Fascinating piece on Tolstoy here.
“Powys was lecturing on Dostoevski. The lecture was so powerful three people fainted. I knew he was the man for me.” From this.
It is too fatally easy, in these days, when machinery—that “Star called Wormwood”—dominates the world, to fall into a state of hard and flippant cynicism, or into a yet more hopeless and weary irony. The unintelligent cheerfulness of the crowd so sickens one; the disingenuous sophistry of its hired preachers fills one with such blank depression that it seems sometimes as though the only mood worthy of normal intelligence were the mood of callous indifference and universal mockery. All men are liars, and “the Ultimate Futility” grins horribly from its mask. Well! It is precisely at these hours, at the hours when the little pincers of the gods especially nip and squeeze, that it is good to turn the pages of Fyodor Dostoievsky. The books that are the most valuable in this world are not the books that pretend to solve life’s mystery with a system. They are the books which create a certain mood, a certain temper—the mood, in fact, which is prepared for incredible surprises—the temper which no surprise can overpower. Dostoievsky is more than an artist. He is, perhaps—who can tell?—the founder of a new religion.
Over the past few months I have mostly been putting together and writing for a radical news magazine for the town in which I live. The website of the magazine is now fully functional and complete, and you can download a free copy of the magazine from there. It is one of the one or two things I am most proud of having produced. Please go check it out! (Hat tip of recognition and gratitude for both those things to my co-editor Lynn, whose contribution to both is incalculable.)