Page 12 of 14 FirstFirst ... 27891011121314 LastLast
Results 166 to 180 of 204

Thread: Psycho Killer, The Russian Edition

  1. #166
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    871
    Do bear in mind that Russian classicists were highly mindful of current events in their time. It comes with the territory as so many were reform minded and it often was perceived to be a threat to the powers that be. Ditto today.

    Nothing new under the sun.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  2. #167
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    871

    Confession Is Good For the Soul (or is it?)

    Previously the landlady shouted "is there no justice on earth? We will see whether there is justice!" This shouting, this anxiety, this turmoil is all a set up for a truly agonizing chapter that is to follow.

    Rascal leaves and compels Sonia to meet with him. Earlier he had told her he would reveal who killed Lizaveta.


    Ch 4 ~ Sonia knows that Ras took her out of a tight spot by speaking out against Luzhin and feels she is in her debt to him.
    This episode is intense in that you wonder ~ will he or won't he confess? Dostoyevsky's writing technique is so brilliant in that the intensity really keeps you glued to the narrative.

    What's the matter? She asks. Ras' initial reply is to ask for forgiveness. Sonia asks for him to speak up - 'what do you want from me?'

    Ras' mind is so tortured. He wants to confess but finds it very difficult to do so. After a long while he manages to say that Lizaveta was killed accidentally. Finally Sonia gets the hint - "He is a murderer!" He cannot come up with any real reason why he committed the atrocity. Not for money. Not to secure a better future for him mom and sis. Not out of any real spite. "It was something else". He admits to weakness and cowardice finally saying "I wanted to become a Napoleon". This may have a different meaning today than it did in that era. But from my past readings (again going back 50+ years), the Little Colonel was not viewed as one trying to conquer lands as did Hitler. Today, he is viewed as an overly ambitious and unwise conqueror. Back then he was viewed as someone trying to re-make the world in his own image. Indeed, this is how it appears for Ras as well:

    "... power is only vouchsafed to the man who dares to stoop and pick it up. There is only one thing, one thing needful: one has only to dare! Then for the first time in my life an idea took shape in my mind which no one had ever thought of before me, no one! I saw clear as daylight how strange it is that not a single person living in this mad world has had the daring to go straight for it all and send it flying to the devil! I… I wanted to have the daring... and I killed her. I only wanted to have the daring, Sonia! That was the whole cause of it!”

    "I only killed a louse, a useless loathsome creature."

    Her answer: "“You turned away from God and God has smitten you, has given you over to the devil!”

    He goes on to say that the devil did lead him on and wondered if Napoleon would have done so as well. "I wanted to find out something else; it was something else led me on. I wanted to find out then and quickly whether I was a louse like everybody else or a man. Whether I can step over barriers or not, whether I dare stoop to pick up or not, whether I am a trembling creature or whether I have the right ... I murdered myself, not her! I crushed myself once for all, for ever…. But it was the devil that killed that old woman, not I.”

    Sonia then tries to convince him to fee up even if it means going to Siberia. She pledges to follow him there. Despite all that has been exchanged he tries to self justify: "What wrong have I done them? Why should I go to them? What should I say to them? That’s only a phantom…. They destroy men by millions themselves and look on it as a virtue."

    "We will bear our crosses". Sonia is obviously a devout Orthodox Christian who sincerely believes in redemption. After a few more words were exchanged, Lebezianikov appears.



    Throughout the story, Dostoyevsky's philosophy is clearly in evidence: atheism, nihilism, socialism, are not substitutes for Orthodox teaching and Christian salvation. That conforming to true Orthodox teaching by actually practicing what is taught in the Bible and living the virtuous life are what lead to fulfillment, order, and ultimately to human salvation.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  3. #168
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,042
    Nice rundown, Poppin. Speaking of turning away from god, I couldn’t help myself, I’m rereading Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood. It’s not exactly current events, but I just kept thinking about it while reading Crime and Punishment. Maybe it’s the salvation-through-suffering thread that runs through both books. Apologies for the diversion. Here’s my rundown of the main characters:

    Hazel Motes. We meet him on a train, returning from WWII —

    The army sent him halfway around the world and forgot him. He was wounded and they remembered him long enough to take the shrapnel out of his chest—they said they took it out but they never showed it to him and he felt it still in there, rusted, and poisoning him—and then they sent him to another desert and forgot him again. He had all the time he could want to study his soul in and assure himself that it was not there.
    Enoch Emery. A young, somewhat neurotic, man who tries to befriend Hazel and —

    looked like a friendly hound dog with light mange.
    Asa Hawks and his daughter Lily Sabbath. Street preachers. Asa is seemingly blind and Lily is definitely sin-curious. Asa tells Hazel —

    The blind man gave his edgy laugh. “Listen boy,” he said, “you can’t run away from Jesus. Jesus is a fact.”
    Leora Watts. Prostitute. Hazel visits her after reading this graffiti on the wall of the men’s room —

