ts big dogs 2014 edition #1: dostoyevsky vs austen

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

~

Poll Results

OptionVotes
dostoyevsky 23
austen 9


♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 11 July 2014 22:44 (five years ago) link

well this is easy

circa1916, Friday, 11 July 2014 22:46 (five years ago) link

is it?????

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 11 July 2014 23:24 (five years ago) link

sad man in him room

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Saturday, 12 July 2014 00:27 (five years ago) link

impossible

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 12 July 2014 00:43 (five years ago) link

I am more attuned to Austen's mind and style than to Fyodor, who is constantly wringing his characters out like wet washcloths. Austen allows her people to be humanly flawed and challenged on a gentler, easier scale. But I would have to vote for Fyodor as the one whose ambitions covered a far greater breadth of material and ideas and whose body of work is the more impressive because of it.

frog latin (Aimless), Saturday, 12 July 2014 00:44 (five years ago) link

austen is much more in control of her instrument, less reliant on cliche and caricature, more attentive to the details of other people's experience, and so much better at structure and symmetry and patterning "better" isn't even really the word. but if you like dusty he is bigger than all that: bigger than skill. it's not that he has Ideas it's that his characters do, and i can't think of a lot of artists who better explore (in so many different directions) the feeling of being in an ideological grip. (austen superfans welcome to insert here remarks on the concept of prejudice, which as the engine of outwardly perverse behavior is maybe not totally dissimilar to possession; maybe she is better, subtler, at this too.) his books are so alive to the feelings of thinking and talking (and questioning), to the details of the voices that pass through the head. (notes from underground in particular points forward to modernism and "stream-of-consciousness" and petersburg, doesn't it?) but i voted jane.

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 12 July 2014 01:23 (five years ago) link

we're gonna need someone to note that if you can't read the russian then stfu

if dlh (<3) won't do it, then maybe sharivari? might well be true tho

mookieproof, Saturday, 12 July 2014 01:29 (five years ago) link

thinking more abt this i don't mean to set up some kind of intricate-female-craftswoman/chaotic-male-genius dichotomy here; if the metric is "ideas" or ethical/ontological inquiry i think the omniscient moral consciousness of jane's authorial voice is absolutely alongside the christian agape the last 150 pages of every dostoevsky book remind you to pursue. (one thing i like about demons is that it troubles this vision the most--it does feature a home-stretch religious epiphany but there is much less of a sense that it has any power or that its recipient has really achieved awareness than there is with raskolnikov kissing the earth or alyosha walking down the hill or whatever.) i picked up emma just now cuz it's the one i haven't read, and on page literally 1:

The real evils indeed of Emma's situation were the power of having rather too much her own way and a disposition to think a little too well of herself; these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at present so unperceived that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her.

the precise but totally unprim definition here of an evil or a vice--a quality that, as time passes, is going to corrupt and corrode your enjoyment of life--is very good. and you can hear shakespeare in "the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments". obv you can hear shakespeare everywhere, that's why they call it shakespeare, but that kind of metaphorical precision coupled with total rhythmic expertise puts her closer to him than most. plus the second sentence made me lol a little.

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 12 July 2014 03:04 (five years ago) link

rather ftw

mookieproof, Saturday, 12 July 2014 03:13 (five years ago) link

haha yeah i loved that! such a frowned-upon word by prose snobs (whole section on it in strunk and white) deployed so expertly, for a lol. and then a little right after! she wrote on the edge.

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 12 July 2014 03:16 (five years ago) link

dlh doing great work on this thread so far but "i can't think of a lot of artists who better explore the feeling of being in an ideological grip" doesn't do much for me as a description of fyodor but totally works as one of jane

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Saturday, 12 July 2014 06:22 (five years ago) link

Notes from Underground is probably my decider here. the funniest, the truest.

Daphnis Celesta, Saturday, 12 July 2014 08:42 (five years ago) link

Brothers Karamazov is the highpoint of mankinds cultural history. So fyodor.

