Quotes by Ivan Turgenev

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To desire and expect nothing for oneself and to have profound sympathy for others is genuine holiness. more...

Women... can't live with 'em... can't shoot 'em. more...

We sit in the mud... and reach for the stars. more...

The word tomorrow was invented for indecisive people and for children. more...

In the end, nature is inexorable: it has no reason to hurry and, sooner or later, it takes what belongs to it. Unconsciously and inflexibly obedient to its own laws, it doesn't know art, just as it doesn't know freedom, just as it doesn't know goodness. more...

Whatever a person may pray for, that person prays for a miracle. Every prayer comes down to this - Almighty God, grant that two times two not equal four. more...

Time, as is well known, sometimes flies like a bird and sometimes crawls like a worm, but human beings are generally particularly happy when they don't notice whether it's passing quickly or slowly. more...

A poet must be a psychologist, but a secret one: he should know and feel the roots of phenomena but present only the phenomena themselves in full bloom or as they fade away. more...

One may speak about anything on earth with fire, with enthusiasm, with ecstasy, but one only speaks about oneself with avidity. more...

There are some moments in life, some feelings; one can only point to them and pass by. more...

Circumstances define us; they force us onto one road or another, and then they punish us for it. more...

People without firmness of character love to make up a fate for themselves; that relieves them of the necessity of having their own will and of taking responsibility for themselves. more...

However much you knock at nature's door, she will never answer you in comprehensible words. more...

In days of doubt, in days of dreary musings on my country's fate, you alone are my comfort and support, oh great, powerful, righteous, and free Russian language! more...

Time sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes crawls like a snail; but a man is happiest when he does not even notice whether it passes swiftly or slowly. more...

Who among us has the strength to oppose petty egoism, those petty good feelings, pity and remorse? more...

Nature creates while destroying, and doesn't care whether it creates or destroys as long as life isn't extinguished, as long as death doesn't lose its rights. more...

I agree with no one's opinion. I have some of my own. more...

Most people can't understand how others can blow their noses differently than they do. more...

Death's an old joke, but each individual encounters it anew. more...

Great God, grant that twice two be not four. more...

I believe love produces a certain flowering of the whole personality which nothing else can achieve.... more...

A withered maple leaf has left its branch and is falling to the ground; its movements resemble those of a butterfly in flight. Isn't it strange? The saddest and deadest of things is yet so like the gayest and most vital of creatures? more...

Nature is not a temple, but a workshop, and man's the workman in it. more...

Go and try to disprove death. Death will disprove you, and that's all! more...

Illness isn't the only thing that spoils the appetite. more...

I share no man's opinions; I have my own. more...

Anyone who has crossed from the district of Bolkhov into that of Zhizdra will probably have been struck by the sharp difference between the natives of the provinces of Orel and Kaluga. more...

No matter how often you knock at nature's door, she won't answer in words you can understand-for Nature is dumb. She'll vibrate and moan like a violin, but you mustn't expect a song. more...

There's something tragic in the fate of almost every person-it's just that the tragic is often concealed from a person by the banal surface of life.... A woman will complain of indigestion and not even know that what she means is that her whole life has been shattered. more...

Life deceives everyone except the individual who doesn't contemplate it, the individual who demands nothing from it, the individual who serenely accepts its few gifts and serenely makes the most of them. more...

What's terrible is that there's nothing terrible, that the very essence of life is petty, uninteresting, and degradingly trite. more...

Belonging to oneself-the whole essence of life lies in that. more...

Art, if one employs this term in the broad sense that includes poetry within its realm, is an art of creation laden with ideals, located at the very core of the life of a people, defining the spiritual and moral shape of that life. more...

As for work, without it, without painstaking work, any writer or artist definitely remains a dilettante; there's no point in waiting for so-called blissful moments, for inspiration; if it comes, so much the better-but you keep working anyway. more...

Love isn't actually a feeling at all-it's an illness, a certain condition of body and soul.... Usually it takes possession of someone without his permission, all of a sudden, against his will-just like cholera or a fever. more...

Tempered, gradual animation, the methodical restrain of sensations and energies, the equilibrium of sickness and health in each creature-this is nature's essence, its immutable law, this is what it's based on and what it adheres to. more...

Each individual is more or less dimly aware of his significance, is aware that he's something innately superior, something eternal-and lives, is obligated to live, in the moment and for the moment. more...

Sternly, remorselessly, fate guides each of us; only at the beginning, when we're absorbed in details, in all sorts of nonsense, in ourselves, are we unaware of its harsh hand. more...

All human beings hang by a thread, an abyss may open under their feet at any moment, and yet they have to go and invent all sortsof difficulties for themselves and spoil their lives. more...