    Mrs. Leora Watts!
    60 Buckley Road
    The friendliest bed in town!
    Brother.
    Hazel was meant to be a preacher. It’s in his blood —

    He knew by the time he was twelve years old that he was going to be a preacher. Later he saw Jesus move from tree to tree in the back of his mind, a wild ragged figure motioning him to turn around and come off into the dark where he was not sure of his footing, where he might be walking on the water and not know it and then suddenly know it and drown.
    But Hazel has had a crisis of faith. The cab driver who takes him to Leora’s house assumes he’s a preacher by the way he’s dressed and asks him if he knows about Leora. Hazel replies —

    Haze put his head in at the window, knocking the hat accidentally straight again. He seemed to have knocked his face straight too for it became completely expressionless. “Listen,” he said, “get this: I don’t believe in anything.”
    He thinks he’s a nihilist.

    There ain’t too much new under the sun.

    I’ll see where it goes.
    Uhhhh...

  4. #169
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    871
    Darn, I was just looking at the notes I made prior to making that post above and forgot to include the following blurb:


    “Go at once, this very minute, stand at the cross-roads, bow down, first kiss the earth which you have defiled and then bow down to all the world and say to all men aloud, ‘I am a murderer!’ Then God will send you life again."


    She had said previously, "What would I be without God". Like Jesus who supposedly sacrificed himself for the good and salvation of humanity, Sonia will follow through on her pledge to sacrifice herself by following Ras to Siberia when he is punished by the authorities for his crime. In turning his back on God he has killed his soul. The only way to recover his life and spiritual salvation is to report his crime and to repent and to atone for his evil. His mind will always be tormented with guilt and he must be divinely reconciled or he will have no life whether on earth or in the afterlife. Sonia, like those who subscribe to Christian Orthodoxy, impart this teaching as Ras does not go to church and will not hear of this lesson anywhere else.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  5. #170
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    871
    Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood ~ I just may have to put this on my to do list.


    At one time this was not considered much of a story. But in recent years it has been praised, indeed highly praised. Hollywood never did care much for stories dealing with hardships returning veterans endured. Good to see that the reading public has attempted to come to terms with these problems. Maybe some day a movie will be made about this.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  6. #171
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    11,169
    Blog Entries
    2
    While we are at it, some confusion about names:Rascol or Rascal as Rascolnikov is ok. But Ras appears in the post as shortage for Raskolnikov but also for another name, Razumikin I think.

    And I always knew Hazel as a female name.
    "I seemed to have sensed also from an early age that some of my experiences as a reader would change me more as a person than would many an event in the world where I sat and read. "
    Gerald Murnane, Tamarisk Row

  7. #172
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,042
    Hah, indeed, it’s confusing. Hazel, I think, started as mostly a man’s name, but later morphed into mostly a lady’s name. There was a big ole fella named Hazel in Steinbeck's Cannery Row, which is from the same general time period.

    Wise Blood is a strange novel, but in a good sort of way. You might like it, Poppin. I sure did. I’m always a little reluctant to make a book recommendation because, well, one man’s cheese is another’s sour milk, eh? At any rate it’s a comic novel with a serious theme, where as Crime and Punishment is a serious novel with some comedic parts. As bounty pointed out earlier, if you apply a philosophy of relative reductive universality, all stories are related, some how, some way. So I guess I have to ask myself, did I find textual similarities in these books? Or did I find similarities because I knew both writers were devout Christians and neither wrote in a preachy way? If it was the second, I’m thinking that’s putting the horse before the cart. That’s bass-ackwards. That’s the scientific method in a bizarro-world. You know, rather than — ask a question, do some research, form a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, analyze the results, and form a conclusion; I’d be — forming a conclusion, and then doing all that other stuff to support my conclusion.

    Anyway, this time through Wise Blood I’m a little more tuned into Ms O’Connors humor. This book is hilarious. Enoch lives in a rented room much like Raskol’s, and here he is cleaning (and considering) some of his furnishings —

    It was a low round chair that bulged around the legs so that it seemed to be in the act of squatting. The gold began to appear with the first touch of water but it disappeared with the second and with a little more, the chair sat down as if this were the end of long years of inner struggle. Enoch didn’t know if it was for him or against him.
    Enoch continues tidying up and contemplates the artwork on the walls of his tiny apartment —

    …So before he tackled the washstand, he took care of the pictures in the room.

    These were three, one belonging to his landlady (who was almost totally blind but moved about by an acute sense of smell) and two of his own. Hers was a brown portrait of a moose standing in a small lake. The look of superiority on this animal’s face was so insufferable to Enoch that, if he hadn’t been afraid of him, he would have done something about it a long time ago. As it was, he couldn’t do anything in his room but what the smug face was watching, not shocked because nothing better could be expected and not amused because nothing was funny.
    O’Connor is good at free indirect discourse.
    Uhhhh...

