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The Smart-Ass Karamazov Brother

[ This entry originated » here. ]

» A Smart Motherfucker

I am a smart motherfucker myself .. without even trying to be. My dad told me at least a million times while I was growing up, "Dont be smart."

What he really meant was, "Dont be a smart-ass."

I could definitely be a smart ass. (Because I am so smart.) No doubt about it. Being a smart-ass is part of what got me into trouble with the captain.

Because I am not afraid to toe-up with authority figures when they are fucking up. Particularly when their fucking up is affecting me or mine.

Or did he really not want me to be smart?

My dad was smart, but not educated. My mom told me, "I married your father because he was smart and because he had good teeth."

» Dad vs Fyodor Karamazov

I can confirm that he was smart, but only in a Fyodor Karamazov sort-of-way.

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Rad note » this entry originated from another page. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate page, which lets me focus on and reference more easily the concepts under discussion here.

At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I have included a link that will return you to the exact place from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...

» Reading Colors Writing (Influences)

You might expect with Joseph Frank, after having spent so much time reading after Dostoevsky, that HIS OWN writing might take on the characteristics of Dostoevsky, no?

I mean, how could he not? [ not be influenced ]

I know with myself, how I catch myself adapting (subconsciously) my style to that of the author/writer who I am currently reading. So I cant imagine Joseph Frank, or anyone else, for that matter .. being any different.

And right off the bat, I noticed how Joseph Frank's writing reminds me of Dostoevsky's .. in that both men » take you quickly into the story, deeply.

Ernest Hemingway's 1923 Passport Photo at Age 24Hemingway starts you off in the middle of the action, so to speak ..

.. but that does not necessarily mean that he takes you deep right away.

Joseph Frank takes you right into the meat of Dostoevsky's world.

» Time Travel Using the Imagination

I feel as tho I am somehow being transported back thru the decades and centuries .. and across continents .. to another land in another time.

With different cultures and different traditions and different moral and social norms. Very interesting.

This is all the stuff I really like .. cuz it takes you there so completely.

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Rad note » this entry originated from another page. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate page, which lets me focus on and reference more easily the concepts under discussion here.

At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I will include a link that will return you to the exact place from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...

» Russian Greats Weave the Eternal Golden Thread of Scripture Thru Their Timeless Novels

Tolstoy (1828-1910)I noticed that both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky weave verses-of-scripture into their stories.

[ I was going to, instead, write » 'weave into their stories verses of scripture' ..

.. which is better writing.

But notice how that is not weaving the words. And therefore not recursive.

And recursion is where the power is. In writing both narrative and computer programs. ]

Both of them begin their timeless novels, for example, with a short verse that sets the tone and foreshadows things to come .. a mechanism that itself plays off the prophetic. A technique.

Tolstoy begins Anna Karenina (a novel claimed by many to be the finest written, in any language, ever, in the history of our species, homo sapiens) with a verse from the Old Testament that has echoed down thru the centuries » Vengeance is mine; I will repay.

Dostoevsky, on the other hand, begins The Brother Karamazov (a novel acclaimed the world over as one of the supreme achievements in literature) with a verse from John's gospel » Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.

[ I am talking about Writing here. Writing and writers. ]

Hemingway liked to use verses of scripture as his titles. I wonder if he got this idea while he was reading the Russians ..

.. sitting around a fire in the mountains of Austria during the winter months .. when Paris got ugly. And cold.

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Rad note » this entry originated from another page. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate page, which lets me focus on and reference more easily the concepts under discussion here.

At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I have included a link that will return you to the exact place from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...

Joseph Frank is About the » Socio-Political & Ideological Context of Dostoevsky's Novels

Tho it is somewhat ironic that I am mentioning Dostoevsky's (remarkable) personal history (» political arrest by the czar, his mock execution and years spent in a hellish Siberian concentration camp with common peasant criminals) .. especially now ..

Joseph Frank (1918-2013).. because this is precisely the thing that Joseph Frank says that most people make too big of a deal out of ..

.. while ignoring the really important stuff.

He says, if you really wanna understand Dostoevsky and especially his novels ..

.. you really need to understand the socio-political and ideological context of the day ..

.. because that is what Dostoevsky's novels were all about. They were often a response to the prevailing ideas of the established Russian intelligensia of his day. ( "Dear Fuck-Heads of the so-called Intelligentsia..." )

Joseph Frank does not say that Dostoevsky's mock execution and his time spent LIVING WITH common peasant criminals in a Siberian prison camp werent influential.

Rather he is saying that his novels are not about that .. so dont focus all your attention there .. even while admitting that Dostoevsky's personal history is indeed fascinating.

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Rad note » this entry originated from another page. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate page, which also lets me reference more easily the concept under discussion here.

At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I have included a link that will return you to the exact place from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...

» Rad vs Hemingway on the Key Factor Behind Dostoevsky's Genius

This however, might be a good place .. to mention where I disagree with Hemingway .. about his appraisal of the thing that "made" Dostoevsky .. the writer that he became. What was it that precipitated his genius?

Ernest Hemingway's 1923 Passport Photo at Age 24Notice what Hemingway wrote »

» "Dostoevsky was MADE by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice, as a sword is forged." 

[Green Hills of Africa, p 71, 1935]

Which is certainly a credible position to adopt.

But I feel .. and I have felt this way ever since I was diagnosed with cancer ..

.. which can be viewed as a death sentence of sorts.

I feel that it was really » the mock execution that Dostoevsky experienced ..

.. that did it for him. Because it immediately brought him into the realm of » the existential ..

.. where the question of your very existence is brought into the spotlight of your conscious awareness .. your conscious thoughts .. because it is » threatened by a known killer. A well-known killer.

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Rad note » this entry originated from another page. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate page, which also lets me reference more easily the concept under discussion here.

At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I have included a link that will return you to the exact place from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...

» Treating Myself for Completing a Difficult 7-Week Cancer Treatment

We need to reward ourselves for completing these major life challenges. So that's what I did .. for completeing perhaps the hardest thing I've ever done .. by ordering Joseph Frank's bio condensation on Dostoevsky (2009).

Dostoevsky | A Writer in His Time (2009) by Joseph FrankI've been wanting that bio for years now.

Joseph Frank (1918-2013, same years as Mandela, btw, with dual professorships at both Princeton and Stanford) ..

.. spent 30 years researching Dostoevsky the writer ..

.. from the early 1970's to the early 2000's). Researching a fascinating character, if you ask me.

Frank even learned the Russian language so he could gaze more deeply into Dostoevsky's world and his art. (That's dedication.)

Joseph Frank never intended to be Dostoevsky's biographer. No, sir. Rather he was simply (like me) reading a copy of Notes from Underground ..

.. when he noticed something about the novel. About the writing. About its subject.

"This Dostoevsky guy .. his writing .. there's something about it .. I cant quite put my finger on it, tho. Maybe I should look a little closer. Oh, lookie there .. aint that some shit. Wow. He's even more interesting than I thought."

That is exactly what happened to me. So, in that sense, I feel a certain kinship with Mr Frank, or at least, with his experience of reading Dostoevsky.

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