Tags: fyodor dostoevsky

Dostoevsky's Mouse

author icons!

Thanks to everyone who took the poll! It looks like the mouse icon wins. :) I may use one of the "I corrupted them all" icons later, too.

I tried to find another way to use Dostoevsky's picture, and this inspired a small set of author icons with handwriting and signatures, like so:


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EDIT: Fixed it so that the images work again, and added a bunch more.

Spoilers, I guess. Only not really.

Has anybody else read Dostoevsky's Poor People?

And if so... did anybody else think it kind of... sucked?

I mean, it's Dostoevsky, so how could it possibly suck, right? Am I just totally missing the point? While I was reading it, I kept thinking maybe it was a joke. Dostoevsky's not exactly famed for his sense of humor, but the only way I could read the book at all was by assuming it was a satire on Russian tragedies. It was like Gogol, only ten times more like Gogol than Gogol was.

But ultimately, I think I was supposed to take the characters seriously, and even to like them. Never mind that they were both totally self-absorbed, and spent the entire bloody novel addressing one another by insipidly endearing terms and expounding their misfortunes, great and small, in the most pitiful, degraded, helpless, desperate manner. Each of them, it seemed, sought to commiserate with the other, but all either was willing to offer was complaint, despair, fawning praise, and overdramatized pity. I don't know, it was just so... I couldn't even believe in these people. Maybe it was partly the translator's fault, I don't know.

I think it was mostly the fault of the first person narrative. Having characters explain their own tragedies and horrors in the first person... just comes off as pathetic, doesn't it? Dostoevsky is fantastic with the third person. Everyone is always suffering horribly, but nobody says so. It's expressed indirectly. Like Gorshkov here -- he was the only character in Poor People that I liked. Third person. It works. But the minute someone starts saying, "Oh, my dearest, my little flower, I am a worthless man, a despicable man -- oh, what am I to do..." Well. You see my point.