Anna Karenina - Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear, Leo Tolstoy

"You're a regular reactionist, I see."
"Really, I have never considered what I am. I am Konstantin Levin, and nothing else."

 

I love this character: so awkward, then so gloriously poised. I know he's in his thirties, but he reminds me more of a teen in the cusp of adulthood.

 

Also, the bit about him sowing clover. Maybe because I've seen it expounded as a grounding thing before in "The Good Earth", or maybe it's my childhood memories of gardening with my grandpa, but it really got to me.

And then some pages later, he goes on this rampage:

 

You talk of his being an aristocrat. But allow me to ask what it consists in, that aristocracy of Vronsky or of anybody else, beside which I can be looked down upon? You consider Vronsky an aristocrat, but I don't. A man whose father crawled up from nothing at all by intrigue, and whose mother--God knows whom she wasn't mixed up with.... No, excuse me, but I consider myself aristocratic, and people like me, who can point back in the past to three or four honorable generations of their family, of the highest degree of breeding (talent and intellect, of course that's another matter), and have never curried favor with anyone, never depended on anyone for anything, like my father and my grandfather. And I know many such. You think it mean of me to count the trees in my forest, while you may Ryabinin a present of thirty thousand; but you get rents from your lands and I don't know what, while I don't and so I prize what's come to me from my ancestors or been won by hard work.... We are aristocrats, and not those who can only exist by favor of the powerful of this world, and who can be bought for twopence halfpenny.