Oh youth, youth! You don't worry about anything; you seem to possess all the treasures of the universe-even sorrow gives you pleasure, even grief suits you.... And perhaps the whole secret of your charm lies not in your ability to do everything, but in your ability to think that you will do everything. more...

There's only one way for an individual to remain upright, not to fall to pieces, not to sink into the mire of self-oblivionorself-contempt. That's calmly to turn away from everything, to say, "Enough!" and, folding one's useless arms across one's empty breast, to retain the ultimate, the sole attainable virtue, the virtue of recognizing one's own insignificance. more...

I've become convinced that every person should treat himself strictly and even rudely and distrustfully; it's difficult to tame the beast in oneself. more...

We Russians have assigned ourselves no other task in life but the cultivation of our own personalities, and when we're barely past childhood, we set to work to cultivate them, those unfortunate personalities. more...

In my case there was no first love. I began with the second. more...

What did I hope for, what did I expect, what rich future did I foresee, when the phantom of my first love, rising up for an instant, barely called forth one sigh, one mournful sentiment? more...

Go forward while you can, but if your strength fails you, sit down near the road and gaze without anger or envy at those who pass by. They don't have far to go, either. more...

Everyone needs help from everyone else. more...

We're young, we're not monsters, no fools: we'll conquer happiness for ourselves. more...

Ah, but in time the heat of noontide passes, and to it there succeed nightfall and dusk, with a return to the quiet fold where for the weary an the heavy-laden there waits sleep, sweet sleep. more...

Oh, gentle feelings, soft sounds, the goodness and the gradual stilling of a soul that has been moved; the melting happiness of the first tender, touching joys of love- where are you? more...

He went to bed early, but could not fall asleep. He was haunted by sad and gloomy reflections about the inevitable end- death. These thoughts were familiar to him, many times had he turned them over this way and that, first shuddering at the probability of annihilation, then welcoming it, almost rejoicing in it. Suddenly a peculiarly familiar agitation took possession of him... He mused awhile, sat down at the table, and wrote down the following lines in his sacred copy-book, without a single correction: more...

It's all romanticism, nonsense, rottenness, art. more...

Even nightingales ca' be fed on fairy tales. more...

a person who gets angry at his own illness is sure to overcome it more...

I believe love produces a certain flowering of the whole personality which nothing else can achieve. more...

No matter how often you knock at nature's door, she won't answer in words you can understand - for Nature is dumb. She'll vibrate and moan like a violin, but you mustn't expect a song. more...

To mortify and even to injure an opponent, reproach him with the very defect or vice you feel in yourself. more...

A bright spring day was fading into evening. High overhead in the clear heavens small rosy clouds seemed hardly to move across the sky but to be sinking into its depths of blue. more...

On 10th August 1862, at four o'clock in the afternoon a number of people were crowding in front of the famous Conversation at Baden-Baden. more...

Whereas I think: I'm lying here in a haystack... The tiny space I occupy is so infinitesimal in comparison with the rest of space, which I do' occupy and which has no relation to me. And the period of time in which I'm fated to live is so insignificant beside the eternity in which I have' existed and wo' exist... And yet in this atom, this mathematical point, blood is circulating, a brain is working, desiring something... What chaos! What a farce! more...

We"re young, we"re not monsters, no fools: we"ll conquer happiness for ourselves. more...

The fact is that previously they were simply dunces and now they've suddenly become nihilists. more...

What's important is that twice two is four and all the rest's nonsense. more...

He was the soul of politeness to everyone - to some with a hint of aversion, to others with a hint of respect. more...

It was only the vulgarly mediocre that repelled her. more...

Behind me there are already so many memories (...) Lots of memories, but no point in remembering them, and ahead of me a long, long road with nothing to aim for ... I just don't want to go along it. more...

I don't see why it's impossible to express everything that's on one's mind. more...

Youth eats all the sugared fancy cakes and regards them as its daily bread. But there'll come a time when you'll start asking just for a crust. more...

So long as one's just dreaming about what to do, one can soar like an eagle and move mountains, it seems, but as soon as one starts doing it one gets worn out and tired. more...

Looking about me, listening and recalling what the day had been like, I suddenly felt a secret unease in my heart and raised my eyes to the sky, but even in the sky there seemed to be no tranquillity. Dotted with stars, it constantly quivered and danced and shivered. more...

I'm incapable of describing the feeling with which I left. I wouldn't want it ever to be repeated, but I would have considered myself unfortunate if I'd never experienced it. more...

Death is like a fisherman, who, having caught a fish in his net, leaves it in the water for a time; the fish continues to swim about, but all the while the net is round it, and the fisherman will snatch it out in his own good time. more...

The temerity to believe in nothing. more...

However passionate, sinning, and rebellious the heart hidden in the tomb, the flowers growing over it peep serenely at us with their innocent eyes; they tell us not of eternal peace alone, of that great peace of "indifferent" nature: they tell us, too, of eternal reconciliation and of life without end. more...

