Dostoevsky

jenks

thread death
He’s great - C&P still reads like thriller. Bros K was a brilliant read but, unlike Dickens, the plot is not the thing with him. There’s an exciting inciting incident and then the novel is really about consequences. And like Conrad he’s someone for whom morality is central.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
What I have really liked in the Dostoevsky I've read is the horrible dark evil stuff, staring into the void.

The Grand Inquisitor in Brothers Karamazov and Svidrigailov in Crime and Punishment...

"I don't believe in a future life," said Raskolnikov.

Svidrigaïlov sat lost in thought.

"And what if there are only spiders there, or something of that sort," he said suddenly.

"He is a madman," thought Raskolnikov.

"We always imagine eternity as something beyond our conception, something vast, vast! But why must it be vast? Instead of all that, what if it's one little room, like a bath house in the country, black and grimy and spiders in every corner, and that's all eternity is? I sometimes fancy it like that."

"Can it be you can imagine nothing juster and more comforting than that?" Raskolnikov cried, with a feeling of anguish.

"Juster? And how can we tell, perhaps that is just, and do you know it's what I would certainly have made it," answered Svidrigaïlov, with a vague smile. (Part IV, Chapter 1)
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
This is a good book. Basic thesis is Dostoevsky = Shakespeare Tolstoy = Homer. Now that you've read my summary you don't even have to read the book.


"Tolstoy is presented as a sort of re-incarnation of Homer; the epic is his literary form. Dostoevsky's, on the other hand, is dramatic tragedy; his closest literary predecessor is Shakespeare.

One aspect that united Tolstoy and Dostoevsky stands in stark contrast to the nineteenth-century fiction of Western Europe. "The tradition of Balzac, Dickens, and Flaubert was secular. The art of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky was religious." They, unlike their counterparts in Western Europe, were engaged in the "quest after the salvation of humanity." But, as Steiner expounds in the culminating and most stimulating part of the book, they went about it in radically different ways. Tolstoy's lode star, even in matters of religion, was rationalism; Dostoevsky was suffused with the daemonic and in love with paradox."
 
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catalog

Well-known member
The demons plot is totally absurd in a sense, a lot of people do generally 'mad' things and there's no real motivation for a lot of the actions.

But it doesn't seem to matter cos it ends up in 50 pages of two people having a first principles type conversation in a dark room in the middle of the night, where nothing gets resolved but they open their souls to one another.
 

catalog

Well-known member
Something I've realised about myself recently is that I do appreciate good plotting.

I thought I liked experimental things but I've got a limit and need a decent story well told.

And dostoyevsky does do that, it's just he does other stuff better.
 

catalog

Well-known member
From the article jenks posted:

"Dostoevsky has turned out to have great prophetic relevance for the troubles we find ourselves in. First of all, his work attracts lunatics, so that in any period Dostoevsky is always likely to appear, as it were, on the police blotter as "Exhibit A". The Unabomber was an avid reader of Dostoevsky. A copy of Crime and Punishment was found in Saddam Hussein's spider-hole when the Americans found him. And Laura Bush has said that her favourite piece of writing is the "Legend of the Grand Inquisitor", from The Brothers Karamazov, apparently unaware that this tremendous parable, although written by a fervent Christian, is taken by many to be the greatest piece of atheistical complaint ever mounted."
 

version

Well-known member
From the article jenks posted:

"Dostoevsky has turned out to have great prophetic relevance for the troubles we find ourselves in. First of all, his work attracts lunatics, so that in any period Dostoevsky is always likely to appear, as it were, on the police blotter as "Exhibit A". The Unabomber was an avid reader of Dostoevsky. A copy of Crime and Punishment was found in Saddam Hussein's spider-hole when the Americans found him. And Laura Bush has said that her favourite piece of writing is the "Legend of the Grand Inquisitor", from The Brothers Karamazov, apparently unaware that this tremendous parable, although written by a fervent Christian, is taken by many to be the greatest piece of atheistical complaint ever mounted."
Jordan Peterson's a big fan.

 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
i recommended Karamavoz to Limburger and he read the first four pages before hurling it against the wall in disgust then went on a foul mouthed tirade about what a terrible person i am and how i know nothing about literature and should probably be shot.
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
i recommended Karamavoz to Limburger and he read the first four pages before hurling it against the wall in disgust then went on a foul mouthed tirade about what a terrible person i am and how i know nothing about literature and should probably be shot.
it was castrated but close enough
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
And just to reiterate my very interesting Dostoyevsky points, it wasn't that I thought Karamazov was bad, but the common man dialect the prose style mimics was not what I was in the mood for at the time. Ive also read notes from the underground and liked it.

Dostoyevsky’s roughness, despite the rush and the pressure, was all deliberate. No matter what the deadline, if he didn’t like what he had, he would throw it all out and start again. So this so-called clumsiness is seen in his drafts, the way he works on it. It’s deliberate. His narrator is not him; it’s always a bad provincial writer who has an unpolished quality but is deeply expressive. In the beginning of ‘The Brothers Karamazov,’ in the note to the reader, there is the passage about ‘being at a loss to resolve these questions, I am resolved to leave them without any resolution.’ He stumbles. It’s all over the place

The style of The Brothers Karamazov is based on the spoken, not the written, word. Dostoevsky composed in voices. We know from his notebooks and letters how he gathered the phrases, mannerisms, verbal tics from which a Fyodor Pavlovich or a Smerdyakov would emerge, and how he would try out these voices....The publication of his notebooks in the 1930s finally dispelled the old prejudice that Dostoevsky was a careless and indifferent stylist. All the oddities of his prose are deliberate; they are a sort of "learned ignorance," a willed imperfection of artistic means, that is essential to his vision.
 
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