Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Good

"As Sterne says: 'We love people not so much for the good they’ve done us, as for the good we’ve done them.'"

Footnote: "The English writer Laurence Sterne (1713-68) had a marked influence on the young Tolstoy, particularly with his Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (1768), which stands behind Tolstoy's first piece of fiction, "A History of Yesterday" (1851), and part of which Tolstoy translated. Sterne's novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760-67) has been seen as a formal precursor of War and Peace.

~ War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

This quote reminds me of a legend, which I believe was about Benjamin Franklin, in which he wishes to befriend a certain antagonistic senator, and does so by asking for a book from his library and returning the book weeks later with a friendly note thanking him for the book. The next time he encounters the senator, instead of the usual animosity, he is greeted as a friend.

1 comment:

  1. Your note on Benjamin Franklin is correct, and is found in his autobiography: "He that had once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged."

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