Vancouver Unconventional Books Message Board › The Bay of Pigs & Squeal of DEMONS
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FOURIER & PHALANSTERY - Verbal Duel between Nikolay & Liputin (Chapter 2: Prince Harry. Matchmaking):
L: I couldn't challenge you to a duel, could I?
N: Oh, no, of course! I seem to have heard that you're not fond of duels...
L: [doubling up again] Why borrow from the French?
N: You're for nationalism, then?
[Liputin shrank into himself more than ever.]
N: Bah, bah! What do I see? [noticing a volume of Considérant in the most conspicuous place on the table] You don't mean to say you're a Fourierist! I'm afraid you must be! And isn't this too borrowing from the French? [he laughed, tapping the book with his finger.]
L: No, that's not taken from the French, [L cried with positive fury, jumping up from his chair.] That is taken from the universal language of humanity, not simply from the French. From the language of the universal social republic and harmony of mankind, let me tell you! Not simply from the French!
N: Foo! Hang it all! There’s no such language![laughed N]
Sometimes a trifle will catch the attention and exclusively absorb it for a time. Most of what I have to tell of young Stavrogin will come later. But I will note now as a curious fact that of all the impressions made on him by his stay in our town, the one most sharply imprinted on his memory was the unsightly and almost abject figure of the little provincial official, the coarse and jealous family despot, the miserly money-lender who picked up the candle-ends and scraps left from dinner, and was at the same time a passionate believer in some visionary future “social harmony,” who at night gloated in ecstasies over fantastic pictures of a future phalanstery, in the approaching realisation of which, in Russia, and in our province, he believed as firmly as in his own existence. And that in the very place where he had saved up to buy himself a “little home,” where he had married for the second time, getting a dowry with his bride, where perhaps, for a hundred miles round there was not one man, himself included, who was the very least like a future member “of the universal human republic and social harmony.”
N: God knows how these people come to exist! [Nikolay wondered, recalling sometimes the unlooked –for Fourierist
Edited by User 30,623,752 on Jun 7, 2013 2:45 PM
|A former member||
SOCIALISM & SENTIMENTALITY - Rumours of Petrusha (Chapter 2: Prince Harry. Matchmaking):
S: It’s surprising to me [S commented, greatl disconcerted.] Petrusha, c’est une si pauvre tête! He’s good, noble-hearted, very sensitive, and I was so delighted with him in Petersburg, comparing him with the young people of to-day. But c’est un pauvre sire, tout de meme....And you know it all comes from the same half-bakedness, that sentimentality. They are fascinated, not by realism, but by the emotional ideal side of socialism, by the religious note in it, so to say, by the poetry of it...second-hand, of course. And for me, think what it means! I have so many enemies here and more still there, they`ll put it down to the father’s influence. Good God! Petrusha a revolutionist! What times we live in!
Very soon, however, Petrusha sent his exact address from Switzerland for money to be sent him as usual; so he could not be exactly an exile. And now, after four years abroad, he was making his appearance again in his own country, and announced that he would arrive shortly, so there could be no charge against him. What was more, some one seemed to be interested in him and protecting him. He wrote now from the south of Russia, where he was busily engaged in some private but important business. All this was capital, but where was his father to get that other seven or eight thousand, to make up a suitable price for the estate? And what if there should be an outcry, and instead of that imposing picture it should come to a lawsuit? Something told Stepan Trofimovitch that the sensitive Petrusha would not relinquish anything that was to be his interest.
S: Why is it—as I’ve noticed, [S whispered to me once] why is it that all these desperate socialists and communists are at the same time such incredible skinflints, so avaricious, so keen over property, and in fact, the most socialistic, the more extreme they are, the keener they are over property...why is it? Can that, too, come from sentimentalism?
