We sit in the mud... and reach for the stars.

— Ivan Turgenev

The most uplifting Ivan Turgenev quotes that are new and everybody is talking about

Death's an old joke, but each individual encounters it anew.


Time, as is well known, sometimes flies like a bird and sometimes crawls like a worm, but human beings are generally particularly happy when they don't notice whether it's passing quickly or slowly.


The people who bind themselves to systems are those who are unable to encompass the whole truth and try to catch it by the tail; a system is like the tail of truth, but truth is like a lizard; it leaves its tail in your fingers and runs away knowing full well that it will grow a new one in a twinkling.


Love isn't actually a feeling at all--it's an illness, a certain condition of body and soul.... Usually it takes possession of someone without his permission, all of a sudden, against his will--just like cholera or a fever.


Nothing is worse and more hurtful than a happiness that comes too late.


Looking about me, listening and recalling what the day had been like, I suddenly felt a secret unease in my heart and raised my eyes to the sky, but even in the sky there seemed to be no tranquillity. Dotted with stars, it constantly quivered and danced and shivered.


To desire and expect nothing for oneself and to have profound sympathy for others is genuine holiness.


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.


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.


Whatever a person may pray for, that person prays for a miracle.

Every prayer comes down to this - Almighty God, grant that two times two not equal four.


... if we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.


No matter how often you knock at nature's door, she won't answer in words you can understand--for Nature is dumb. She'll vibrate and moan like a violin, but you mustn't expect a song.


About Ivan Turgenev

Quotes 98 sayings
Nationality Russian
Profession Novelist
Birthday October 16

We Russians have assigned ourselves no other task in life but the cultivation of our own personalities, and when we're barely past childhood, we set to work to cultivate them, those unfortunate personalities.


The word tomorrow was invented for indecisive people and for children.


I'm through with Tolstoy. He has ceased to exist for me.... If I eat a bowl of soup and like it, I know by that fact alone and with absolute certainty that Tolstoy will find it bad, and vice versa.


So long as one's just dreaming about what to do, one can soar like an eagle and move mountains, it seems, but as soon as one starts doing it one gets worn out and tired.


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.


Tempered, gradual animation, the methodical restrain of sensations and energies, the equilibrium of sickness and health in each creature--this is nature's essence, its immutable law, this is what it's based on and what it adheres to.


I agree with no one's opinion. I have some of my own.


A withered maple leaf has left its branch and is falling to the ground;

its movements resemble those of a butterfly in flight. Isn't it strange? The saddest and deadest of things is yet so like the gayest and most vital of creatures?


Only one thing bothered me: at this very moment, as they say, of inexplicable bliss there would be a sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach and my abdomen would be assailed by a melancholy, cold shivering. In the end I couldn't abide such happiness and ran away.


Who among us has the strength to oppose petty egoism, those petty good feelings, pity and remorse?


In the end, nature is inexorable: it has no reason to hurry and, sooner or later, it takes what belongs to it. Unconsciously and inflexibly obedient to its own laws, it doesn't know art, just as it doesn't know freedom, just as it doesn't know goodness.


Oh youth, youth! You don't worry about anything;

you seem to possess all the treasures of the universe--even sorrow gives you pleasure, even grief suits you.... And perhaps the whole secret of your charm lies not in your ability to do everything, but in your ability to think that you will do everything.


However much you knock at nature's door, she will never answer you in comprehensible words.


So many memories and so little worth remembering, and in front of me - a long, long road without a goal.


Belonging to oneself--the whole essence of life lies in that.


Whatever man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself.


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!


One may speak about anything on earth with fire, with enthusiasm, with ecstasy, but one only speaks about oneself with avidity.


Great God, grant that twice two be not four.


Youth eats all the sugared fancy cakes and regards them as its daily bread.

But there'll come a time when you'll start asking just for a crust.


What's terrible is that there's nothing terrible, that the very essence of life is petty, uninteresting, and degradingly trite.


Death is like a fisherman, who, having caught a fish in his net, leaves it in the water for a time; the fish continues to swim about, but all the while the net is round it, and the fisherman will snatch it out in his own good time.


Most people can't understand how others can blow their noses differently than they do.


Behind me there are already so many memories (.

..) Lots of memories, but no point in remembering them, and ahead of me a long, long road with nothing to aim for ... I just don't want to go along it.


A son is like a lopped off branch. As a falcon he comes when he wills and goes where he lists.


Sternly, remorselessly, fate guides each of us;

only at the beginning, when we're absorbed in details, in all sorts of nonsense, in ourselves, are we unaware of its harsh hand.


Circumstances define us; they force us onto one road or another, and then they punish us for it.


It's all romanticism, nonsense, rottenness, art.


However passionate, sinning, and rebellious the heart hidden in the tomb, the flowers growing over it peep serenely at us with their innocent eyes; they tell us not of eternal peace alone, of that great peace of "indifferent" nature: they tell us, too, of eternal reconciliation and of life without end.


What's important is that twice two is four and all the rest's nonsense.


Time sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes crawls like a snail;

but a man is happiest when he does not even notice whether it passes swiftly or slowly.


Don't force me into saying what I don't want to say, and what I won't say.


You may live a long while with some people and be on friendly terms with them and never speak openly with them from your soul.


Illness isn't the only thing that spoils the appetite.


Take what you can yourself, and don't let others get you into their hands;

to belong to oneself, that is the whole thing in life.


Every man's happiness is built on the unhappi-ness of another.


What did I hope for, what did I expect, what rich future did I foresee, when the phantom of my first love, rising up for an instant, barely called forth one sigh, one mournful sentiment?