Let fear once get possession of the soul, and it does not readily yield its place to another sentiment.Sebastopol by Leo Tolstoy
Art is bad when ‘you see the intent and get put off.’ (Goethe) In Tolstoy one is unaware of the intent, and sees only the thing itself. from the book, On Retranslating A Russian Classic Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I felt a wish never to leave that room - a wish that dawn might never come, that my present frame of mind might never change.
I was wrong when I said that I did not regret the past. I do regret it; I weep for the past love which can never return. Who is to blame, I do not know. Love remains, but not the old love; its place remains, but it is all wasted away and has lost all strength and substance; recollections are still left, and gratitude; but...
In everything, almost in everything, I wrote I was guided by the need of collecting ideas which, linked together, would be the expression of myself, though each individual idea, expressed separately in words, loses its meaning, is horribly debased when only one of the links, of which it forms a part, is taken by itself. But the interlinking of these ideas is not, I think, an intellectual process, but something else, and it is impossible to express the source of this interlinking directly in words; it can only be done indirectly by describing images, actions, and situations in words.
But that's the whole aim of civilization: to make everything a source of enjoyment.
Just imagine the existence of a man - let us call him A - who has left youth far behind, and of a woman whom we may call B, who is young and happy and has seen nothing as yet of life or of the world. Family circumstances of various kinds brought them together, and he grew to love her as a daughter, and had no fear that his love would change its nature. But he forgot that B was so young, that life was still a May-game to her and that it was easy to fall in love with her in a different way, and that this would amuse her. He made a mistake and was suddenly aware of another feeling, as heavy as remorse, making its way into his heart, and he was afraid. He was afraid that their old friendly relations would be destroyed, and he made up his mind to go away before that happened.
if they hadn’t both been pretending, but had had what is called a heart-to-heart talk, that is, simply told each other just what they were thinking and feeling, then they would just have looked into each other’s eyes, and Constantine would only have said: ‘You’re dying, dying, dying!’ – while Nicholas would simply have replied: ‘I know I’m dying, but I’m afraid, afraid, afraid!’ That’s all they would have said if they’d been talking straight from the heart. But it was impossible to live that way, so Levin tried to do what he’d been trying to do all his life without being able to, what a great many people could do so well, as he observed, and without which life was impossible: he tried to say something different from what he thought, and he always felt it came out false, that his brother caught him out and was irritated by it.
it's much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.
Society in itself is no great harm, but unsatisfied social aspirations are a bad and ugly business. We must certainly accept, and we will.