Five reasons to read Dostoevsky today

Dostoevsky is an excess. His books are full of neurosis, they are marked by the wildest feelings and it would seem that his characters, his murderers of usurers, his kind prostitutes and his angelic victims, rather than suffer, enjoy an unhealthy pleasure while they fall into degradation. Certain. More than one reader can bother those tortured creatures of the teacher from Petersburg, that misery as exhibitionistic as it is shameful. And yet & mldr; it is very likely that no one has come so close and so directly to the distressing anxiety of the human psyche as he. When it is 200 years since his birth and the memory of the author is more alive than ever in his native country – perhaps we would not have understood Russian nature without Dostoevsky – and our bookstores are full of news – including studies of his work, biographies, and careful reissues, especially those of the publishing house. Alba- well it is to explain why we need Dostoevsky today, as a good classic that he is.

Because it’s like that drunk friend you always walk home with

Like the stories of that guy loaded with drinks who harasses you at the bar counter determined to tell you his hardships, crying over you, Dostoevsky’s novels may not have overcome well throughout a disbelieving 20th century and the coda of the 21st their excessive sentimentality. But as soon as we enter his world and those phases of infatuation, hatred and love take place that Professor Tamara Djermanovic talks about, a good connoisseur of the author, and that all Dostoevsky’s readers have experienced, the due distance is then established for appreciate another of the great qualities of the author: “The idea that our psychology determines our destiny before social circumstances& rdquor; and the consideration that at will it is possible to rise from a miserable life. For the author and translator of the Russian Marta Rebón: “Dostoevsky is still alive because he addressed ethical and moral dilemmas that continue to appeal to us today, he dealt with universal problems such as gambling, fanaticism and poverty and was an insightful observer of the human condition & rdquor ;. And in these times of climatic emergency “his denunciation of unbridled materialism is more relevant today than ever & rdquor ;. So the drunkard ends up being lucid.

Because when he talks about suffering he knows what he is talking about

The son of a brutal father who physically abused him, Dostoevsky felt a hidden joy when a servant decided to kill the abuser and at the same time a Dostoevsky upset by feeling that happiness. So it is not surprising that ‘The Brothers Karamazov’, his most ambitious and comprehensive work, revolves around the death of a tyrannical patriarch. It is not the only one of its traits that passed to its characters: Prince Mishkin, protagonist of ‘The Idiot’, suffered from epilepsy like its creator and the story of the self-destructive player of his homonymous novel madly in love with a woman who despises him is the of the writer himself. What’s more any of the excesses committed in his books were widely surpassed by the author, to whom an edict of the tsar spared his life when he was at the foot of the firing squad and lived a whole decade in a labor camp in Siberia.

Because he was the favorite author of the Beat Generation and Coetzee

Naturally, those who understood it best in the 20th century were those authors on the fringes who made up the beat generation. Jack Kerouac, who read it very carefully, affectionately called him ‘Dusty’ and his novel ‘The underground’ is directly influenced by ‘The memories of the subsoil’. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg also appreciated it and that influence was transferred directly by philosophical way until the Parisian May of 68, underpinning the keys to existentialism. And it is that “If God does not exist, everything is allowed & rdquor ;, as one of the Karamazov brothers assures, is an idea that at that time was given a lot of thought. Some years later, in the confines of Africa, an author like JM Coetzee was carried away by the fascination of human misery in his novel ‘The Master of Saint Petersburg’, in which, as Marta Rebón recalls, “he created a version Dostoevsky’s fiction and establishes a dialogue with his novel ‘The Demons’ & rdquor ;. It was not the only incursion of the South African nobel: in ‘Diary of a bad year’, an essay-like book analyzes ‘The Karamázov brothers’.

Because he has been the teacher of Rafael Chirbes

You only have to read the impressive diaries of the Valencian author to realize how very present Dostoevsky is: “We have destroyed ourselves. We have discovered that there are culprits and they are not punished. Furthermore, we do not even have the hope that they will be punished in some place or time of infinity & rdquor; With those high doses of self-flagellation and rage that his novels have, Chirbes is possibly one of the few Spanish writers who has allowed himself to be carried away by the dark side of Russian. Paul Viejo, responsible for the edition of the ‘Diary of a writer’ of Foam Pages, maintains that there are very few current writers who have followed this literary path. “In general in the letters of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Chekhov has been used much more, with his great dedication to details, silences and subtlety, Dostoevsky has not been such a busy road & rdquor ;.

However, there is a current writer, particularly concerned about the roots of evil, who has had the Russian in his head. It is the Asturian Ricardo Menéndez Salmón who values ​​his work as “a quixotic endeavor always one step from excess, but also of enormous detail and emotion, for locating that miserable and at the same time heroic man in the correspondence of a just balance & rdquor ;.

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Because despite everything, it is still behind the fictions that we consume

Perhaps contemporary literature has departed from the author, but Dostoevsky’s footprint is perfectly detectable in a large part of the television series we go to. Why who is Walter White if not that contradictory hero, capable of the worst without ever losing a deep understanding and even empathy in the face of the viewer. ‘Breaking Bad’, possibly the greatest television achievement of the new era of series, is pure Dostoevsky. In that league would also be some other jewels such as the heartbreaking series ‘The Leftovers’ and the miniseries ‘The Virtues’, explorations of suffering that use a lot of the author’s narrative resources. Without forgetting that ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘The Karamázov Brothers’ -which both revolve around a crime- can also be perfectly read as detective novels, perhaps the literary but also audiovisual genre that has found a wider audience in the XXI century. A genre that portrays us.

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