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Belfast Stories: Creative explosions in a city in flux. The novel is remarkable for its descriptions of the psychological rather than just material effects of poverty. Dostoyevsky transformed the techniques Nikolay Gogol used in The Overcoat , the celebrated story of a poor copying clerk. The hero of this novella, Golyadkin, begets a double of himself, who mocks him and usurps his place. Always prone to nervous illness, Dostoyevsky suffered from depression. In Dostoyevsky began to participate in the Petrashevsky Circle, a group of intellectuals who discussed utopian socialism.
He eventually joined a related, secret group devoted to revolution and illegal propaganda. It appears that Dostoyevsky did not sympathize as others did with egalitarian communism and terrorism but was motivated by his strong disapproval of serfdom. On April 23, , he and the other members of the Petrashevsky Circle were arrested. Dostoyevsky spent eight months in prison until, on December 22, the prisoners were led without warning to the Semyonovsky Square.
There a sentence of death by firing squad was pronounced, last rites were offered, and three prisoners were led out to be shot first. At the last possible moment, the guns were lowered and a messenger arrived with the information that the tsar had deigned to spare their lives. The mock-execution ceremony was in fact part of the punishment. One of the prisoners went permanently insane on the spot; another went on to write Crime and Punishment.
Dostoyevsky passed several minutes in the full conviction that he was about to die, and in his novels characters repeatedly imagine the state of mind of a man approaching execution. The hero of The Idiot , Prince Myshkin, offers several extended descriptions of this sort, which readers knew carried special authority because the author of the novel had gone through the terrible experience.
The mock execution led Dostoyevsky to appreciate the very process of life as an incomparable gift and, in contrast to the prevailing determinist and materialist thinking of the intelligentsia, to value freedom, integrity , and individual responsibility all the more strongly. Instead of being executed, Dostoyevsky was sentenced to four years in a Siberian prison labour camp, to be followed by an indefinite term as a soldier.
After his return to Russia 10 years later, he wrote a novel based on his prison camp experiences, Zapiski iz myortvogo doma —62; The House of the Dead.
Gone was the tinge of Romanticism and dreaminess present in his early fiction. Above all, The House of the Dead illustrates that, more than anything else, it is the need for individual freedom that makes us human. This conviction was to bring Dostoyevsky into direct conflict with the radical determinists and socialists of the intelligentsia. He rejected the condescending attitude of intellectuals, who wanted to impose their political ideas on society, and came to believe in the dignity and fundamental goodness of common people. Dostoyevsky also became deeply attached to Russian Orthodoxy, as the religion of the common people, although his faith was always at war with his skepticism.
Dostoyevsky suffered his first attacks of epilepsy while in prison. No less than his accounts of being led to execution, his descriptions of epileptic seizures especially in The Idiot reveal the heights and depths of the human soul. As Dostoyevsky and his hero Myshkin experience it, the moment just before an attack grants the sufferer a strong sensation of perfect harmony and of overcoming time.
In Dostoyevsky married a consumptive widow, Mariya Dmitriyevna Isayeva she died seven years later ; the unhappy marriage began with her witnessing one of his seizures on their honeymoon. Upon his return to Russia, Dostoyevsky plunged into literary activity. After first trying to maintain a middle-of-the-road position, Dostoyevsky began to attack the radicals, who virtually defined the Russian intelligentsia. Dostoyevsky was repulsed by their materialism , their utilitarian morality , their reduction of art to propaganda, and, above all, their denial of individual freedom and responsibility.
For the remainder of his life, he maintained a deep sense of the danger of radical ideas, and so his post-Siberian works came to be resented by the Bolsheviks and held in suspicion by the Soviet regime. In the first part of Zapiski iz podpolya ; Notes from the Underground an unnamed first-person narrator delivers a brilliant attack on a set of beliefs shared by liberals and radicals: that it is possible to discover the laws of individual psychology , that human beings consequently have no free choice, that history is governed by laws, and that it is possible to design a utopian society based on the laws of society and human nature.
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Even if such a society could be built, the underground man argues, people would hate it just because it denied them caprice and defined them as utterly predictable. For several reasons, Dostoyevsky spent much of the s in western Europe: he wanted to see the society that he both admired for its culture and deplored for its materialism, he was hoping to resume an affair with the minor author Appolinariya Suslova, he was escaping his creditors in Russia, and he was disastrously attracted to gambling.
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With less than a month remaining, Dostoyevsky hired a stenographer and dictated his novel Igrok ; The Gambler —based on his relations with Suslova and the psychology of compulsive gambling—which he finished just on time. A few months later he married the stenographer, Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina. She at last put his life and finances in order and created stable conditions for his work and new family. They had four children, of whom two survived to adulthood. Written at the same time as The Gambler , Prestupleniye i nakazaniye ; Crime and Punishment describes a young intellectual , Raskolnikov, willing to gamble on ideas.
