June 07, 2007


Caption: The butler did it. This man is now portraying Smerdyakov, possible illegitimate son and murderer of Fyodor Karamazov. Note the leash with which he will later hang himself.

OK, this is it. I mean it. After today, I vow to go a really long time before reading by or writing anything else about Dostoevsky.

To wrap up, I cobbled together some quotes about him, courtesy of FyodorDostoevsky.com (what would he think of that?).

As you might imagine, he's been called lots of things, ranging from
"Russia's evil genius" to "...the Shakespeare of the lunatic asylum." The Russian novelist Turgenev called him "...the nastiest Christian I've ever met".

I think the Shakespeare one nailed it.

Henry Miller said "Dostoevsky was human in that 'all too human' sense of Nietzsche. He wrings our withers when he unrolls his scroll of life." and "Dostoevsky is chaos and fecundity. Humanity, with him, is but a vortex in the bubbling maelstrom."

Joseph Conrad said The Brothers Karamazov was "... an impossible lump of valuable matter. It's terrifically bad and impressive and exasperating. Moreover, I don't know what Dostoevsky stands for or reveals, but I do know that he is too Russian for me. It sounds like some fierce mouthings of prehistoric ages." Conrad knew a thing or two about impossible lumps...

According to Nietzsche, he was"...the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn." That explains a lot.

Einstein said "Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist, more than Gauss." Holy speed of light in a vacuum, Batman!

The Russian theologian and philosopher Nikolay Berdyaev said "So great is the worth of Dostoevsky that to have produced him is by itself sufficient justification for the existence of the Russian people in the world: and he will bear witness for his country-men at the last judgement of the nations."

I think I'm done now.



Mary Rayme said...

Damn I hope the Dusty hairball is gone. Kerouac loved the crazy Russian also. My attention span is better suited for The New Yorker. Keep up the great blog, sir.

thinkulous said...

Love the way you've continued to post about Dost. as you've ploughed through it -- much like my Moby Dick slog of late (seven posts and counting).

I adored Crime and Punishment in high school, even went and privately read Notes after that. They were the *perfect* books for an alienated nerd like me. In my youthful enthusiasm, I felt there was so much I could learn about living from them. Scary...!

Thanks for the URL for the Ringworm post on Moby Dick -- I laughed out loud repeatedly. Very funny! Apropos, you might like this series of farcical MD alternative plot, if you missed it on my blog. There's one more here.


El Cabrero said...

Hey Mary,
I think it out this time. Now I have to figure out next week...

And some of those New Yorker articles are pretty long too!


El Cabrero said...

Loved the MD! Now that you've got me started I may have to kill a week (or longer) with that one.

Goat Rope usually comes out six days a week (talking animals on the weekends) so I often have a theme for the weekdays and tack on other items of interest as they emerge.

Thanks for the links--I'm going to read all your Moby Dick items

Brecht said...

El Cabrero, thanks for a fun week. As a final thought, have you got any favorite F.D.'s to recommend besides the Brothers K?

Look forward to your next bookfest. In the meantime I'll check out Thinkulous. I've been meaning to get to the big whale for quite a while...

El Cabrero said...

I'd have to go with Crime and Punishment. But REALLY there's no substitute for Moby-Dick.