Frederik B, Saturday, 12 July 2014 09:56 (five years ago) link

"i can't think of a lot of artists who better explore the feeling of being in an ideological grip" doesn't do much for me as a description of fyodor but totally works as one of jane

ha yes. but yknow, in dostoevsky: all these characters consumed by obsessions. hostaged by thoughts. of gambling or guilt or revolution or nietzschian supremacy, or whatever the underground man's deal is--toxic narcissism, i guess. the possessed is a title for the whole career. but yeah austen's characters exist obv in a rly specific and constrained society and their friction against the convictions and expectations of their world is a big part of what is happening. this is a different kinda thing tho cuz all the characters are living in regency england together at the same time, whereas even in the meeting of the revolutionaries in demons the joke is that everyone's consumed by a different thing. (if ever a joke held up...) but there are other things in austen that are more personal i guess: fanny price's dissonance re class is her own fucked-up perception-filter and comes from her particular circumstances. and pride and prejudice, tho they're both reactions to regency society by alienated smart people, become in darcy+liz private demons; they distort and compel the way obsessions do in dusty. still obv the tone is way different, i mean everyone in dostoevsky is a madman.

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 12 July 2014 10:44 (five years ago) link

voted. man I hated both of these when I was a teenager

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Saturday, 12 July 2014 20:30 (five years ago) link

too hard

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Wednesday, 16 July 2014 04:58 (five years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Saturday, 19 July 2014 00:01 (five years ago) link

ultima iv vs 868-hack

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Saturday, 19 July 2014 16:23 (five years ago) link

too hard

^

I think in the end I prefer the outlandishness of D's personalities. there is a direct savagery to the play of them that I like. they are wild and atomic, and immensely destructive.

Austen is astonishing tho. and I wd happily argue that in the social and personal interrelations, and the relation between internal thought, and authorial or character expression, there is no less a corseted savagery.

it's very possible that ultimately it's a form of exoticism that has me going for D.

Fizzles, Saturday, 19 July 2014 16:31 (five years ago) link

Voted for Austen rather easily.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 19 July 2014 16:41 (five years ago) link

are you trying to kill me

horseshoe, Saturday, 19 July 2014 16:41 (five years ago) link

what have I ever done to you thomp

horseshoe, Saturday, 19 July 2014 16:42 (five years ago) link

I can't think of any novelists with the guile to position recessive and almost plodding characters as the loci of intelligence, and with the talent to create narrators who can both inhabit these recessive characters but step away at fraught moments so that as readers we can see them unmediated.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 19 July 2014 16:43 (five years ago) link

Is that what Austen's doing with Fanny Price, do you think? I've never been clear whether that character was intended by Austen as an admirable type, who simply fails to appeal to current sensibilities. All of her other heroines are vastly more likeable.

jmm, Saturday, 19 July 2014 16:56 (five years ago) link

oh def I had Fanny and Anne Elliot in mind.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 19 July 2014 16:59 (five years ago) link

lol that Trilling essay alluded to in Metropolitan is actually very good on Mansfield Park; the would-be Fourierist gets the summary wrong.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 19 July 2014 17:00 (five years ago) link

maaan I thought you were talking about raskolnikov

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Saturday, 19 July 2014 20:17 (five years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Sunday, 20 July 2014 00:01 (five years ago) link

If ever I needed a reminder why I don't actually post/read much on ILB, this result is the exact kind of reason why. :-/

Branwell with an N, Sunday, 20 July 2014 08:56 (five years ago) link

because three quarters of the population express a marginal preference for dostoyevsky over Austen?

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Sunday, 20 July 2014 09:25 (five years ago) link

i did feel bad about reinforcing patriarchy when i voted for the gloomy fucker

Daphnis Celesta, Sunday, 20 July 2014 09:36 (five years ago) link

And then the knee-jerk assumption that my objection is based purely on gender rather than aesthetics (I'm not your cartoon, Daphnis) is really the other part.

