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Thread: Dostoevsky and the Urban Jungle
October 5th, 2006, 06:47 AM #1
Dostoevsky and the Urban Jungle
The city is the embodiment of nightmare, of terrible visions, of some blank and dead spirit. Dostoevsky describes this urban jungle in a style full of life’s immediacy and authenticity, with a sense of the vastness and indeterminacy of human motivation. His writing career began after he gave up his ‘dull as potatoes’ military career in 1844.-Malcohm Bradbury on ‘Dostoevsky’, The Modern World: Ten Great Writers, Penguin, Ringwood, Victoria, 1989, p.27-52.
Attainment unto this City quencheth thirst without water, and kindleth the love of God without fire. -Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, USA, 1952, p.269.
It was a year when careers took epochal shifts:
exploring darkness and light,
old crimes and new punishments,
books, so many new books, that would
change the face of fiction and the world’s
spiritual sensibility forever.
Tragic figures, so very tragic, but
ultimately an exploration of the inner man
that the world had never seen:
Worship thou God in such wise that
if thy worship lead thee to the fire,
no alteration in thine adoration
would be produced.*
Different cities found expression under
your pens: heavenly and earthly,
earthly and earthly where, at last,
the Mystic Herald, bearing the joyful
tidings of the Spirit, shine(s) forth from
the City of God,** from Your book, like
some trumpet-blast of knowledge,
resplendent as the morn, awakening
hearts from the slumber of frenetic passivity.
And this city of multiforms is taking shape
up there, over there, like a pregnant mountain
and in a thousand other places, slowly,
gradually, confering new life on seekers
as they penetrate the hidden mysteries
of the soul and inhale the fragrances
of a new morning in some wondrous
utterances in which the channels of
their souls are cleansed by new perfumes.***
27 October 1995
* The Bab in Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p.77.
** Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p.267.
***Dostoevsky wrote many books before he died in 1881.
The Bab and Baha’u’llah wrote a massive number of books before Baha’u’llah’s death in 1892.
October 5th, 2006, 07:12 AM #2Originally Posted by RonPrice
Dostoevsky is one of my favorite all-time novelists. His characters are so psychologically complex and realistic that even in translation there seems to be no gulf of distance and time between the author and this reader. I also prefer him to Tolstoy because of his greater focus on the lower classes. His cities and the people that lived in them were dirty, grimy, desperate, real. Living in a big city, I can relate to it much more easily than to the nobility and wealthy of Tolstoy's works.
July 29th, 2013, 09:59 PM #3
Belated Apologies, Banger
Belated Apologies, Banger, for taking 7 years to respond. I just saw your post today. I thought I should reply before I die since I may not get the chance after I pass away. Take care of yourself.-Ron Price, Australia
August 17th, 2013, 01:10 AM #4
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
- Cair Paravel by the Shining Sea
August 17th, 2013, 02:04 AM #5
Yes, indeed, Michael B, there are many ways to see the nature of cities, the nature of the planet, and the nature of life. To each their own, eh?-Ron Price, Australia