I don’t know whether there is any truth in this observation of Stepan Trofimovitch’s. I only know that Petrusha had somehow got wind of the sale of the woods and the rest of it, and that Stepan Trofimovitch was aware of the fact. I happened, too, to read some of Petrusha’s letters to his father. He wrote extremely rarely, once a year, or even less often. Only recently, to inform him of his approaching visit, he had sent two letters, one almost immediately after the other. All his letters were short, dry, consisting only of instructions, and as the father and son had, since their meeting in Petersburg, adopted the fashionable “thou” and “thee,” Petrusha’s letters had a striking resemblance to the missives that used to be sent by landowners of the old school from the town to their serfs whom they had left in charge of their estates. And now suddenly this eight thousand which would solve the difficulty would be wafted to him by Varvara Petrovna’s proposition. And at the same time she made him distinctly feel that it never could be wafted to him from anywhere else. Of course Stepan Trofimovitch consented.
Edited by User 30,623,752 on Jun 7, 2013 2:44 PM
|A former member||
“VANITY & THE UNRELIABLE-SELF” BROUGHT TO YOU THROUGH THE GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION OF THE UNRELIABLE (!/?) NARRATOR – Prelude of the Adventure with Karmazinov (Chapter 3: The Sins of Others
I met Karmazinov, “the great writer,” as Liputin called him. I had read Karmazinov from a child. His novels and tales were well known to the past and even to the present generation. I revelled in them; they were the great enjoyment of my childhood and youth. Afterwards I grew rather less enthusiastic over his work. I did not care so much for the novels with a purpose which he had been writing of late as for his first, early works, which were so full of spontaneous poetry, and his latest publications I had not liked at all. Speaking generally, if I may venture to express my opinion on so delicate a subject, all these talented gentlemen of the middling sort who are sometimes in their lifetime accepted almost as geniuses, pass out of memory quite suddenly and without a trace when they die, and what’s more, it often happens that even during their lifetime, as soon as a new generation grows up and takes the place of the one in which they have flourished, they are forgotten and neglected by every one in an incredibly short time. This somehow happens among us quite suddenly, like the shifting of the scenes on the stage. Oh, it’s not at all the same as with Pushkin, Gogol, Molière, Voltaire, all those great men who really had a new original word to say! It’s true, too, that these talented gentlemen of the middling sort in the decline of their venerable years usually write themselves out in the most pitiful way, though they don’t observe the fact themselves. It happens not infrequently that a writer who has been for a long time credited with extraordinary profundity and expected to exercise a great and serious influence on the progress of society, betrays in the end such poverty, such insipidity in his fundamental ideas that no one regrets that he succeeded in writing himself out so soon. But the old grey-bears don’t notice this, and are angry. Their vanity sometimes, especially towards the end of their career, reaches proportions that may well provoke wonder. God knows what they begin to take themselves for—gods at least! People used to say about Karmazinov that his connections with aristocratic society and powerful personages were dearer to him than his own soul, people used to say that on meeting you he would be cordial, that he would fascinate and enchant you with his open-heartedness, especially if you were of use to him in some way, and if you came to him with some preliminary recommendation. But that before any stray prince, any stray countess, anyone that he was afraid of , he would regard it was his sacred duty to forget your existence with the most insulting carelessness, like a chip of wood, like a fly, before you had even time to get out of his sight; he seriously considered this the best and most aristocratic style. In spite of the best of breeding and perfect knowledge of good manners he is, they say, vain to such an hysterical pitch that he cannot conceal his irritability as an author even in those circles of society where little interest is taken in literature. If anyone were to surprise him by being indifferent, he would be morbidly chagrined, and try to revenge himself.
A year before, I had read an article of his in a review, written with an immense affectation of naive poetry, and psychology too. He described the wreck of some steamer on the English coast, of which he had been the witness, and how he had seen the drowning people saved, and the dead bodies brought ashore. All this long and rather verbose article was written solely with the object of self-display. One seemed to read between the lines: “Concentrate yourselves on me. Behold what I was like at those moments. What are the sea, the storm, the rocks, the splinters of wrecked ships to you? I have described all that sufficiently to you with my mighty pen. Why look at that drowned woman with the dead child in her dead arms? Look rather at me, see how I was unable to bear that sight and turned away from it; here I was horrified and could not bring myself to look; I blinked my eyes—isn’t that interesting?” When I told Stepan Trofimovitch my opinion of Karmazinov’s article he quite agreed with me.
