she suffered so terribly that my heart will never be quite at peace so long as I can remember that dreadful time!—Do you know why she left me? Simply to prove to me what is not true—that she is base. But the worst of it is, she did not realize herself that that was all she wanted to prove by her departure! She went away in response to some inner prompting to do something disgraceful.

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

December 8, 2013

what is there that people will not smile at

Anyone inclined to mockery might have found something to smile at in his appearance. But what is there that people will not smile at?

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

December 8, 2013

forever present at an orgy of scandalous revelations

Have you noticed, prince, how many adventurers there are nowadays? Especially here, in our dear Russia. How it has happened I never can understand. There used to be a certain amount of solidity in all things, but now what happens? Everything is exposed to the public gaze, veils are thrown back, every wound is probed by careless fingers. We are forever present at an orgy of scandalous revelations. Parents blush when they remember their old-fashioned morality.

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

December 8, 2013

be polite and sincere to everyone

On the journey I said to myself, ‘I am going into the world of men. I don’t know much, perhaps, but a new life has begun for me.’ I made up my mind to be honest, and steadfast in accomplishing my task. Perhaps I shall meet with troubles and many disappointments, but I have made up my mind to be polite and sincere to everyone; more cannot be asked of me. People may consider me a child if they like. I am often called an idiot, and at one time I certainly was so ill that I was nearly as bad as an idiot; but I am not an idiot now. How can I possibly be so when I know myself that I am considered one?

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

December 8, 2013

children are capable of giving advice in the most important matters

One can tell a child everything, anything. I have often been struck by the fact that parents know their children so little. They should not conceal so much from them. How well even little children understand that their parents conceal things from them, because they consider them too young to understand! Children are capable of giving advice in the most important matters. How can one deceive these dear little birds, when they look at one so sweetly and confidingly? I call them birds because there is nothing in the world better than birds!

…Later, when everyone—even Schneider—was angry with me for hiding nothing from the children, I pointed out how foolish it was, for they always knew things, only they learnt them in a way that soiled their minds but not so from me. One has only to remember one’s own childhood to admit the truth of this. But nobody was convinced… It was two weeks before her mother died that I had kissed Marie; and when the clergyman preached that sermon the children were all on my side. “When I told them what a shame it was of the parson to talk as he had done, and explained my reason, they were so angry that some of them went and broke his windows with stones. Of course I stopped them, for that was not right, but all the village heard of it, and how I caught it for spoiling the children! Everyone discovered now that the little ones had taken to being fond of Marie, and their parents were terribly alarmed; but Marie was so happy. The children were forbidden to meet her; but they used to run out of the village to the herd and take her food and things; and sometimes just ran off there and kissed her, and said, ‘Je vous aime, Marie!’ and then trotted back again. They imagined that I was in love with Marie, and this was the only point on which I did not undeceive them, for they got such enjoyment out of it. And what delicacy and tenderness they showed!

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

November 17, 2013

stopped talking now

The priest, who seemed to be a wise man, had stopped talking now, and only held the cross for the wretched fellow to kiss.

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

November 17, 2013

the donkey and was extremely pleased with it

I remember my melancholy was intolerable; I felt inclined to cry; I sat and wondered and wondered uncomfortably; the consciousness that everything was strange weighed terribly upon me; I could understand that it was all foreign and strange. I recollect I awoke from this state for the first time at Basle, one evening; the bray of a donkey aroused me, a donkey in the town market. I saw the donkey and was extremely pleased with it, and from that moment my head seemed to clear.”

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

November 17, 2013

among these people

Finally, Totski took cunning means to try to break his chains and be free. He tried to tempt her in various ways to lose her heart; he invited princes, hussars, secretaries of embassies, poets, novelists, even Socialists, to see her; but not one of them all made the faintest impression upon Nastasia. It was as though she had a pebble in place of a heart, as though her feelings and affections were dried up and withered for ever. She lived almost entirely alone; she read, she studied, she loved music. Her principal acquaintances were poor women of various grades, a couple of actresses, and the family of a poor schoolteacher. Among these people she was much beloved.

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

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