Skip to content

Tag Archives: Russia

Hypertrophy of the State with Licentious Anarchy

Two contradictory principles lay at the foundation of the structure of the Russian soul, the one a natural, Dionysian, elemental paganism and the other ascetic monastic Orthodoxy. The mutually contradictory properties of the Russian people may be set out thus: despotism, the hypertrophy of the State, and on the other hand anarchism and license: cruelty, […]

The Snake In Lace-up Shoes and Cap

The old lady, silly twit, listens with her mouth open and smiles dreamily, looking at me. She shouldn’t stare at me. I stick out my tongue. Maryvanna, shutting her eyes in shame, whispers hatefully, “Hideous creature!” That night she’ll read her uncle’s poetry to me again: Nanny, who screamed so loudly outside, Flashing past the […]

Only Going to a Most Precious Graveyard

I want to travel in Europe, Alyosha, I shall set off from here. And yet I know that I am only going to a graveyard, but it’s a most precious graveyard, that’s what it is! Precious are the dead that lie there, every stone over them speaks of such burning life in the past, of […]

The Hauteur of an Ordinary Man

You say that I have no originality. Now mark this, prince—there is nothing so offensive to a man of our time and race than to be told that he is wanting in originality, that he is weak in character, has no particular talent, and is, in short, an ordinary person. You have not even done […]

Zossima Instructs a Penitent

Above all, avoid falsehood, every kind of falsehood, especially falseness to yourself. Watch over your own deceitfulness and look into it every hour, every minute. Avoid being scornful, both to others and to yourself. What seems to you bad within you will grow purer from the very fact of your observing it in yourself. Avoid […]

But Let’s Not Grade the Precipices

I knew a young lady of the last “romantic” generation who after some years of an enigmatic passion for a gentleman, whom she might quite easily have married at any moment, invented insuperable obstacles to their union, and ended by throwing herself one stormy night into a rather deep and rapid river from a high […]

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is Dead

The writer Alexandr Solzhenitsyn died yesterday. In his youth, he was imprisoned for eight years in Stalin’s gulag–prison camps, about which he wrote extensively and beautifully, with dry and subtle humor–for writing some “disrespectful remarks about Stalin” in personal letters to a friend. The magnitude of this injustice leaves a sour taste in my mouth. […]