Branwell with an N, Sunday, 20 July 2014 09:42 (five years ago) link

sorry, poor joke, marginally true as it happens

Daphnis Celesta, Sunday, 20 July 2014 09:49 (five years ago) link

from my end i mean uggh ignore me

Daphnis Celesta, Sunday, 20 July 2014 09:49 (five years ago) link

most of the voters in this thread expressed how hard a choice it was tho, the result is hardly a ringing manifesto of one over the other

Daphnis Celesta, Sunday, 20 July 2014 09:50 (five years ago) link

good result

blap setter (darraghmac), Sunday, 20 July 2014 10:05 (five years ago) link

I abstained but ftr I'm a fan of this read the results ignore the thread approach to polls

wins, Sunday, 20 July 2014 10:33 (five years ago) link

I gotta say if the idea of having a conversation w ppl who do not share yr exact aesthetic preferences but are open minded to them is such anathema 2 u u shd probably admit to urself u have some important things to learn about human charity

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Sunday, 20 July 2014 10:58 (five years ago) link

u shd read the brothers karamazov

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Sunday, 20 July 2014 10:59 (five years ago) link

I didn't vote. I didn't want to have to pick. These two caught my heart at very different points in my life (D as a teenager, A a lot more recently). I don't even know how Brothers Karamazov would read now. I did read Pevear and Volokhonsky's The Adolescent a few years ago, and had that hard-to-verify suspicion that maybe translation wasn't doing it justice.

jmm, Sunday, 20 July 2014 13:40 (five years ago) link

should have voted

horseshoe, Sunday, 20 July 2014 13:55 (five years ago) link

tbh even though i agree that people posted very thoughtful things to this thread, i had a pretty negative "of course" reaction to the results. so many conversations about austen with dismissive men my whole life, can't help it.

horseshoe, Sunday, 20 July 2014 13:57 (five years ago) link

and Dostoevsky was one of my first literary loves, right around the same time as Austen

horseshoe, Sunday, 20 July 2014 13:58 (five years ago) link

Feel like Tolstoy would have been a more appropriate comparison? Idk

, Sunday, 20 July 2014 14:02 (five years ago) link

i like how different they are, though! it's a good comparison, even though it ruined my life

horseshoe, Sunday, 20 July 2014 14:03 (five years ago) link

yeah all arguments aside i had a good long think about "what does this choice say about me?" before i clicked on Dostoyevsky and in the end it really came down to how important Notes from Underground is for me

Daphnis Celesta, Sunday, 20 July 2014 14:07 (five years ago) link

Yeah, I also liked this choice because it made me question my asumption that D was just objectively so much better. But come on! He is! Had Jane Austen had, like, thirty more years to add to her ouvre, perhaps it would have been more equal, but as it is, it's a bit like comparing Wagner with Bizet.

Frederik B, Sunday, 20 July 2014 14:22 (five years ago) link

is there going to be more of these or is that "#1" a tease? enjoying the high brow rumination on this thread.

petition to include non-literary big dogs as well (Picasso, Nietzsche, etc.)

ryan, Sunday, 20 July 2014 14:24 (five years ago) link

Yeah, I also liked this choice because it made me question my asumption that D was just objectively so much better. But come on! He is!

you hate spinsters too

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 20 July 2014 14:28 (five years ago) link

horseshoe i am enjoying and appreciating yr posts, i also wd find it pretty hard to say anything about the work of these two and the politics of taste stuff is part of why I picked them

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Sunday, 20 July 2014 19:17 (five years ago) link

i used to be v contemptuous of dostoevsky before being brought round by a devotee girlfriend, whom i never did succeed in getting into austen :(

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 20 July 2014 19:22 (five years ago) link

Except it's not a conversation. It's a bunch of college-educated witedudes FOR WHOM THE WHOLE LITERARY WORLD IS A MIRROR, congratulating themselves all "ooh, I wouldn't want a conversation that was just like a mirror!" in a room full of college-educated witedudes.

If this truly reflects your opinion of ILB, then you might prefer a nice slice of pie instead.

dustups delivered to your door (Aimless), Monday, 21 July 2014 02:09 (five years ago) link

returning from a wedding last Memorial Day weekend I read P&P for the first time on the plane, laughing every few pages. At one point the dude in the aisle sea one row and left of me turned around, saw what I was reading, and looked at me as if I were Karl Marx in business class.