Edited by User 30,623,752 on Jun 7, 2013 3:16 PM
|A former member||
THE REAL UNRELIABLE (!/?) NARRATOR’S ADVENTURE WITH KARMAZINOV (Chapter 3: The Sins of Others)
And now I suddenly met him at the crossroads. I knew him at once. He had been pointed out to me two or three days before when he drove past with the governor’s wife. He was a short, stiff-looking old man, though not over fifty-five, with a rather red little face, with thick grey locks of hair clustering under his chimney-pot hat, and curling round his clean little pink ears. His clean little face was not altogether handsome with its thin, long, crafty-looking lips, with its flesh nose, and its sharp, shrewd little eyes. He was dressed somewhat shabbily in a sort of cape such as would be worn in Switzerland or North Italy at that time of the year. But, at any rate, all the minor details of his costume, the little studs, and collar, the buttons, the tortoise-shell lorgnette on a narrow black ribbon, the signet-ring, were all such as are worn by persons of the most irreproachable good form. I am certain that in summer he must have worn light prunella shoes with mother-of-pearl buttons at the side. When we met he was standing still at the turning and looking about him, attentively. Noticing that I was looking at him with interest, he asked me in a sugary, though rather shrill voice:
“Allow me to ask, which is my nearest way to Bykovy Street?”
“To Bykovy Street? Oh, that’s here, close by,” I cried in great excitement. “Straight on along this street and the second turning to the left.”
“Very much obliged to you.”
A curse on that minute! I fancy I was shy, and looked cringing. He instantly noticed all that, and of course realised it all at once; that is, that I had read him and revered him from a child, and that I was shy and looked at him cringingly. He smiled, nodded again, and walked on as I had directed him. I don’t know why I turned back to follow him; I don’t know why I ran for ten paces beside him. He suddenly stood still again.
“And could you tell me where is the nearest cab-stand?” he shouted out to me again.
It was a horrid shout! A horrid voice!
“A cab-stand? The nearest cab-stand is... by the Catherdral; there are always cabs standing there,” and I almost turned to run for a cab for him. I almost believe that that was what he expected me to do. Of course I checked myself at once, and stood still, but he had noticed my movement and was still watching me with the same horrid smile. Then something happened which I shall never forget.
He suddenly dropped a tiny bag, which he was holding in his left hand; though indeed it was not a bag, but rather a little box, or more probably some part of a pocket-book, or to be more accurate a little reticule, rather like an old-fashioned lady’s reticule, though I really don’t know what it was. I only know that I flew to pick it up. I am convinced that I did not really pick it up , but my first motion was unmistakable. I could not conceal it, and, like a fool, I turned crimson. The cunning fellow gat once got all that could be got out of the circumstance.
“Don’t trouble, I’ll pick it up,” he pronounced charmingly; that is, when he was quite sure that I was not going to pick up the reticule, he picked it up as though forestalling me, nodded once more, and went his way, leaving me to look like a fool. It was as good as though I had picked it up myself. For five minutes I considered myself utterly disgraced for ever, but as I reached Stepan Trofimovitch’s house I suddenly burst out laughing; the meeting struck me as so amusing that I immediately resolved to entertain Stepan Trofimovitch with an account of it, and even to act the whole scene to him.
|A former member||
“The narrator, what is his role?” poses our Regisky.
Hmmm, a whole discussion of the unreliable narrator ensued. Having only read part way of Chapter 3 in Part One (Forgive me Father, for I have sinned), I can only respond with much uncertainty and probably with not much reliability the following:
So far, it strikes me that the narrator seems to be a good “people-reader.” True, it is his perspective, through his lens we see. Yes, I think he is inconsistent at times, but at least up till this point, it makes him human to me. Take for instance his adventure with Karmazinov: how like an adoring fan, his younger self becomes possessed, serf-like to the Great K. Yet he hates himself for doing it (see Prelude) cos his older self no longer worships K. He shows great sensitivity to reading K’s body language and expressions—great insight, I think. I think the prelude before this adventure is important. For me, it seems that this prelude sets up the adventure to show that the narrator ain’t a fool (as he says) or stupid as suggested in yesterday’s discussion. Perhaps, this lil’ adventure is all in his head, is embellished, a lie—for me, I think at least, in this instance, that isn’t pertinent. I think it is like a story (parable?) to “entertain” us but to explain the Prelude (ha ha, now the prelude ain’t just a prelude, is it? I think to meself)
The other thought that came to the cell of my mind today is this: this narrator reminds me of the the Wise Fool. Sure at the same time, I think maybe we are meant to laugh at him also cos he too commits "The Sins of Others"-- vanity-self-display narcissism (yes the redundancy is warranted) Diva-like theatrics of the artist.
