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October 21, 2012

I fear Leo Tolstoy's death. His death would leave a large empty space in my life. First, I have loved no man the way I have loved him. I am not a believer, but of all beliefs I consider his the closest to mine and most suitable for me. Second, when literature has a Tolstoy, it is easy and gratifying to be a writer. Even if you are aware that you have never accomplished anything, you don't feel so bad, because Tolstoy accomplishes enough for everyone. His activities provide justification for the hopes and aspirations that are usually placed on literature. Third, Tolstoy stands firm, his authority is enormous, and as long as he is alive bad taste in literature, all vulgarity in its brazen-faced or lachrymose varieties, all bristly and resentful vanity will remain far in the background. His moral authority alone is enough to maintain what we think of as literary trends and schools at a certain minimal level. If not for him, literature would be a flock without a shepherd or an unfathomable jumble.


Posted by amin at 7:34 PM

October 16, 2012

Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.


Posted by amin at 10:07 AM

October 14, 2012

It happens to us once or twice in a lifetime to be drunk with some book which probably has some extraordinary relative power to intoxicate us and none other; and having exhausted that cup of enchantment we go groping in libraries all our days afterwards in the hope of being in Paradise again.


Posted by amin at 2:27 PM

October 13, 2012

I have no faith in our intelligentsia, for it is hypocritical, dishonest, hysterical, uncultured, and lazy. I have no faith in it even when it claims to be suffering and is protesting, for its oppressors issue from its very loins. I do have faith in individuals. I see salvation in individuals - intellectuals and peasants alike - scattered here and there across Russia, for though they may be few, they have real strength. A prophet has no honor in his own land, and the individuals of whom I speak play an almost imperceptible role in our society. Though they do not dominate, their deeds are manifest.


Posted by amin at 1:05 PM