Past in Perspective – The Nation

Posted: January 9, 2021 at 3:52 am

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People speak sometimes about the bestial

cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and

offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so

cruel as a man, so artfully, so

artistically cruel.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born on November 11, 1821, in Moscow, Russia. Hes among the Russian writers who are called the Russian Masters by critics and bibliophiles alike. What makes Dostoyevsky unique is the fact that when the world was in the grips of Enlightenment that was betting all its chips on rationality, he was one of the first few modern thinkers who were suspicious of the message of the enlightened philosophes.

Pankaj Mishra argues, Dostoevsky defined a style of thought that was later elaborated by Nietzsche, Freud, Max Weber and others who mounted a full-blown intellectual revolt against the oppressive certainties of rationalist ideologies, whether left, right or centre.

The political message and prophecies in his masterpiece, Crime and Punishment, are more relevant today than ever. For instance, Luzhin, the wealthy businessman and the most negative character of the novel represents liberalism. We find him arguing the case for what would now be called trickle-down economics in the novel.

Past in Perspective - The Nation

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January 9th, 2021 at 3:52 am

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