Kozma Prutkov

fictional Russian author

Kozma Petrovich Prutkov (Russian: Козьма́ Петро́вич Прутко́в) is a collective pen name used by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy and his cousins, three Zhemchuzhnikov brothers, Alexei, Vladimir and Alexander to publish satires, aphorisms, fables, epigrams, and humorous and nonsense verses during Nicholas I of Russia's authoritarian reign in the 1850s–1860s, most notably in the literary magazine "Sovremennik" (The Contemporary).

Quotes edit

Fruits of Reflection (1853-1854) edit

  • Nobody will embrace the unembraceable.
    • Никто не обнимет необъятного.
    • No. 3.
  • Look in the roots!
    • Зри в корень!
    • No. 6.
  • Even an oyster has enemies!
    • И устрица имеет врагов!
    • Often quoted as "Even oysters have enemies", e.g. Barbara Heldt Monter: Kozma Prutkov - the Art of Parody. Mouton 1973. p. 58 or Jack Nicholson at the 2010 AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony for Mike Nichols (without attribution to Kozma Prutkov)[1]
    • No. 86.
  • If you want to be beautiful, enroll in the Hussars.
    • Если хочешь быть красивым, поступи в гусары.
    • No. 16.
  • Watch out!
    • Бди!
    • No. 25.
  • Where is the beginning of the end that comes at the end of the beginning?
    • Где начало того конца, которым оканчивается начало?
    • No. 78.
  • If you want to be happy, be!
    • Если хочешь быть счастливым — будь им!
    • No. 80.
  • There are three things that once begun are difficult to finish: a) eating delicious food; b) talking to a friend who had just returned from a military campaign; and c) scratching where it itches.
    • Три дела, однажды начавши, трудно кончить: а) вкушать хорошую пищу; б) беседовать с возвратившимся из похода другом и в) чесать, где чешется.
    • No. 45.
  • And once again: nobody will embrace the unembraceable!
    • Опять скажу: никто не обнимет необъятного!
    • No. 160.

Military Aphorisms edit

  • Let the exact fit of the ammunition be the goal of the soldier's ambition.
    • Да будет целью солдатской амбиции Точная пригонка амуниции. (Russian амуниция means not gunpowder and bullets, but serviceman equipment except uniform and weapons)
  • Here come the Slavophiles and Nihilists, and none of them have clean fingernails.
    • Идут славянофилы и нигилисты, У тех и у других ногти не чисты.
    • A. K. Tolstoi, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v dvukh tomakh [Complete Works in two volumes] (Leningrad, 1984), 1:386.

Thoughts and Aphorisms Not Included in Fruits of Reflection (1856-1860) edit

  • Every tailor has his own views on art!
    • У всякого портного свой взгляд на искусство!
    • No. 45.
  • Wisdom is like turtle soup in that not everybody can get it.
    • Мудрость, подобно черепаховому супу, не всякому доступна.
    • No. 50.
  • Not any tickling is pleasant.
    • Не всякая щекотка доставляет удовольствие!
    • No. 68.
  • Is there anybody in the world who could embrace the unembraceable?
    • Есть ли на свете человек, который мог бы обнять необъятное?
    • No. 91.

External Links edit

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