When you have no real life then you live with mirages.

If I wanted to order a ring for myself, the inscription I should choose would be: “Nothing passes away.” I believe that nothing passes away without leaving a trace, and that every step we take, however small, has significance for our present and our future existence. What I have been through has not been for…

…but I destroy myself thereby.

Summer is indeed a burden in the town… Of course, I try to keep all alluring thoughts out of my head, but can’t always succeed; my early days, with their fresh impressions, storm in on my soul, and I live all the past over again… Human beings have an incredible amount of endurance and will…

The excellency of every art is its intensity…

Heart! Thou and I are here sad and alone; I say, why did I laugh! O mortal pain! O Darkness! Darkness! ever must I moan, To question Heaven and Hell and Heart in vain. Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell Mr. Keats, meeting him (William Wordsworth) one day at Mr. Haydon’s, —…

He had been born for hopes and for joys…

Everyone saw in my face evil traits that I didn’t possess. But they assumed I did, and so they developed. I was modest, and was accused of being deceitful: I became secretive. I had a strong sense of good and evil; instead of kindness I received nothing but insults, so I grew resentful. I was…

The experience of this sweet life.

The man who lies asleep will never waken fame, and his desire and all his life drift past him like a dream, and the traces of his memory fade from and his desire and all his life drift past him like a dream, and the traces of his memory fade from time like smoke in…

Fruit and pies, to remember.

“Try this freshly-made pie and an egg,” continued Madame. Chichikov did so, and having eaten more than half of what she offered him, praised the pie highly. Indeed, it was a toothsome dish, and, after his difficulties and exertions with his hostess, it tasted even better than it might otherwise have done. “And also a…

Of Solitude.

The contagion is very dangerous in the crowd. A man must either imitate the vicious or hate them both are dangerous things, either to resemble them because they are many or to hate many because they are unresembling to ourselves… If a man do not first discharge both himself and his mind of the burden…

Epilogue. Chapter III. Ilyusha’s Funeral.

And even if we are occupied with most important things, if we attain to honor or fall into great misfortune—still let us remember how good it was once here, when we were all together, united by a good and kind feeling which made us, for the time we were loving that poor boy, better perhaps…

Boston Cream Pie and dreams.

Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream! My spirit not awakening, till the beam Of an Eternity should bring the morrow. Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow, ’Twere better than the cold reality Of waking life, to him whose heart must be, And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,…

To define is to limit.

Wilde is piously intent in killing whatever remains of my soul, because he says to know an essence, you must stifle it: he wants me to yearn for my soul. Its value depends on how much exertion it takes to destroy it. André Gide about Wilde, in a letter to Valéry from 1891. Wilde was…

Anke Pie and other thoughts.

Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing…

A Weary Hour

“Consciousness of self was an inherent function of matter once it was organized as life, and if that function was enhanced it turned against the organism that bore it, strove to fathom and explain the very phenomenon that produced it, a hope-filled and hopeless striving of life to comprehend itself, as if nature were rummaging…