Friday, July 3, 2009

War and Peace (tolstoy)

"this happiness is not for you...this happiness is for those who have not in them what there is in you"

"with that peculiar feeling of youth, that dread of beaten tracks, and wish to express itself in a manner different from that of its elders which is often insincere".

"the insignificance of greatness, the unimportance of life which no one could understand and the still greater unimportance of death, the meaning of which no one alive could understand or explain".

"there is nothing certain, nothing at all except the unimportance of everything I understand and the greatness of something incomprehensible but all-important"

"if you go on modeling and modeling, you must get smeared with clay"

"mentioning 'our days' as people of limited intelligence are fond of doing, imagining that they have discovered and appraised the peculiarities of 'our days' and that human characteristics change with the times."

"the whole world is now for me divided into two halves: one half is she, and there all is joy, hope, light; the other half is everything where she is not, and there all is gloom and darkness..."

"held her hands, looked into her eyes, and did not find in his heart his former love for her. Something in him had suddenly changed; there was no longer the former poetic and mystic charm of desire, but there was pity for her feminine and childish weakness, fear at her devotion and trustfulness, and an oppressive yet joyful sense of the duty that now bound him to her for ever. The present feeling, though not so bright and poetic as the former, was stronger and more serious."

"her wonder at the short-sightedness of men who seek enjoyment and happiness here on earth: toiling, suffering, struggling, and harming one another, to obtain that impossible, visionary, sinfull happiness....and they all struggled and suffered and tormented one another and injured their souls, their eternal souls, for the attainment of benefits which endure but for an instant".

"they were moved by fear or vanity, rejoiced or were indignant, reasoned, imagining that they knew what they were doing and did it for their own free will, but they were all involuntary tools of history, carrying on a work concealed from them but comprehensible to us. Such is the inevitable fate of men of action, and the higher they stand in the social hierarchy the less they are free"

"at the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal power in the human soul: one very reasonably tells a man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of escaping it; the other, still more reasonably, says that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger since it is not in man's power to foresee everything and avert the general course of events and it is therefore better to disregard what is painful till it comes and to think about what is pleasant. In solitude a man generally listens to the first voice, but in society to the second."

"war is the favorite pastime of the idle and frivolous"

"was not satisfied with her own words: she felt that they did not convey the passionately poetic feeling she had experienced that day and wished to convey."

"as a criminal who is being led to execution knows that he must die immediately, but yet looks about him and straightens the cap that is awry on his head."

"all his life he had looked over the heads of the men around him, when he should have merely looked in front of him without straining his eyes. In the past he had never been able to find that great inscrutable infinite something. He had only felt that it must exist somewhere and had looked for it. In everything near and comprehensible he had seen only what was limited, petty, commonplace and senseless.

"when two people quarrel they are always both at fault, and one's own guilt suddenly becomes terribly serious when the other is no longer alive"

"he now repeated in imagination every word that he or she had spoken and pictured every detail of her face and smile, and did not wish to diminish or add anything, but only to repeat it again and again"

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