Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 18:01:02
25 September 2018


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Dostoyevsky's Birthday in 10 Dark Quotes
 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dostoyevsky's Birthday in 10 Dark Quotes

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky is one of the best-known names in Russian literature. Folks who know very little about Russia usually know about a dark, dismal book called Crime and Punishment, and Russians and Russophiles know its author as a profound thinker on social, political, spiritual, and psychological issues. His lengthy novels and other works explore complex situations and give voice to thousands of characters, each with a unique story to tell. Dostoyevsky is crucial to the literary patchwork of nineteenth-century Russian society, and the philosophical and narrative depth of his writings continue to ring true today. 

In honor of his 195th birthday, here are ten quotes to celebrate the life and writings of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. They may not boost your mood, but they'll get you thinking – and that, after all, is the goal of any great writer.  

  1. “But how could you live and have no story to tell?”
    White Nights (1848)

  2. “Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” 
    The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

  3. “It is better to be unhappy and know the worst, than to be happy in a fool's paradise.”
    The Idiot

  4. “Two times two equals five is sometimes a very charming little thing.”
    Notes from Underground (1864)

  5. “Once it's been proved to you that you're descended from an ape, it's no use pulling a face; just accept it. Once they've proved to you that a single droplet of your own fat must be dearer to you than a hundred thousand of your fellow human beings and consequently that all so-called virtues and duties are nothing but ravings and prejudices, then accept that too, because there's nothing to be done.
    Notes from Underground (1864)

  6. “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
    Notes from a Dead House (1862)

  7. “To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's.”
    Crime and Punishment (1866)

  8. “It was a marvelous night, the sort of night one only experiences when one is young. The sky was so bright, and there were so many stars that, gazing upward, one couldn't help wondering how so many whimsical, wicked people could live under such a sky.” 
    White Nights (1848)

  9. “On our Earth we can only love with suffering and through suffering. We cannot love otherwise, and we know of no other sort of love. I want suffering in order to love. I long, I thirst, this very instant, to kiss with tears the earth that I have left, and I don't want, I won't accept life on any other!"
    The Dream of a Ridiculous Man  (1877)

  10. “If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself.”
    Demons (1872)

Cover photo: wikimedia.org

Related Content

October 12, 2016
Fall, Tolstoy, Mushrooms
By Lev Tolstoy
Fall, Tolstoy, Mushrooms

In honor of fall, and Russians' favorite autumnal pastime – mushroom picking – we offer these two short stories by Lev Tolstoy – in both English and Russian!

Read More
August 28, 2015
Why Stalin Called Andrei Platonov "Scum" – with 8 Quirky Quotes
By Alice E.M. Underwood
Why Stalin Called Andrei Platonov "Scum" – with 8 Quirky Quotes

Andrei Platonov spawned many an incongruous image and incomprehensible sentence. Compared by some scholars to James Joyce, he was critiqued by Stalin himself, yet he avoided prosecution. We dig into his challenging literary style.

Read More
July 13, 2015
The Tower of (Isaac) Babel
By Alice E.M. Underwood
The Tower of (Isaac) Babel

July 13 is the anniversary of Isaac Babel's birth. Now celebrated as one of teh great writers of the twentieth century, he had a very difficult time gaining acceptance during his lifetime, and repeatedly suffered from antisemitism, official and otherwise.

Read More
October 24, 2001
Fyodor Dostoevsky
By Linda DeLaine
Fyodor Dostoevsky

The tormented and, often, tragic life of Russia's great 19th century author of masterpieces such as The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment.

Read More