Wide World of Quotes > Fyodor Dostoyevsky Quotes

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Russian novelist

Share this page:

To study the meaning of man and of life — I am making significant progress here. I have faith in myself. Man is a mystery: if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery, because I want to
be a man.
-- Personal correspondence, 1839

It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.
-- Last Notebook (1880–1881), as quoted in Kierkegaard, the Melancholy Dane (1950) by Harold Victor Martin.

If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.
-- The Insulted and the Injured (1861)

I am a sick man… I am a wicked man. An unattractive man.
-- Notes from the Underground (1864)

The best definition of man is: a being that goes on two legs and is ungrateful.
-- Notes from the Underground (1864)

When… in the course of all these thousands of years has man ever acted in accordance with his own interests?
-- Notes from the Underground (1864)

The characteristics of our romantics are to understand everything, to see everything and to see it often incomparably more clearly than our most realistic minds see it... to keep their eye on that object through all the enthusiasms and volumes of lyrical poems, and at the same time to preserve "the sublime and the beautiful" inviolate within them to the hour of their death...
-- Notes from the Underground (1864)

And what is it in us that is mellowed by civilization? All it does, I’d say, is to develop in man a capacity to feel a greater variety of sensations. And nothing, absolutely nothing else. And through this development, man will yet learn how to enjoy bloodshed. Why, it has already happened . . . . Civilization has made man, if not always more bloodthirsty, at least more viciously, more horribly bloodthirsty.
-- Notes from the Underground (1864)

"Murderer!" he said suddenly in a quiet but clear and distinct voice.

Raskolnikov went on walking beside him. His legs felt suddenly weak, a cold shiver ran down his spine, and his heart seemed to stand still for a moment, then suddenly began throbbing as though it were set free. So they walked for about a hundred paces, side by side in silence. The man did not look at him.

"What do you mean... what is... Who is a murderer?" muttered Raskolnikov hardly audibly.

"You are a murderer," the man answered still more articulately and emphatically, with a smile of triumphant hatred, and again he looked straight into Raskolnikov’s pale face and stricken eyes.
-- Crime and Punishment (1866), ch. 6

They were both pale and thin; but those sick pale faces were bright with the dawn of a new future, of a full resurrection into a new life. They were renewed by love. The heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other.
-- Crime and Punishment (1866). Epilogue, Part II

But I'll add, that there is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one's idea for thirty-five years; there's something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important of your ideas.
-- The Idiot (1868)

Dreams, as we all know, are very queer things: some parts are presented with appalling vividness, with details worked up with the elaborate finish of jewellery, while others one gallops through, as it were, without noticing them at all, as, for instance, through space and time. Dreams seem to be spurred on not by reason but by desire, not by the head but by the heart...
-- The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (1877)

On our earth we can only love with suffering and through suffering.
-- The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (1877)

The children of the sun, the children of their sun — oh, how beautiful they were!
-- The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (1877)

I have seen the truth; I have seen and I know that people can be beautiful and happy without losing the power of living on earth. I will not and cannot believe that evil is the normal condition of mankind. And it is just this faith of mine that they laugh at.
-- The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (1877)

Too high a price is asked for harmony; it's beyond our means to pay so much to enter. And so I hasten to give back my entrance ticket... It's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return Him the ticket.
-- The Brothers Karamazov (1879–80), ch. 5, bk. 4

Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but it was essential and inevitable to torture to death one tiny creature... and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?
-- The Brothers Karamazov (1879–80), ch. 5, bk. 4

Share this page:

The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

About UsContact UsPrivacyTerms of Use
© 2005-23 Wide World of Quotes. All Rights Reserved.