The House of the Dead: A Novel in Two Parts

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Macmillan, 1915 - Exiles - 284 pages
 

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User Review  - greeniezona - LibraryThing

(This is not the version of the book I read. My edition is an Oxford Classic predating ISBNs.) Book reading in this house really slowed down here for a while, not because I wasn't reading, but because ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - greeniezona - LibraryThing

(This is not the version of the book I read. My edition is an Oxford Classic predating ISBNs.) Book reading in this house really slowed down here for a while, not because I wasn't reading, but because ... Read full review

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Page 20 - ... believe the convict would hang himself in a few days or would commit a thousand crimes, preferring rather to die than endure such humiliation, shame and torture. Of course such a punishment would become a torture, a form of vengeance, and would be senseless, as it would achieve no rational object.
Page 187 - To acknowledge one's fault and the sins of one's fathers is little, very little ; one must uproot the habit of them completely, and that is not so quickly done. I have spoken of the torturer. The characteristics of the torturer exist in embryo in almost every man of to-day. But the brutal qualities do not develop equally. If they develop so as to overpower all the man's other qualities, he becomes, of course, a hideous and terrible figure. Torturers are of two kinds : some act of their own free will,...
Page 124 - Apart from their innate reverence for the great day, the convicts felt unconsciously that by the observance of Christmas they were, as it were, in touch with the whole of the world, that they were not altogether outcasts and lost men, not altogether cut off; that it was the same in prison as amongst other people.
Page 107 - Humane treatment may humanize even one in whom the image of God has long been obscured.
Page 54 - When he realised that I was trying to get at his conscience and to discover some sign of penitence in him, he glanced at me with great contempt and haughtiness, as though I had suddenly in his eyes become a foolish little boy, with whom it was impossible to discuss things as you would with a grown-up person. There was even a sort of pity for me to be seen in his face. A minute later he burst out laughing at me, a perfectly open-hearted laugh free from any hint of irony...
Page 106 - Every one, whoever he may be and however down-trodden he may be, demands — though perhaps instinctively, perhaps unconsciously — respect for his dignity as a human being. The convict knows himself that he is a convict, an outcast, and knows his place before his commanding officer ; but by no branding, by no fetters will you make him forget that he is a human being. And as he really is a human being he ought to be treated humanely.
Page 13 - On the other side, who can say that he has eounded the depths of these lost hearts, and has read what is hidden from all the world in them ? Yet surely it would have been possible during all those years to have noticed, to have detected something, to have caught some glimpse which would have borne witness to some inner anguish and suffering in those hearts. But it was not there, it certainly was not there.
Page 240 - Without some goal and some effort to reach it, no man can live. When he has lost all hope, all object in life, man often becomes a monster in his misery."1 But then he seems still in error where his real goal is concerned, for he adds immediately after: "The one object of the prisoners was freedom and to get out of prison.
Page 53 - I can confidently say that I have never in my life met a man of such strength, of so iron a will as he. . . . His was unmistakably the case of a complete triumph over the flesh.
Page 77 - ... assert his crushed personality, a desire which suddenly takes possession of him and reaches the pitch of fury, of spite, of mental aberration, of fits and nervous convulsions.

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