Quote of the week:

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep."
- William Shakespeare.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Nasty Anecdote by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Another one of Dostoevsky´s amusing short stories, A nasty Anecdote, takes the reader to a particular night in the life of state councilor Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky. This is a man of good reputation, whose self image is that of a highly confident, educated and refined man, capable of showing noble feelings whenever necessary and, most important of all, more than adequate to keep up to the new “thoughts”.

After a brief rendezvous with a couple of colleagues—and after several glasses of champagne—he finds himself walking the streets of St. Petersburg, deeply lost into thought, when he suddenly finds out that one of his subordinates is celebrating his marriage.


Ivan Ilyich reckons that if he manages to win over the attendants and create a good enough impression, the word will spread out and eventually his popularity will allow him to become a great personage in the city´s social pyramid. It is due to his extreme naiveté when it comes to judging himself and his farfetched notion of reality that he dares enter the party, catalyzing a whole set of events that more than exceed his previous expectations.


One recurrent topic in Dostoevsky´s work is his indefatigable criticism of Nihilism; the way the “new movement” created nothing but disorder and mayhem in Russian society and how its followers where nothing but walking contradictions, inconsequential in their thinking, reasoning and way of living.


Nevertheless, in A Nasty Anecdote, the subject to Dostoevsky´s harsh microscope is now one of the members of the high class, whose exaggerated self confidence and distorted sense of reality lead him to believe that he will be immediately accepted and even worshiped by the new generation, but in the end, rather proves to be nothing but a fool who “can´t hold out” to the impending social changes.


Once again, we come upon a deftly created anecdote, whose style and swift pace keep you riveted all the way through it. The events and descriptions portrayed border on hilarity, making it a very unique experience that should definitely not be missed.

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