  8. #173
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,042
    On the topic of books about soldiers returning from war, Poppin, have you read Nelson Algren’s Man With The Golden Arm? It’s from the same time period as Wise Blood, but is set in and around the Division-Street Polish community in Chicago where as Wise Blood is set in Tennessee. The title character is Francis Majcinek but he goes by Frankie Machine. Frankie is fresh back from WWII with a chunk of nazi shrapnel in his liver and a wicked addiction to morphine. He goes back dealing cards in an underground casino on Division Street, hence the nickname.

    You know, come to think of it, Frankie and Francis are also names that Americans apply to men and women.
    Uhhhh...

  9. #174
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    871
    Man With The Golden Arm


    Never read the book, darn it. But did watch the film noir movie with Frank Sinatra and beautiful Kim Novak. It came out about 1955 or thereabout. Was widely regarded, too, as it well deserved to be. I recall that there had been some controversy about it since it dealt with drug addiction - a real no no subject back then. Plus, Hollywood had a tendency to idealize American life. The movie showed how a poor dude from the Chicago South Side ghetto was terribly exploited by the war and not regarded as a self sacrifice hero the way he should have been. This would never have happened to a wealthy suburbanite and that was suggested by the movie. I should have read the book to see if this was the author's thematic intent.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  10. #175
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    871

    Katerina Ivanova

    pp 438-462,3 onto Part VI, Ch 1


    Rascal goes home and Sister says Dmitri Prokofitch & the cops are after him. Like the self sacrificing Sonia she also pledges to sacrifice for him.

    The narrative shifts to Katerina Ivanova who has gone crazy. She abuses her children and forces them to publicly sing/perform in order to generate farthings. Then she raves about how cruel life is by forcing her to descend from an aristocratic family into an impoverished one. Evidently, the story of descending from aristocracy was all made up. She even forced her kids to speak French in order to give the appearance of gentility. Then she rants about the Tsar as protector of the helpless (must have been really crazy to say that). An older gent gives her 3RR. Then she croaks.

    Svidrigailov enters the fray. He pledges to provide for the orphans. I was forced to wonder, if he had access to this money before, why didn't he just provide the means of this sustenance to the kids previously and attend to their mother's medical needs? Perhaps I read it and forgot the answer. Who knows.

    Then he goes to ask Rascal about the murdered landlady - was she a louse? Hmmm ~ does he know something about her unhappy fate and Ras possible role in it? Why did he use Ras' words when speaking to him??

    The scene shifts to Ras at home. A "fog" befalls him. One from which there is "no escape". He is fretting over Svidrigailov and what possible consequences his knowledge (if any) may have for him.

    Services are conducted for Katerina Ivanova.

    Nastasya again brings food for Ras (as always, the women self sacrifice for him). As a reader, I wonder~ why, indeed, are all these women sacrificing for him?

    Razmuhin asks him, "have you gone mad?" This over his mistreatment of his mom and sis. Mom goes ill. Then, Rascal cedes his sister to Razmuhin who had told him that the 'murderer' had confessed to the crime of croaking off the old landlady. To Raz, Rascal is "a political conspirator'.




    Dostoyevsky, an apologist for the Tsarist system, adherent of old Orthodoxy, and one who affirms/upholds the Russian state as if it was the New Jerusalem sure does a thorough job of illustrating that this is not Paradise. So many people are languishing in poverty. There is so much dissipation with all the drinking, brawling, argumentation, and dyspeptic clamoring among all the malcontents in the story. There are so many threats about calling the police, taking people to court, even calling upon the Tsar to render judgment and retribution among social contestants and all these disagreeable people.

    "All you need is fresh air" they say. But will fresh air (possibly symbolizing new social thoughts and ideologies) change the atmosphere, the socio-political milieu? We know that Dostoyevsky has already said that confession is good for the soul which is to insure a better after life. But heck, what about life in the here and now? For those who have read the Bible, they know that the expression "no justice, no peace" can be traced to it as per Isaiah 59:8. The author did not provide any actual practical preventive hints/methods/reforms as to how all this moral decay, all this anarchy could have been prevented in pre Bolshevik, Tsarist Russia.

    Anyways, the story then turns to the entrance of Porfiry who delights in a cigarette with Rascal.

    Onto Ch 2 in this part of the book ...
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  11. #176
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    871
    I believe it was Sancho who earlier on mentioned that there are considerable differences in the translations of Dostoyevsky's writings. Indeed, there are. Even the spelling of his name and that of many characters are different.