I guess I think there is more here than meets the eye, this guy, and what he reveals and will reveal. But, I could be proved the fool in thinking so for now--afterall I'm only partway through Chapter 3 of Part One--but there you go, folks.
Edited by User 30,623,752 on Jun 7, 2013 9:05 PM
Feverishly I work day and night to respond. Two places of especially interesting study are:
1.The Giants of Russian Literature:Turgenev,Dostoevsky,Tolstoy,Chekhov (Liza Knapp)
This sample of audio lessons is FANTASTICSKI!
2."The Voices of Legion: The Narrator of The Possessed.
|A former member||
Comrades!Thank you, Regi, for sharing.
|A former member||
MYSTERIES mysteries SECRETS secrets [RUMOURS]
TRUTH TRUTHS truth truths
Spectator Spy obscure observe listen SHOUT RING SLANDER! [beautiful fibs!]
TRUTH!TRUTHS!! truth truths
“Mysteries, secrets! Where have all these mysteries and secrets among us sprung from?" (Stepan Trofimovitch, Part One, Chapter 3)
“But I am a mother and you are an impartial spectator, and therefore qualified with your intelligence to form a more impartial opinion. I implore you, in fact' (yes, that word, 'implore' was uttered!), 'to tell me the whole truth, without mincing matters. ” (Varvara to Liputin, Part One, Chapter 3)
Verbal duel between Engineer vs Liputin re. Nikolay (Spectator: Stepan):
Stepan: “Is that true?”
Alexey Nilitch (engineer): I should prefer not to speak of it. I wish to contest your right to do this, Liputin. You’ve no right to drag me into this. I did not give my whole opnion at all. Though I knew Nikolay Stavrogin in Petersburg that was long ago, and though I’ve met him since I know him very little. I beg you to leave me out and ...All this is something like scandal.
Liputin: A scandal-monger! Why not say a spy while you’re about it? It’s all very well for you, Alexey Nilitch, to criticise when you stand aloof from everything...Do you mind inquiring about that of Alexey Nilitch, who has just called me a spy? I'm a spy, yet I don’t know, but Alexey Nilitch knows all the ins and outs of it, and holds his tongue.”
(Part One, Chapter 3)
Liputin: ...You talk of slander, but I'm not crying this aloud though the whole town is ringing with it; I only listen and assent. That's not prohibited."(Part One, Chapter 3)
Encounter between Stepan & Lizaveta
Lizaveta: “But what beautiful fibs he used to tell me then, Mavriky Nikolaevitch! They were better than the truth.” (Part One, Chapter 3)
|A former member||
OF PORTRAITS & DAGGERS, OF STONE AS BIG AS A HOUSE AS BIG AS A MOUNTAIN:
Lizaveta & Stepan [Narrator present] - (Part 1, Chp 3)
“Was I such a pretty child? Can that really have been my face?”
She stood up, and with the portrait in her hand looked in the looking-glass.
“Make haste, take it!” she cried, giving back the portrait. “Don’t hang it up now, afterwards. I don’t want to look at it.”
She sat down on the sofa again. “One life is over and another is begun, then that one is over—a third begins, and so on, endlessly. All the ends are snipped off as it were with scissors. See what stale things I'm telling you. Yet how much truth there is in them!”
“And why have you hung my portrait under those daggers? And why have you got so many daggers and sabres?"
