Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Dominated by the Last Book He Read

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), August 1914, chapter 2 (tr. Michael Glenny):
For a long time after that he still felt backward and ignorant, incapable of thinking any problem through. He was confused by the plethora of contending truths and agonized at the fact that each of them seemed so convincing. As long as he had had access to only a few books, Isaakii had felt secure and happy and he had considered himself a Tolstoyan ever since his second year in high school. But here he was given Lavrov and Mikhailovsky to read and—how true they seemed to be. Then he read Plekhanov, and there was truth again—and so beautifully consistent. Kropotkin also went straight to his heart and was no less true. And when he came to read Vekhi, he shuddered—it was the complete reverse of all he had read before, yet true, piercingly true.

Books no longer inspired a respectful delight in him—instead, they made him terrified that he would never learn to argue back at an author, that he would always be carried away, dominated by the last book he happened to have read.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?