06 April, 2007

8 comments:

Елена said...

Hello, Therese!
I'm greeting from Moscow, Russia.
I am glad you are interested in Russian literature. Could I join your
Russian lit. fan club? I'm joking, of course, but it would be great to talk to you. May I ask you how this unlikely interest emerged?
Elena (faraway)

Therese said...

Well, I decided several years ago that I ought to read War and Peace, because it was so long. I did, and enjoyed it far more than I ever could have expected. It's hard now for me to decide whether I like Dostoevsy or Tolstoy better, because Crime and Punishment has become one of my favorite books.

Елена said...

Have you read 'Idiot'? The central character makes the book so warm...in spite of the rather psychotic Nastasya Filipovna...What about 'The Karamazoff brothers'? Alyosha is another of Dostoyevsky's favourites.
I like Dostoyevsky more...Perhaps because he leaves so much unsaid, unresolved, leaving the characters so unfulfilled and unjudged...Tolstoy is more of a literary arbiter, a ruler of his little universe, everything seems to be so much more definite

Елена said...

I have a feeling that Dostoyevsky is himself one of the 'little men'(that's a Russian literary term, I suppose - or is it not?) - like you and me, like all the suffering and the poor...Do you know his famous words:
'They say: 'Christ is a mistake'. Then I'd rather stay with the mistake, yet with Christ'
- it's a rough translation, I'll have to look it up and translate more accurately. Christ was the centre of his life, there's no doubt about it.
Good luck with your reading!
Hope I didn't bother you...

Tessa said...

Not at all. That's interesting what you say about Dostoevsky. I've only got a vague idea about his personal history, although I had heard that he became quite religious towards the end of his life. I really like that quote. Perhaps I'll include it in my blog.

I haven't read the "Idiot" yet, but I hope to when I have some free time. I am working on reading the Brothers Karamazov, but it is going very slowly. I am enjoying it however.

Elena said...

Well, I must apologize for misleading you and thank you for having me check what I vaguely remembered. I’ll try again, and there’ll be a shift in meaning. The quote is from Dostoyevsky’s answer to one of his opponents – I’ll try to find out the context later.
D. says:
‘It isn’t sufficient to define morality as being true to one’s beliefs. It is important to arouse the question inside yourself: are my beliefs true? And there is only one way to check them – Christ.
<…> I do have a moral model and ideal – Christ. I ask: would he burn the heretics? – No. Well, then burning the heretics is an immoral act.
Christ made mistakes – it’s proven! This burning feeling says: I’d rather stay with the mistake, with Christ, than with you.’

Elena said...

As for 'enjoying' Dostoyevsky, I can't say I would like to reread any of his books again. For my generation (I read him in 1970-s) he was a great christian thinker at the time when we had hardly any access to christian literature or apologetics.He was also a prophet (in a historical sense) who foretold the disaster which the communist revolution would bring this country.
But for a common reader, like me, there is too much tension and disquiet in his writing...
Tolstoy's world (at least that of 'War and Peace') is much more peaceful and harmonious, don't you think? Who is your favourite character there?

Therese said...

I like Pierre. He is so real. Not at all the heroic type - he's rather weak, and has some foolish ideas - but he manages still to be a good person by the end of the book.