Brainyquote's quote site, attributes this quote to Maxim Gorky:

“The most beautiful words in the English language are 'not guilty'.”

Did he say or write this (or a Russian equivalent)?

If so, what was the Russian original? In what context (why/where/when) was it introduced by Gorky?

1 Answer 1


The only relevant source in Russian I could find - the book of a modern writer, Albert Tussein, on proza.ru. This is just a collection of quotes and anecdotes and it has this quote, attributing it to Gorky. http://proza.ru/2014/07/05/656

Google doesn't know about other books with this quote (using Tussein's wording), parts or variations of it. Search for "most beautiful", "not guilty" etc. in combination with Gorky's name brings nothing.

So either Gorky never said something like this and Tussein misattributed the quote, Google (and Duckduckgo) do not index the source or the source isn't digitized.

  • When you say the Tussein book is relevant, how is it relevant? In general, we don't like answers that say "I googled it and couldn't find it" because how do we know if you searched for the right terms, and how do we know that it is on Google in the first place?
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 13, 2018 at 1:50
  • @grayraw I have always speculated that this quote was related to Gorky's 1906 trip to the United States. Something about his personal harsh treatment by the American press/public, or his general impression of the American jury system. If so, he might have said it in Russian, but it was not reported in the Russian press.
    – rapt
    Feb 13, 2018 at 2:23
  • Oddthinking It's relevant only because Tussein attributes this quote to Gorky. Search for this exact wording or parts of it brings nothing. You might notice I've mentioned that (though might have not been entirely clear) in second paragraph. This is also a short quote so there're not a lot of possible variants for it. In general quotes are always difficult to attribute as it always boils down to similar kind of search. But this is probably not the place to explain difference between "прекрасные" and "красивые" rapt Well, Russian Internet is not very helpful on this :)
    – grayraw
    Feb 13, 2018 at 2:41
  • I've updated my answer a bit
    – grayraw
    Feb 13, 2018 at 2:52

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