Yeah, anybody holding up a copy of P&P on a plane and loudly LOLing every few minutes probably deserves a "look", let's be real.

circa1916, Monday, 21 July 2014 04:58 (five years ago) link

...

horseshoe, Monday, 21 July 2014 12:33 (five years ago) link

lol policing

Treeship, Monday, 21 July 2014 12:35 (five years ago) link

plane journeys with ppl laughing at their reading material is yr idea of heaven no doubt

blap setter (darraghmac), Monday, 21 July 2014 16:22 (five years ago) link

this thread makes me feel bad for not really liking austen, tho i understand why ppl do. i've given her a try several times, and i always come away feeling the way i do after a long, tedious meeting at work. there are bits i remember fondly (the dad in 'pride and prejudice' is pretty funny) but i've never really found any of her characters that engaging or memorable. prob my fault, not hers.

frederik b is otm that dostoevsky comes from a world that's completely alien to ours in most ways, so much so that i don't think he can be blamed if pretentious college kids or whoever pretend to see themselves in his characters. anyway, the truly insufferable kids are the ones insisting they will never read dostoevsky because st. nabokov disapproved of him.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 21 July 2014 17:32 (five years ago) link

demons is my second favorite novel ever at this point but still feeling v good about my austen vote (beyond the natural pleasure of minority selfrighteousness) (i think)

halfway thru my first read of emma cuz of this thread, not embarassed to admit i keep track of characters like "oh right breckin meyer". maybe i'll try the gambler again next. found it too upsetting the first time tbh lol.

difficult listening hour, Monday, 21 July 2014 18:10 (five years ago) link

voted autism

switching letters guy, Monday, 21 July 2014 19:15 (five years ago) link

hah clueless is the best. heckerling gets austen.

horseshoe, Monday, 21 July 2014 19:51 (five years ago) link

what's the best austen to start with? i actually remember liking 'emma' more than the others i tried, but ended up misplacing my copy during a move.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 21 July 2014 20:01 (five years ago) link

P&P is as good a place. Also Persuasion because it's short and so unlike the others.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 21 July 2014 20:05 (five years ago) link

persuasion is long as fuck

idk Emma or nothing sorta. Mansfield park is sort of brilliant qua minor work and has one of the most fuckable male leads in lit but you should probably read fanny burney &/or ms Radcliffe first really /:

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Monday, 21 July 2014 20:12 (five years ago) link

My Penguin copy of Persuasion is just over 250 pages!

S&S is more minor than MP, I think. It lacks the tensions that make the latter so frustrating in places.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 21 July 2014 20:15 (five years ago) link

'long' has this british vernacular sense im sort of addicted to

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Monday, 21 July 2014 20:16 (five years ago) link

in my head Persuasion is definitely "the long one"

Daphnis Celesta, Monday, 21 July 2014 20:20 (five years ago) link

felt v much ambushed by emotion at one line of wentworth's. "am I not yet so much changed?". something like that, anyway.

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Monday, 21 July 2014 20:28 (five years ago) link

P&P should be your first, I think. Persuasion is really short, though; you guys are weird.

horseshoe, Monday, 21 July 2014 21:41 (five years ago) link

Best introduction tbh is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009 parody)

, Monday, 21 July 2014 21:44 (five years ago) link

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Pirates and Ninjas and Bacon

Daphnis Celesta, Monday, 21 July 2014 21:59 (five years ago) link

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41u0oA1ReQL._SY300_.jpg

has anyone read this? is it good?

bus people are fine broad thinkers (soref), Tuesday, 22 July 2014 00:49 (five years ago) link

Pride Prejudice and Poops

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 22 July 2014 01:12 (five years ago) link

persuasion def the short one to me. mansfield park the long one.

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 22 July 2014 02:39 (five years ago) link

Never given these two a proper go.

http://www.ica.org.uk/whats-on/norte-end-history

^ However I am watching this film -- 'based' on C&P -- so that might inspire me.

