Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Winter Notes on Summer Impressions - post II

Dostoevsky finally starts to put down some thoughts on Paris and London. The British come out of it better than the French with their character generally liked by the Russian author.

But when he enters into a crowded street at night and is surrounded by drunks and the excesses that the British can be famous for he is horrified and scuttles back to safety.

However there is a sense of more general despair about the French with some genuine anger emerging. Dostoevsky believes in a brotherhood of man as a philosophy and believes that on the surface the French, with their proclaimed Liberty, equality and freedom would be in a good position to provide it.

What angers Dostoevsky most is the French character that is bourgeoisie to the extent that neither socialism nor a sense of Brotherhood could take route. Add to that the mistrust that the French show of foreigners, spying on them in trains and getting hotels to note down all particulars, and you have an experience that seems to leave the Russian author cold.

Mind you as he points out repeatedly many other compatriots enjoy it so there will never be a shortage of Russians in Paris.

More tomorrow…

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