He decides to solve all his problems at a stroke by murdering an old pawnbroker woman. Contradictory motives and theories all draw him to the crime. Utilitarian morality suggests that killing her is a positive good because her money could be used to help many others. On the other hand, Raskolnikov reasons that belief in good and evil is itself sheer prejudice , a mere relic of religion, and that, morally speaking, there is no such thing as crime. Nevertheless, Raskolnikov, despite his denial of morality, sympathizes with the unfortunate and so wants to kill the pawnbroker just because she is an oppressor of the weak.
His most famous theory justifying murder divides the world into extraordinary people, such as Solon, Caesar, and Napoleon, and ordinary people, who simply serve to propagate the species. Meanwhile, Raskolnikov tries to discover the real motive for his crime but never arrives at a single answer.
Crime and Punishment also offers remarkable psychological portraits of a drunkard, Marmeladov, and of a vicious amoralist haunted by hallucinations, Svidrigailov. Quite deliberately, Dostoyevsky made the heroine of the story, Sonya Marmeladova, an unrealistic symbol of pure Christian goodness. Having become a prostitute to support her family, she later persuades Raskolnikov to confess and then follows him to Siberia.
Critical opinion is divided over whether the epilogue is artistically successful. If he could succeed, Dostoyevsky believed, he would show that Christ-like goodness is indeed possible; and so the very writing of the work became an attempt at what might be called a novelistic proof of Christianity. Ippolit, a spiteful young man dying of consumption , offers brilliant meditations on art, on death, on the meaninglessness of dumb brutish nature, and on happiness, which, to him, is a matter of the very process of living. I will keep this one loaded on my kindle to revisit. Recommended for libraries building new adult collections.
Being stuck in the cabin over the winter gives both men a chance to get their lives in order. Their new starts spark a relationship between them, but nothing good comes cheap. Despite the complications, Hunter wants more, but Christian is resistant to making that commitment. But for two men with very dark pasts, relying on each other might be easier said than done.
In other words, this was MY kind of book and I loved every minute of it. Mark of Cain from Samhain. When a man is consumed by hatred, is there anything left to love? After a tough day of counseling sessions, Anglican priest Mark Webber is looking forward to a relaxing dinner at a local restaurant. Thrown together, Mark and Lucas find common ground in the struggle to help a young gay man come to terms with his sexuality—and the fight against homophobic townsfolk.
As attraction grows, the past is the last stumbling block between them and a future filled with hope. Buy the book! Condit and Friends. Available at Samhain , Amazon , and wherever else fine books are sold. Riding Tall from Dreamspinner Press. Joe Sutton and Scott Mackenzie have ridden off into the sunset, but they wake to the cruel light of reality. Joe loves his family, even with the addition of three neighbors orphaned by a house fire. He loves the land that has supported them for generations.
Joe is no longer the man he knew. Finding the balance between give and take might leave them time for happily ever after. The Fall from Dreamspinner Press. Every relationship leaves something behind. Dumped by his sugar daddy, part-time model Scott Mackenzie somehow ends up owning an abandoned church in rural Ontario. But Mackenzie is hard to ignore. The witty dialogue I associate with this author was there. The loved the characters.
Sexy and fun read that I would highly recommend. The Fall by Kate Sherwood is that story for me. Audiobook available at Audible. Things were confusing enough before the revolution, when Adam Challoner was a rich idealist and Remy Stone a jaded prostitute. After months of fighting, Adam has risen to become the leader of the continent. But without a fight, without a purpose, Remy scrambles to find his place in the freedom of the postrevolution world.
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In his new role as bodyguard, Remy keeps his distance, but neither he nor Adam can ignore the connection between them. For them to be together, Remy needs to free himself from the damage inflicted by his past, and Adam has to fight through the restrictions of his present. But as the political situation deteriorates, Adam and Remy once again find themselves fighting for their lives—and for each other. Available wherever you buy e-books, including Dreamspinner Press , Amazon. Living with that knowledge is uncomfortable to say the least.
When Adam meets Remy Stone, his discomfort becomes intolerable. Unforeseen circumstances force them apart, then throw them back together. And just as they discover new reasons to live, they realize some things are worth dying for. Poor Little Rich Boy. Nick Colton was a spoiled rich kid when he ran away from Seattle, leaving his best friend and lover Alex Diaz behind. And the more time they spend together, the more Alex realizes that his own attraction to Nick is far from resolved.
Nick is bent on revenge, Alex is trying to maintain his straight and conservative lifestyle, but neither of them can forget what they used to have and what they might, someday, be able to have again. Available from Amazon , Smashwords , and wherever else fine Romances are sold. Beneath the Surface from Dreamspinner Press. He just never expected the problem to be Caleb Sinclair, the passionate but introverted artisan carpenter who lives next to the proposed quarry site.