Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Thursday, May 20, 2010

admonitory image

Via Margaret Soltan the story of a Russian controversy: images from the fiction of Dostoevsky in the Moscow subway. People seem to be particularly freaked out by the image above.

The Moscow Times story Margaret links to doesn't note it, but the guy with the pistol to his head is surely Svidrigailov, who kills himself near the end of Crime and Punishment after announcing that he is "going to America." Svidrigailov is Raskolnikov's doppelgänger, his evil twin, and illustrates the path Raskolnikov is headed down until his almost-too-late swerve towards Sonia, repentance, and Christianity. In short, he's a delightfully appropriate object lesson for Russians who have sold their souls to commerce and need to recover their spiritual inheritance. I vote to keep him.


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