He referenced a line from Turgenev a few times, from the suicide note of a character named Nejdanov: ‘I could not simplify myself.’ ‘That really struck home,’ Matthiessen said. I knew exactly what he means.’ He paused and then whispered it again. ‘I could not simplify myself,’ and then added, ‘That’s always been my goal.’
— Jeff Himmelman interviews Peter Matthiessen and recounts his rich and fascinating life. Himmelman’s article was published April 3rd, two days before Matthiessen’s death at 86.