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Favorite Quotes from Russian Literature

“Got up late; we’re on friendly terms. The last squabble has left some small (imperceptible) traces — or perhaps time has. Every such squabble, however trivial, is a scar on love. A momentary feeling of passion, vexation, self-love or pride will pass, but a scar, however small, will remain forever on the best things that exist in the world — love. I shall know this and guard our happiness, and you know it too…”  Лев Николаевич Толстой, in a diary entry regarding his wife.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ― Лев Николаевич Толстой, Anna Karenina

“She was like a beautiful flower which, while still full of petals, is scentless and no longer blooming.” ― Лев Николаевич Толстой, Anna Karenina

“My car is limping, Dolores Haze,
And the last long lap is the hardest,
And I shall be dumped where the weed decays,
And the rest is rust and stardust.” ― Бладимир Набоков, Lolita

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.” ― Бладимир Набоков, Lolita

“We sit in the mud, my friend, and reach for the stars.” ― Иван Тургенев, Fathers and Sons

“It’s all romanticism, nonsense, rottenness, art.” ― Иван Тургенев, Fathers and Sons

“What’s important is that twice two is four and all the rest’s nonsense.” ― Иван Тургенев, Fathers and Sons

HELENA: “What a fine day! Not too hot. [A pause.]”

VOITSKI (VANYA): “A fine day to hang oneself.”

― Антон Чехов, Uncle Vanya

LUBOV: “I’m quite sure there wasn’t anything at all funny. You oughtn’t to go and see plays, you ought to go and look at yourself. What a grey life you lead, what a lot you talk unnecessarily.”

― Антон Чехов, The Cherry Orchard

“I am a sick man… I am a wicked man.” ― Фёдор Достоевский, Notes from Underground

“I am a fool with a heart but no brains, and you are a fool with brains but no heart; and we’re both unhappy, and we both suffer.” ― Фёдор Достоевский, The Idiot

“It’s life that matters, nothing but life – the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all.” ― Фёдор Достоевский, The Idiot

“Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.” ― Фёдор Достоевский, The Idiot

“Beauty will save the world.” ― Фёдор Достоевский, The Idiot

“The centripetal force on our planet is still fearfully strong, Alyosha. I have a longing for life, and I go on living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves as they open in spring. I love the blue sky, I love some people, whom one loves you know sometimes without knowing why. I love some great deeds done by men, though I’ve long ceased perhaps to have faith in them, yet from old habit one’s heart prizes them.” ― Фёдор Достоевский, The Brothers Karamazov