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Under Western Eyes

Critique • Quotes

Under Western EyesFirst U.S. edition, 1911
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First publication

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Approx. 121,000 words

Notable lines

To begin with, I wish to disclaim the possession of those high gifts of imagination and expression which would have enabled my pen to create for the reader the personality of the man who called himself, after the Russian custom, Cyril son of Isidor—Kirylo Sidorovitch—Razumov.

— First line

Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality.


To a teacher of languages there comes a time when the world is but a place of many words and man appears a mere talking animal not much more wonderful than a parrot.


"In life, you see, there is not much choice. You have either to rot or to burn. And there is not one of us, painted or unpainted, that would not rather burn than rot."


"The man who says that he has no illusions has at least that one...."


"...a belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness."


Sophia Antonovna got up and wished me good-bye, as though she had not heard a word of my impious hope; but, in the very doorway, where I attended her, she turned round for an instant, and declared in a firm voice—

"Peter Ivanovitch is an inspired man."

— Last lines


Critique • Quotes