Commiserating with Dostoyevsky (Brothers Karamazov)

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Fyodor DostoevskyYou know you're in a bad place when you feel like reading Dostoyevsky .. as a way of commiserating with someone who can relate.

He was screwed over pretty badly. Critics claim it was these experiences that enabled him to write with such penetrating insight.

"The writer's own troubled life enabled him to portray with deep sympathy characters who are emotionally and spiritually downtrodden, and who epitomize the traditional Christian conflict between body and spirit.

Dostoyevsky sought to plumb the depths of the psyche, in order to reveal the full range of the human experience, from the basest desires to the most elevated spiritual yearnings.

Above all, he illustrated the universal human struggle to understand both God and self. Dostoyevsky was, as Katherine Mansfield wrote, a man who loved, in spite of everything, adored life, even while he knew the dank, dark places."

I've known a few dank, dark places myself. (Haven't we all?)

"Who loved in spite of..." That's not easy to do.

Even those who don't like Dostoevsky concede ungrudingly he is "a titan of world literature."

Critics seem to agree The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest novels ever written. Some even claim it is the single greatest novel -- ever. (That statement raised my eyebrows.)

  • Einstein said, "Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist."
  • Freud called it, "The most magnificent novel ever written."

••• today's entry continues here below •••

  • Tolstoy reportedly burst into tears upon learning of Dostoevsky's death. A copy of The Brothers Karamazov was found on Tolstoy's nightstand when he died.
  • Virginia Wolfe said, "Out of Shakespeare there is no more exciting reading."
  • Nietzsche referred to Dostoevsky as "the only psychologist from whom I have something to learn."

Einstein, Freud, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Kafka, Hemingway, James Joyce, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Faulkner, Proust, JD Salinger, Albert Camus, .. the list of admirers goes on. Here's a famous question posed in the book:

Imagine you are creating a fabric of human destiny, with the object of making men happy, giving them peace and rest at last, but it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature, and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears. Would you consent to be the architect on these conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.

Wow! Sample of quotes by Dostoevsky:

  • "The soul is healed by being with children."
  • "What is hell? It is the suffering of being unable to love."
  • "It is not possible to eat me without insisting I sing praises of my devourer?"
  • "To love someone means to see him as God intended him."
  • "There are things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind."
  • "Man has such a predilection for systems and abstract deductions that he is ready to distort the truth intentionally, he is ready to deny the evidence of his senses only to justify his logic."

I leave you with one final quote today » "The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light."

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » fyodor dostoevsky brothers karamazov

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on September 13, 2008 8:26 PM.

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