Chekhov about Russian, German and French

“Russian excitability has one specific characteristic: it is quickly followed by exhaustion.”

“The present is always worse than the past. Why? Because Russian excitability has one specific characteristic: it is quickly followed by exhaustion.”

“He looks for the causes outside himself and fails to find them; he begins to look for them inside and finds only an indefinite feeling of guilt. It is a Russian feeling. Whether there is a death or illness in his family, whether he owes money or lends it, a Russian always feels guilty.”

“Thus the extreme excitability, the feeling of guilt, the liability to become exhausted are purely Russian. Germans are never excited, and that is why Germany knows nothing of disappointed, superfluous, or over-tired people. . . . The excitability of the French is always maintained at one and the same level, and makes no sudden bounds or falls, and so a Frenchman is normally excited down to a decrepit old age. In other words, the French do not have to waste their strength in over-excitement; they spend their powers sensibly, and do not go bankrupt.” 
Letter of Anton Chekhov to A. S. Suvorin (Moscow, December 30 1888)

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