Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev


Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev Quotes

  • ''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!''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Poems in Prose, "The Russian Language," (1882).
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  • ''However much you knock at nature's door, she will never answer you in comprehensible words.''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Shubin, in On the Eve, ch. 1 (1860). Comparing nature to "life" (in fact, women).
  • ''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.''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Speech delivered in 1880 at the dedication of the monument to A.S. Pushkin in Moscow. The Essential Turgenev, ed. Elizabeth Cheresh Allen (1994).
  • ''To desire and expect nothing for oneself—and to have profound sympathy for others—is genuine holiness.''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Letter, October 28, 1862, to Countess Elizaveta Lambert. Turgenev: Letters, ed. David Lowe (1983).
  • ''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.''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Letter, March 27, 1859, to Countess Elizaveta Lambert. Turgenev: Letters, ed. David Lowe (1983).
  • ''The only people who treasure systems are those whom the whole truth evades, who want to catch it by the tail. A system is just like truth's tail, but the truth is like a lizard. It will leave the tail in your hand and escape; it knows that it will soon grow another tail.''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Letter, January 3, 1857, to Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy. Turgenev: Letters, ed. David Lowe (1983).
  • ''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.''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Letter, June 16, 1876, to V. L. King. Turgenev: Letters, ed. David Lowe (1983).
  • ''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.''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Letter, October 14, 1859, to Countess Elizaveta Lambert. Turgenev: Letters, ed. David Lowe (1983).
  • ''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.''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Letter, June 10, 1856, to Countess Elizaveta Lambert. Turgenev: Letters, ed. David Lowe (1983).
  • ''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.''
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Letter, October 3, 1860, to K.N. Leontiev. Turgenev: Letters, ed. David Lowe (1983).

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