01 December 2005

Dostoevsky Didn't Say It

The best novel that The Militant Pacifist has ever read (bar none) is the existential masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Mikhail Dostoevsky. If you've never read this book, The Militant Pacifist recommends that you get it and move it to the top of your stack!

The Militant Pacifist is such a fan of the work that as a part of his graduate studies he read The Grand Inquisitor (a novella/poem within The Brothers Karamazov) through the philosophical lenses of various philosopher's and rhetoricians (e.g., Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Paul DeMann) and wrote analytical essays on the various readings.

The Militant Pacifist is well aware of the quotation frequently attributed to Doestoevsky's novel - "If there is no God, all is permitted."

Having read the novel deeply, the Militant Pacifist was motivated to locate such a lively quotation - but alas - even with hours and hours of pouring over the text in search of the quotation, The Militant Pacifist was never able to locate it in Constance Garnett's English text (and unfortunately, The Militant Pacifist cannot read Russian).

Certainly, the idea contained in the quotation is found in the novel - but the precise source of the quotation remains elusive. How interesting then (to The Militant Pacifist) to find that someone else on the planet has experienced this difficulty.

You can read a deeper analysis of this (scholarly) problem by clicking on the posting title above.

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