Alexey Nilitch Kirillov (The Engineer) & Narrator (Part 1, Chp 3)
“Yes, and that's what Liputin really is—he's a chaos. He was lying this morning when he said you were writing something, wasn't he?
"Why should he?" he said, scowling again and staring at the floor.
I apologised, and began assuring him that I was not inquisitive. He flushed.
"He told the truth; I am writing. Only that's no matter."
We were silent for a minute. He suddenly smiled with the childlike smile I had noticed that morning.
"He invented that about heads himself out of a book, and told me first himself, and understands badly. But I only seek the causes why men dare not kill themselves; that's all. And it's all no matter."
"How do you mean they don't dare? Are there so few suicides?"
"Do you really think so?"
He made no answer, got up, and began walking to and fro lost in thought.
"What is it restrains people from suicide, do you think?" I asked.
He looked at me absent-mindedly, as though trying to remember what we were talking about.
"I... I don't know much yet.... Two prejudices restrain them, two things; only two, one very little, the other very big.”
“one very little, the other very big."
"What is the little thing?"
"Pain? Can that be of importance at such a moment?"
"Of the greatest. There are two sorts: those who kill themselves either from great sorrow or from spite, or being mad, or no matter what... they do it suddenly. They think little about the pain, but kill themselves suddenly. But some do it from reason—they think a great deal."
"Why, are there people who do it from reason?"
"Very many. If it were not for superstition there would be more, very many, all."
He did not answer.
"But aren't there means of dying without pain?"
"Imagine"—he stopped before me—"imagine a stone as big as a great house; it hangs and you are under it; if it falls on you, on your head, will it hurt you?"
"A stone as big as a house? Of course it would be fearful."
"I speak not of the fear. Will it hurt?"
"A stone as big as a mountain, weighing millions of tons? Of course it wouldn't hurt."
"But really stand there and while it hangs you will fear very much that it will hurt[…]”
“You mean punishment?"
"That's no matter. The other world; only the other world."
"Are there no atheists, such as don't believe in the other world at all?"
Again he did not answer.
"You judge from yourself, perhaps."
"Every one cannot judge except from himself," he said, reddening. "There will be full freedom when it will be just the same to live or not to live. That's the goal for all."
"The goal? But perhaps no one will care to live then?"
"No one," he pronounced with decision.
"Man fears death because he loves life. That's how I understand it," I observed, "and that's determined by nature."
"That's abject; and that's where the deception comes in." His eyes flashed. "Life is pain, life is terror, and man is unhappy. Now all is pain and terror. Now man loves life, because he loves pain and terror, and so they have done according. Life is given now for pain and terror, and that's the deception. Now man is not yet what he will be. There will be a new man, happy and proud. For whom it will be the same to live or not to live, he will be the new man[…]”
“will be transformed and thoughts and all feelings. What do you think: will man be changed physically then?"
"If it will be just the same living or not living, all will kill themselves, and perhaps that's what the change will be?"
"That's no matter. They will kill deception. Every one who wants the supreme freedom must dare to kill himself. He who dares to kill himself has found out the secret of the deception. There is no freedom beyond; that is all, and there is nothing beyond. He who dares kill himself is God. Now every one can do so that there shall be no God and shall be nothing. But no one has once done it yet."
"There have been millions of suicides."
"But always not for that; always with terror and not for that object. Not to kill fear. He who kills himself only to kill fear will become a god at once.”
|A former member||
MORE THOUGHTS ON THE NARRATOR:
Narrator says of Alexey Nilitch Kirillov (The Engineer) – (Part 1, Chp 3)
“The thought crossed my mind that Liputin had brought this Alexey Nilitch to us with the simple object of drawing him into a conversation through a third person for purposes of his own—his favourite manœuvre.
When I read this, the thought crossed my mind that this could be a possible angle on the narrator, hmmm.
Engineer and Narrator (Part 1, Chp 3):
“you are like my brother, very much, extremely," he added, flushing. "He has been dead seven years. He was older, very, very much."
"I suppose he had a great influence on your way of thinking?"
"N-no. He said little; he said nothing. I'll give your note.”
I found this funny, hysterically funny -- yet another angle of the narrator, I wonder, hmmm.