In regards to Austen boyz who are into ECONOMICS are reading her: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p020wmkt

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 22 July 2014 09:53 (five years ago) link

I liked this talk by the climate ethicist, Stephen Gardiner. He uses the opening chapter of S&S - where a husband and wife incrementally talk themselves out of their obligation to support the husband's mother and sisters - to analyze moral corruption around climate change.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChgJIhWXXbE

jmm, Tuesday, 22 July 2014 18:02 (five years ago) link

giving p&p another try. it's pretty funny!

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 25 July 2014 01:35 (five years ago) link

Mr. Bennett!

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 25 July 2014 01:35 (five years ago) link

Yeah, the relationship between Lizzie and her father is one of the great joys of that book--he's retreated from the foolishness of his family to the point where he's actually letting them all down, but the vibe of intellectual equality and pride he has in his one really clever (not just "book clever") daughter... It's just lovely.

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Friday, 25 July 2014 01:37 (five years ago) link

making Donald Sutherland perfect casting in the otherwise meh 2005 adaptation.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 25 July 2014 01:55 (five years ago) link

"Harriet Smith was the natural daughter of somebody."

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Monday, 4 August 2014 20:06 (five years ago) link

^^^

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 5 August 2014 00:04 (five years ago) link

five months pass...

good thread let's do again

local eire man (darraghmac), Tuesday, 13 January 2015 22:39 (four years ago) link

I'd probably go for Austen this time. there was what Kevin Blackwell once memorably called on some TV punditry "the width of a gnat's cock" in it the first time round.

Fizzles, Wednesday, 21 January 2015 20:57 (four years ago) link

twoagc *in it* the first time round.

it's not a particularly Janeite phrase I feel, but a buffoon in Dostoevsky certainly.

Fizzles, Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:00 (four years ago) link

darragh do you mean a new matchup or, let's just argue about austen some more

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Thursday, 22 January 2015 08:25 (four years ago) link

my next one was going to be the romantic Big Four vs pound/eliot

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Thursday, 22 January 2015 08:26 (four years ago) link

def both thomp

local eire man (darraghmac), Thursday, 22 January 2015 08:31 (four years ago) link

'long' has this british vernacular sense im sort of addicted to

― ♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Monday, 21 July 2014 20:16

I wanna know more about this.

Austen, of course.

bamcquern, Thursday, 22 January 2015 08:48 (four years ago) link

it's about the same as saying smth is "mission"

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Thursday, 22 January 2015 09:11 (four years ago) link

a chore? an unrewarding effort?

but you can use it of anything from visiting friends in zone 4 to, like, a family member, a genre of music, the ouevre of a major novelist

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Thursday, 22 January 2015 09:12 (four years ago) link

I want to see which one gets cut to make a romantic Big Four.

woof, Thursday, 22 January 2015 10:05 (four years ago) link

yeah apparently for some minutes earlier i totally forgot about the existence of john keats?

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Thursday, 22 January 2015 14:01 (four years ago) link

well if he will write his name in water

woof, Thursday, 22 January 2015 22:23 (four years ago) link

eleven months pass...

https://medium.com/@paulmasonnews/schmausterlitz-58d005d29592#.ijei72fuu

^ reminded me of the fun we had in this thread.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 10 January 2016 23:20 (three years ago) link

three years pass...

in laughs, the first seventy pages of demons is giving jane a run for her money

devvvine, Wednesday, 8 May 2019 21:05 (six months ago) link

I am finishing Karamazov and I picked Mansfield Park to re-create the um, spirit of this thread.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 8 May 2019 22:17 (six months ago) link

I’ve read Crime, Underground, Brothers, Demons, The Idiot, The Gambler/The Double. Haven’t read any in a numbers of years. I am so anti-religion these days I don’t know if I could deal with D’s nonsense now.

Haven’t read any Austen, unless I read something in high school and forgot. This thread is making me want to!

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Friday, 17 May 2019 19:38 (six months ago) link

Austen captures the politely strangled reserve of her characters just as fully as Dostoevsky captures the extreme emotional volatility of his. She's great, but the tone of their respective novels could hardly be more different.

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 17 May 2019 19:45 (six months ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.