In today’s Wednesday book quote we revisit Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. In our previous encounter we delved into the subject of wickedness and how Dostoevsky makes his villains as strong, attractive and intelligent as he possibly can. The villain on that occasion was one of the most vile literary characters father Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov.
Dostoevsky was a true intellectual because he took moral questions so seriously. Not only did he create these powerful characters but as we will see in today’s excerpt about ‘faith’, he made the arguments as magnificent as he possibly could. He empowers his characters with immense impartiality no matter their psychological state or philosophical bent. He would steel-man the opposing view until it’s the best it could be. Today we look at a fascinating dialogue about ‘faith’ between the Elder Zosima of the local Russian Orthodox monastery (where Alyosha the younger brother serves) and a visiting lady landowner. Dostoevsky tells us ‘She was a sentimental society lady whose inclinations were in many respects genuinely good’.
This excerpt is quite long, but it’s very engaging. So get yourself a cuppa and tuck-in. I hope you find it worth your while.