Nikolai Gogol - Dead Souls (1842)
29 Sourced Quotes
This was not the old Chichikov. This was some wreckage of the old Chichikov. The inner state of his soul might be compared to a demolished building, which has been demolished so that from it a new one could be built; but the new one has not been started yet, because the infinitive plan has not yet come from the architect and the workers are left in perplexity.
The gentleman lolling back in the chaise was neither dashingly handsome nor yet unbearably ugly, neither too stout nor yet too thin; it could not be claimed he was old but he was no stripling, either. His arrival in the town created no stir and was not marked by anything out of the ordinary.
They insist that an author should write in the strictest, purest and noblest language: in short, they expect the Russian language to drop from the clouds, already refined, and that it should come naturally to the lips, so that all they have to do is to open their mouth and stick out their tongue. It goes without saying, of course, that the feminine half of the human species is very wise; but it must be confessed that our respected readers are even wiser.
As it is so strangely ordained in this world, what is amusing will turn into being gloomy, if you stand too long before it, and then God knows what ideas may not stray into the mind... Why is it that even in moments of unthinking, careless gaiety a different and strange mood comes upon one?
Rus! Rus! I see you, from my lovely enchanted remoteness I see you: a country of dinginess, and bleakness and dispersal; no arrogant wonders of nature crowned by the arrogant wonders of art appear within you to delight or terrify the eyes... So what is the incomprehensible secret force driving me towards you? Why do I constantly hear the echo of your mournful song as it is carried from the sea through your entire expanse?... And since you are without end yourself, is it not within you that a boundless thought will be born?