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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   100 Greatest Novels Lists (& the 5th best Russian Novel) (153 comments)

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  •  Not sure if this will entice you or scare you (4+ / 0-)

    away, but here's the book's insane introduction.  

    This passage has always stuck with me, from the narrator's endlessly circular attempt to describe the city of St. Petersburg:

        But if you continue to insist on the utterly preposterous legend about the existence of a Moscow population of a million-and-a-half, then you will have to admit that the capital is Moscow, for only capitals have a population of a million-and-a-half; but as for provincial cities, they do not, never have had, and never will have a population of a million-and-a-half. And in conformance with this preposterous legend, it will be apparent that the capital is not Petersburg.
         But if Petersburg is not the capital, then there is no Petersburg. It only appears to exist.
         However that may be, Petersburg not only appears to us, but actually does appear—on maps: in the form of two small circles, one set inside the other, with a black dot in the center; and from precisely this mathematical point, which has no dimension, it proclaims forcefully that it exists: from here, from this very point surges and swarms the printed book; from this invisible point speeds the official circular.
    And with that, the nightmare begins.


    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 12:30:34 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  He meanders exuberantly, and takes a certain (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, pico, translatorpro

      mental energy to keep up with (I followed the link). But it it is colorful, insightful whimsy, and it casts a peculiar spell.

      I voted for Petersburg, in my poll, because I like it when all 15 options get at least one vote. I'm also glad The Master and Margarita is widely read and loved. That's some delicious whimsy.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 07:50:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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