The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books
and The People Who Read Them
Elif Batuman's amazing memoir of her years
as a graduate student in Russian Literature.
See also "Holy Connection and Coincidence Batman"
"I don't know if I ended up siding with the academics because I happened to be in graduate school, or if I ended up in graduate school because I already secretly sided with the academics. In any case, I stopped believing that 'theory' had the power to ruin literature for anyone, or that it was possible to compromise something you loved by studying it. Was love really such a tenuous thing? Wasn't the point of love that it made you want to learn more, to immerse yourself, to become possessed?" (22, emphasis added)
"If I could start over today, I would choose literature again. If the answers exist in the world or in the universe, I still think that's where we're going to find them." (290)
And here is a related thought by Steve Almond
from his article about the tragedy of 9 / 11:
"The Decade of Magical Thinking"
"One of the duties of the artist – not the only duty, but a central one – is to impel people to imagine the complexity of thought and feeling inside another person. Art complicates moral action, because we have to accept that other people matter, that their hardship and suffering, even their rage and sorrow, are, to some extent, our responsibility."
Ron Hansen's historical novel about the
notorious, ill-fated Dalton Gang
For more commentary:
"End of Summer Sounds"
One of my Great - Uncle Wayne's Barbershops
Nor do I know the exact location of the shop but know
that Wayne had shops in Chautauqua, Elgin, Havana, Peru,
~ all in Southeast Kansas ~
and that in one of them, he shaved Emmett Dalton!