- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

Fyodor Dostoyevsky on Life, Lies, Suffering, and More

 

Happy birthday, Fyodor Dostoyevsky! Here are some quotes from the author.

 

“What terrible tragedies realism inflicts on people.”

 

“Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those they have slain.”

 

“People talk sometimes of a bestial cruelty, but that’s a great injustice and insult to the beasts; a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so artistically cruel. The tiger only tears and gnaws, that’s all he can do. He would never think of nailing people by the ears, even if he were able to do it.”

 

“A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest form of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal in satisfying his vices. And it all comes from lying—to others and to yourself.”

 

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on Earth.”

 

“Do a man dirt, yourself you hurt.”

 

“Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel.”

 

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”

 

“The best definition of man is: a being that goes on two legs and is ungrateful.”

 

“Civilization has made man, if not always more bloodthirsty, at least more viciously, more horribly bloodthirsty.”

 

“To be acutely conscious is a disease, a real, honest-to-goodness disease.”

 

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John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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