Chekhov was such an influential figure that many of his interesting words and sayings have found their way into modern Russian. From words like “mordant” and “capacious” to philosophical musings, there is much to celebrate in the richness of his language. In honor of what would have been the writer’s 155th birthday on January 29, RBTH brings you 10 of the best Chekhov moments. Tweet the ones you like and spread Chekhov’s words to your friends.
If your wife has been unfaithful to you, rejoice that she has betrayed merely you, and not your country. (From the humorous short piece “Life is Wonderful”)
If there's any illness for which people offer many remedies, you may be sure that particular illness is incurable. (From “The Cherry Orchard”)
No one wants to love the ordinary people in us. (From a letter to Suvorin, Nov. 24 or 25, 1888, Moscow)
One's actions hurt other people, it doesn't prove that they are wrong. (From the short story “Neighbors”)
The Russian loves recalling life, but he does not love living. (From the story “Steppe”)
A human being should be entirely beautiful: the face, the clothes, the mind, the thoughts. (From “Uncle Vanya”)
I call it good breeding not so much not to upset the sauce on the table, as not to notice it when some one else has done it. (From the short story “The House With the Mezzanine”)
Only fools and charlatans know everything and understand everything. (From a letter to Ivan Leontyev (Shcheglov), June 9, 1888, Sumy)
In Russia you can't expect a talented man to come out completely untarnished. (From “Uncle Vanya”)
Brevity is the sister of talent. (From a letter to his brother Alexander, April 11, 1889, giving advice on how to write a play)
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