    In the episode that I just summarized above, there is a matter that may have some impact on the incident. This was re the landlady Amalia Ivanova Lippeweschel who hates Katerina so much and forces her to leave the tenancy. My understanding is that Lippeweschel used certain German idioms in her speech. That she spoke with a heavy German accent meaning that she was never fully acclimated into the Russian culture. You wonder what this mean? That Germans were an alien threat to Russia? That they represented Westernization and a materialist mentality that is a threat to Russian culture? Germans were either Lutherans or Catholics ~ were their religion something that could undermine the allegedly wholesome teachings and influence of the Orthodox church??? {Watch the movie Alexander Nevsky by Eisenstein (1938). It warned that Germans were an alien threat. Perhaps Dostoyevsky thought the same???}

    In the translation that I am reading online, the heavy German accent/idiom is not something the reader can ascertain. Perhaps in the translation you are using it may be. What does that symbolize to you?
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  12. #177
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    11,169
    Blog Entries
    2
    Which translation are you reading Poppins? I would like to have a look at this German as reproduced by Dostoyevsky.

    Maybe there was a certain ambivalence, because many Germans emigrated to Russia. One famous personage of German ascendance that comes to mind in the director Serjey Eisenstein.

    Note: Downloaded "Wise Blood" to read later.
    "I seemed to have sensed also from an early age that some of my experiences as a reader would change me more as a person than would many an event in the world where I sat and read. "
    Gerald Murnane, Tamarisk Row

  13. #178
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    871
    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    Which translation are you reading Poppins? I would like to have a look at this German as reproduced by Dostoyevsky.

    Maybe there was a certain ambivalence, because many Germans emigrated to Russia. One famous personage of German ascendance that comes to mind in the director Serjey Eisenstein.

    Note: Downloaded "Wise Blood" to read later.

    Garnett: https://archive.org/details/crimepunishment00dostuoft


    I looked back on some of the pages and see that there were some German references such as "Gott der Barmherizige". It just didn't danw on me that this was German, not Russian. Shows how ignorant I am!
    Last edited by hellsapoppin; 03-04-2024 at 10:49 AM.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  14. #179
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,042
    The translation I have (Pevear and Volokhonsky) rendered Amalia Ivanovna’s speech in a way a native English speaker would expect a native German speaker, with a strong accent, to speak. It added to the comedy of the chapter for me. I kept hearing Colonel Klink — “Hogan! Vee hass vays ov maykink you speak!”

    Here’s Amalia when Katerina calls her a slut:

    This was too much for Amalia Ivanovna, and she declared at once that her “fater aus Berlin vas fery, fery important mann and vent mitt both hands into the pockets and alvays made like that: poof! poof!” and for a more lifelike portrayal of her fater, Amalia Ivanovna jumped up from her chair, thrust both hands into her pockets, puffed out her cheeks, and began producing some sounds vaguely resembling “poof, poof with her mouth, to the accompaniment of loud guffaws from all the tenants, who, anticipating a skirmish, deliberately encouraged Amalia Ivanovna with their approval.
    There’s definitely bad blood between the two women. Both insist they have noble blood, but I doubt either does. Both are putting on airs and both know what the other is doing. It takes a BS-er to recognize BS-er. But the contract between liars is of course broken when they call each other out, hence the big hullabaloo.

    Speaking of blood, I hope you enjoy Wise Blood, Danik. One if the things I enjoyed about the book was the phonetic rendering of the speech of the characters. The book is set ten or twenty years before my time, but it is in the region of the country where I grew up, so those accents were familiar to me, they tend to mark the speaker’s social class and education. Anyway it was like putting on an old glove. I hope it doesn’t cause too much confusion.
    Uhhhh...

  15. #180
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    871

    Schiller

    Friedrich Schiller's name is invoked several times. He was a German Romanticist poet who idealized beauty. Evidently, he also wrote about crime and punishment.


    https://udpress.udel.edu/book-title/...of-punishment/


    I could not ascertain what the references in C & P meant. But perhaps these quotes may help:



    The rich become richer and the poor become poorer is a cry heard throughout the whole civilized world.

    Every true genius is bound to be naive.

    Who dares nothing, need hope for nothing.

    Happy he who learns to bear what he cannot change.

    Happy he who learns to bear what he cannot change.

    Full of wisdom are the ordinations of fate.




    Having seen these quotes (and a few more) I do believe that now I understand what Dostoyevsky was referring to by quoting Schiller.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

Similar Threads

  1. American Psycho - Too much?
    By TylerDurden in forum General Literature
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-14-2012, 09:38 AM
  2. First Edition or Fine Edition?
    By Climacus in forum General Literature
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-17-2011, 05:41 PM
  3. Have you read American Psycho?
    By Egil Skallagrim in forum General Literature
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-08-2006, 07:00 PM
  4. American Psycho
    By lebby64 in forum General Literature
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 07-26-2006, 01:40 PM
  5. American Psycho
    By Koa in forum General Literature
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 07-15-2005, 05:59 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •