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Quotations From ALEXANDER HERZEN

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  • What breadth, what beauty and power of human nature and development there must be in a woman to get over all the palisades, all the fences, within which she is held captive!
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. My Past and Thoughts, vol. 2, pt. 5, ch. 41 (1921), trans. by Constance Garnett (1924-1927).

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  • Slavery is the first step towards civilization. In order to develop it is necessary that things should be much better for some and much worse for others, then those who are better off can develop at the expense of others.
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. "Consolatio," From the Other Shore (1855).
  • We could hardly believe that after so many ordeals, after all the trials of modern skepticism, there was still so much left in our souls to destroy.
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. "After the Storm," From the Other Shore (1855).

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  • I am truly horrified by modern man. Such absence of feeling, such narrowness of outlook, such lack of passion and information, such feebleness of thought.
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. "Epilogue 1849," From the Other Shore (1855).

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  • We have wasted our spirit in the regions of the abstract and general just as the monks let it wither in the world of prayer and contemplation.
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. "Epilogue 1849," From the Other Shore (1855). Of the failure of the revolutionary movements in Europe after 1848.

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  • Everything in Italy that is particularly elegant and grand ... borders upon insanity and absurdity—or at least is reminiscent of childhood.
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. Trans. by Constance Garnett (1924-1927). "Miscellaneous Pieces: Beyond the Alps," vol. 3, pt. 8, My Past and Thoughts (1921).

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  • Never was Catholicism, never were the ideas of chivalry, impressed on men so deeply, so multifariously, as the bourgeois ideas.
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. "Post Scriptum," My Past and Thoughts, vol. 2, pt. 5, ch. 38 (1921), trans. by Constance Garnett (1924-1927).
  • Would it be possible to stand still on one spot more majestically—while simulating a triumphant march forward—than it is done by the two English Houses of Parliament?
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. "Post Scriptum," vol. 2, pt. 5, ch. 38, My Past and Thoughts (1921), trans. by Constance Garnett (1924-1927).
  • No one is to blame. It is neither their fault nor ours. It is the misfortune of being born when a whole world is dying.
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. "Epilogue 1849," From the Other Shore. Of the failure of the revolutionary movements in Europe after 1848.

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  • It is possible to lead astray an entire generation, to strike it blind, to drive it insane, to direct it towards a false goal. Napoleon proved this.
    Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), Russian journalist, political thinker. "Donoso-Cortes," From the Other Shore (1855).
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