Fyodor Dostoyevsky quotes

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881), was a Russian existentialist philosopher. His literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia. He began writing in his 20s. His major works include Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), Demons (1872) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). His output consists of 11 novels, three novellas, 17 short novels and numerous other works.

Dostoyevsky is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential novelists of the Golden Age of Russian literature. Albert Einstein put him above the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, calling him a “great religious writer” who explores “the mystery of spiritual existence”. Friedrich Nietzsche called Dostoyevsky “the only psychologist … from whom I had something to learn; he ranks among the most beautiful strokes of fortune in my life”. Hermann Hesse enjoyed Dostoyevsky’s work and cautioned that to read him is like a “glimpse into the havoc”.

According to Existentialism, philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a “single individual”, giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking, and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment.

Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche are other most influential existentialist philosophers.

Below is a list of Inspirational Fyodor Dostoyevsky quotes. All of these Fyodor Dostoyevsky quotes are full of wisdom and, have the power to motivate you.

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Power is given only to him who dares to stoop and take it … one must have the courage to dare.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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

“The soul is healed by being with children.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Existentialism isn’t so atheistic that it wears itself out showing that God doesn’t exist. Rather, it declares that even if God did exist, that would change nothing.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms. It’s by talking nonsense that one gets to the truth! I talk nonsense, therefore I’m human.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“To live without Hope is to Cease to live.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“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.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“This is my last message to you: in sorrow, seek happiness.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Beauty will save the world.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Accept suffering and achieve atonement through it — that is what you must do.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Above all, avoid falsehood, every kind of falsehood, especially falseness to yourself. Watch over your own deceitfulness and look into it every hour, every minute.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The soul is healed by being with children.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Perhaps I really regard myself as an intelligent man only because throughout my entire life I’ve never been able to start or finish anything.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be!”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“To go wrong in one’s own way is better then to go right in someone else’s.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“You can be sincere and still be stupid.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Compassion is the chief law of human existence.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Neither a person nor a nation can exist without some higher idea. And there is only one higher idea on earth, and it is the idea of the immortality of the human soul, for all other “higher” ideas of life by which humans might live derive from that idea alone.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“But how could you live and have no story to tell?”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“To achieve perfection, one must first begin by not understanding many things! And if we understand too quickly, we may not understand well.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“To love someone means to see them as God intended them.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“To care only for well-being seems to me positively ill-bred.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Man has it all in his hands, and it all slips through his fingers from sheer cowardice.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Be the sun and all will see you.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them — the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“It seems, in fact, as though the second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing, but the habits he has accumulated during the first half.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Grown-up people do not know that a child can give exceedingly good advice even in the most difficult case.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“There are chance meetings with strangers that interest us from the first moment, before a word is spoken.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Every man has some reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone, but only to his friends.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“If there is no God, everything is permitted.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Besides, nowadays, almost all capable people are terribly afraid of being ridiculous, and are miserable because of it.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“I love mankind, he said, “but I find to my amazement that the more I love mankind as a whole, the less I love man in particular.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The characteristics of our romantics are to understand everything, to see everything and to see it often incomparably more clearly than our most realistic minds see it.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“It is better to be unhappy and know the worst, than to be happy in a fool’s paradise.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“I swear to you gentlemen, that to be overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough sickness.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“When reason fails, the devil helps!”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Man is a mystery. It needs to be unravelled, and if you spend your whole life unravelling it, don’t say that you’ve wasted time. I am studying that mystery because I want to be a human being.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“It’s the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“To love is to suffer and there can be no love otherwise.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“And the more I drink the more I feel it. That’s why I drink too. I try to find sympathy and feeling in drink…. I drink so that I may suffer twice as much!”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“I think the devil doesn’t exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“A hundred suspicions don’t make a proof.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Destroy my desires, eradicate my ideals, show me something better, and I will follow you.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“I could not become anything; neither good nor bad; neither a scoundrel nor an honest man; neither a hero nor an insect. And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything, that only a fool can become something.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don’t bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he’s a good man.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

20 Comments


    1. Yes, You can click on the wordpress icon you see in the sharing buttons. A pop up window will come and you can share from there. 🙂
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  1. Oh my, why haven’t I heard of this guy before now? Everyone going on about Oscar Wilde & Woody Allen (both great guys) but no-one’s quoting Fyodor Dostoyevsky nearly often enough. Also, you have “The soul is healed by being with children” twice.

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  2. This is amazing.Dostoiesvski is my all time favourite author and I’ve been searching for a post like this for a long time.Great job!

    Reply

  3. Dostoyevsky has the reputation of being a serious existential writer but did you know he had a sense of humour? If you doubt this read The Crocodile, a short story of his in which a man is swallowed by a Croc and carries out conversations with his family from inside its belly!

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  4. I loved reading Dostoyevsky; every thought penetrates deep inside the veins, trembling all flesh to celebrate the ritual to higher course of meaning. Even though I have killed my soul Dostoyevsky has resurrected it. Anand Bose from Kerala.

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  5. Wow! This is incredible. I started reading a book of Fyodor Dostoyevsky yesterday. Thats my first book of the author and lo and behold! I chance upon your blog. Serendipitous, I must say. His quotes are worth preserving. Thanks!

    Reply

  6. You remind me of my need to read Dostoyevsky. I’m a fan of Tolstoy, so it would make sense that I could enjoy D. Somehow he’s always intimidated me a bit. This particular quote spoke to me: The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
    The deeper the grief, the closer is God!” as I think of losing my son. I don’t feel close to God since this happened, but it would be nice if it were true

    Reply

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