Saturday, December 03, 2005

Dostoevsky




So, having a sore throat, and not wanting to go to bed even though it's 4 in the morning, I made some Chai tea with half a lemon and lots of honey, and sat down with my new book on Dostoevsky.

Dostoyevsky's life was wrought with terrible things all around him, like a young girl of 9, a playmate of Dostoevsky, being raped and left to die; or the death of his mother at 15, etc.
Nevertheless, through 'home-schooling' him and his brother, "Both parents instilled on the children a love of stories, art, and literature."; and his father taught him latin and french. "Of his early childhood Dostoevsky said 'We in our family have known the Gospel almost since earliest childhood'" (thanks to my parents I can say the same thing)

Apparently he studied architecture at a military engineering school, though his real interest was in literature: "The work at the academy that most suited him was training to be a draughtsman - though his designs were sometimes more inventive then practical." (hmm, sound familiar?) Though his designs were often too impractical, "he never lost interest in architecture: his later notebooks contain sketches that are evident of his talent"

"Maths was not his strength, but he showed an active interest in religion lectures, often staying behind to talk with the tutor, a priest." (wow, that's me in the last few years too)

"Perhaps his religious studies and observances helped him keep his sense of identity as a spiritual being and an artist in a military world with which he did not identify, full of uniformity, engineering, and mathematics."

Elsewhere his struggles with pride and shame in failing part of school and blaming it on the teachers or in the tension between studying something practical and wanting to pursue arts really resonate with me. There is nothing new under the sun.

2 Comments:

Blogger Amber said...

It's strange how often great suffering is accompanied by a deep intellect and hightened insight to the human condition...but then again, when you think about what Ecclesiastes has to say, maybe not that strange.

12/03/2005 8:12 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

I read the first quote from the book and immediately thought, "Woah! That's Stephen. He's going to get some big kicks out of this one!" =)

Hope you feel better soon!

12/05/2005 8:03 AM  

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