Monday, November 26, 2012


The Hereafter

Joseph Mitchell (1908-1996), "Old Mr. Flood," in Up in the Old Hotel (New York: Vintage Books, 1993), pp. 375-436 (at 375):
[H]e comes from a long line of Baptists and has a nagging fear of the hereafter, complicated by the fact that the descriptions of heaven in the Bible are as forbidding to him as those of hell.
Id., p. 383:
Twain and Broun are Mr. Flood's favorite writers. "If I get to heaven," he once said, "the first Saturday night I'm up there, if it's O.K. with the management, I'm going to get hold of a bottle of good whiskey and look up Mr. Twain and Mr. Broun. And if they're not up there, I'll ask to be sent down to the other place." A moment later he added uneasily, "Of course, I don't really mean that. I'm just talking to hear myself talk."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881), Crime and Punishment (Part IV, Chapter 1, tr. Constance Garnett):
"I don't believe in a future life," said Raskolnikov.

Svidrigailov sat lost in thought.

"And what if there are only spiders there, or something of that sort," he said suddenly.

"He is a madman," thought Raskolnikov.

"We always imagine eternity as something beyond our conception, something vast, vast! But why must it be vast? Instead of all that, what if it's one little room, like a bath house in the country, black and grimy and spiders in every corner, and that's all eternity is? I sometimes fancy it like that."
Related post: Heaven and Hell.

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