August 15, 2009

Quotes: The Idiot

I had no idea who Dostoevsky was, when I bought a book that had Tamil translations of Dostoevsky’s two short stories and a novella.  The book, especially The Gambler, gave me a completely new experience in reading.  I determined then to read as many of his books as possible; and a few days back I finished The Idiot.  Here are some quotes I collected along the way:
  • It is written ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ so because he has killed, are we to kill him?  No, that’s impossible.
  • But afterwards I fancied one might find a wealth of life even in prison.
  • Nothing should be concealed from children on the pretext that they are little and that it is too early for them to understand.
  • There’s nothing better than a bird in the world.
  • The soul is healed by being with children.
  • It’s difficult to judge beauty; I am not ready yet.  Beauty is a riddle.
  • All have their failings, and their peculiarities, some perhaps even more than those who are usually looked down upon for it.
  • What’s most low and hateful about money is that even talent can be bought with it, and will be, till the end of the world.
  • There are strange people in the world, Afanasy Ivanovitch.
  • But people will laugh at all sorts of things.
  • Yes, I’ll put off judging that man who sold his Christ.  God only knows what’s hidden in those weak and drunken hearts.
  • God has just such gladness every time he sees from heaven that a sinner is praying to Him with all his heart, as a mother has when she sees the first smile on her baby’s face.
  • Compassion was the chief and perhaps only law of all human existence.
  • No, it was not that “the Russian soul was a dark place,” but that in his own soul there was darkness, since he could imagine such horrors!
  • We are all ridiculously good-natured people.
  • But a certain dullness of mind seems an almost necessary qualification, if not for every public man, at least for everyone seriously engaged in making money.
  • If you have a wart on the forehead or on the nose, you always fancy that no one has anything else to do in the world than stare at your wart, make fun of it, and despise you for it, even though you have discovered America.
  • You may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it.
  • Men are created to torment one another.
  • Every blade of grass grows and is happy! Everything has its path, and everything knows its path, and with a song goes forth, and with a song returns.
  • Everything always goes right with some people, while with others nothing ever comes off....
  • Nothing is easier for “ordinary” people of limited intelligence than to imagine themselves exceptional and original and to revel in that delusion without the slightest misgiving.
  • Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them. And these can rarely be distinctly defined.
  • There are cases when one may sometimes burn one’s ships and not go home again. Life does not consist only of lunches and dinners and Prince S.’s.
  • Why is it we never can know everything about another person, when one ought to, when that other one’s to blame!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting these! I was looking for a very specific quote from "The Idiot" and I didn't find it anywhere in the whole internet, but here!

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