Nature cares nothing for logic, our human logic: she has her own, which we do not recognize and do not acknowledge until we are crushed under its wheel more...

I must say, though, that a man who has staked his whole life on the card of a woman's love and who, when that card is trumped, falls to pieces and lets himself go to the dogs - a fellow like that is not a man, not a male. You say he's unhappy - you know best. But all the nonsense hasn't been taken out of him yet. I'm sure he really believes he's a smart fellow just because he reads that rag Galignani and saves a muzhik from a flogging once a month. more...

If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin. more...

Bazarov drew himself up haughtily. "I don't adopt any one's ideas; I have my own. more...

I was afraid of looking into my heart...afraid of thinking seriously about anything...I did not want to know whether I was loved, and I did not want to admit to myself that I was not loved... more...

Only one thing bothered me: at this very moment, as they say, of inexplicable bliss there would be a sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach and my abdomen would be assailed by a melancholy, cold shivering. In the end I couldn't abide such happiness and ran away. more...

I walked in the meadows of green grieving for my life. more...

Whereas I think: I'm lying here in a haystack... The tiny space I occupy is so infinitesimal in comparison with the rest of space, which I don't occupy and which has no relation to me. And the period of time in which I'm fated to live is so insignificant beside the eternity in which I haven't existed and won't exist... And yet in this atom, this mathematical point, blood is circulating, a brain is working, desiring something... What chaos! What a farce! more...

That's what children are for-that their parents may not be bored. more...

There is a sweetness in being the sole source, the autocratic and irresponsible cause of the greatest joy and profoundest pain to another. more...

I look up to heaven only when I want to sneeze. more...

Take what you can yourself, and don't let others get you into their hands; to belong to oneself, that is the whole thing in life. more...

I am a flirt: I have no heart: I have an actor's nature. more...

That is what poetry can do. It speaks to us of what does not exist, which is not only better than what exists, but even more like the truth. more...

I only know that I feel tired, antiquated; I feel as though I had been living a long, long time. more...

The people who bind themselves to systems are those who are unable to encompass the whole truth and try to catch it by the tail; a system is like the tail of truth, but truth is like a lizard; it leaves its tail in your fingers and runs away knowing full well that it will grow a new one in a twinkling. more...

Whatever man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself... more...

Don't force me into saying what I don't want to say, and what I won't say. more...

Nothing is worse and more hurtful than a happiness that comes too late. more...

I never started from ideas but always from character. more...

You may live a long while with some people and be on friendly terms with them and never speak openly with them from your soul. more...

A son is like a lopped off branch. As a falcon he comes when he wills and goes where he lists. more...

Every man's happiness is built on the unhappi-ness of another. more...

The past was a dream wasn't it? And who ever remembers dreams? more...

Significance is sweet ... more...

I do not know what the heart of a bad man is like. But i do know what the heart of a good man is like. And it is terrible. more...

So many memories and so little worth remembering, and in front of me - a long, long road without a goal... more...

What a magnificent body, how I should like to see it on the dissecting table. more...

Nothing is worse and more hurtful than a happiness that comes too late. It can give no pleasure, yet it deprives you of that most precious of rights - the right to swear and curse at your fate! more...

I was as happy as a fish in water, and I could have stayed in that room for ever, have never left that place. more...

To tell about a drunken muzhik's beating his wife is incomparably harder than to compose a whole tract about the 'woman question.' more...

Even nightingales can't be fed on fairy tales. more...

Naturally, observed Nikolai Petrovich, you were born here, so everything is bound to strike you with a special - Really, Daddy, it makes absolutely no difference where a person is born. Still - No, it makes no difference at all. more...

For myself, I detest the fellow, and think him a charlatan. I am certain that, in spite of his frogs, he is making no real progress in physics. more...

Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself to this: Great God, grant that twice two be not four. more...

A nihilist is a man who does not bow down before any authority, who does not take any principle on faith, whatever reverence that principle may be enshrined in. more...

I don't adopt any one's ideas; I have my own. more...

The drawing shows me at a glance what would be spread over ten pages in a book. more...

Death is like a fisherman who catches fish in his net and leaves them for a while in the water; the fish is still swimming but the net is around him, and the fisherman will draw him up - when he thinks fit. more...

Every man's happiness is built on the unhappiness of another. more...

You may live a long while with some people, and be on friendly terms with them, and never once speak openly with them from your soul. more...

I'm through with Tolstoy. He has ceased to exist for me.... If I eat a bowl of soup and like it, I know by that fact alone and with absolute certainty that Tolstoy will find it bad, and vice versa. more...

Love, I thought, is stronger than death or the fear of death. Only by it, by love, life holds together and advances. more...


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