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November 22, 2013
  • “The barriers between mind and object, the ambiguities which metaphysicians discern in the very notion of reality and perception, impeded neither Homer nor Tolstoy.” That’s George Steiner, as quoted by Russian Dinosaur. It seems like a positive recasting of “monologic.” Humphry House (known to me as a favorite of Amateur Reader’s) pops up in that post too.
  • Speaking of AR, Wuthering Expectations has several posts on The Idiot trans. David McDuff, starting here. Before you click through, guess what follows this paragraph in Dostoevskii’s novel? “It was at this very moment that Aglaya entered calmly and grandly, made a ceremonious bow to the prince, and solemnly took the most conspicuous place at the circular table.  She gave the prince a questioning look.  Everyone realized that the resolution of all their bewilderment had begun.”
  • I’ve also been meaning to link to an earlier series of posts on My Past and Thoughts here, here, and also here. Mostly on the book as literature. And as rhetoric. I think this is spot-on: the author’s “own troubles are always small stuff against the other crimes of the autocratic Nicholas and his allies – executions, torture, corruption.” The last post, on Gertsen’s approach to the nonsense statistics made by and for the imperial bureaucracy he had to serve in, makes me want to compare My Past and Thoughts to all Pisemskii’s books on working civil servants and to Moscow to the End of the Line.
  • And I guess I can see how Karamzin’s “light, Gallic style” could seem refreshing, but I always thought he had an unfortunate knack for crushing all the wonderful variety of the things he wrote about into a homogenous elegance. I may not have given him, or the eighteenth century, enough of a chance. Languagehat’s post is surprising and well worth your while, whatever you think of Karamzin.
One Comment leave one →
  1. November 23, 2013 3:50 pm

    The career of George Steiner is owed to Humphry House, I had no idea.

    Hat’s systematic push through early Russian literature has afforded many insights. Always a treat to read it.

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