Under Western Eyes: A Novel

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Harper & Brothers, 1911 - Bombings - 377 pages
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User Review  - m.belljackson - LibraryThing

Joseph Conrad is a master of imprinting settings and characters whose minds and appearances are both vivid and demanding. Unfortunately, in Under Western Eyes, none of the characters inspire ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pessoanongrata - LibraryThing

V.S. Naipaul couldn't have put it better when describing the merit of this book (paraphrased): The novel begins with the promise of Dostoevskian themes, but trails off into analysis. But those first one-hundred pages: six stars. Amazing... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

II
7
III
24
IV
65
V
97
VI
99
VII
117
VIII
130
IX
139
XIII
214
XIV
236
XV
262
XVI
289
XVII
291
XVIII
313
XIX
332
XX
353

X
179
XI
195
XII
197

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Page 63 - Still-faced and his lips set hard, Razumov began to write. When he wrote a large hand his neat writing lost its character altogether — became unsteady, almost childish.
Page 359 - I suffer horribly, but I am not in despair. There is only one more thing to do for me. After that — if they let me — I shall go away and bury myself in obscure misery. In giving Victor Haldin up it was myself, after all, whom I have betrayed most basely.
Page 105 - Russian simplicity, a terrible, corroding simplicity in which mystic phrases clothe a naive and hopeless cynicism. I think sometimes that the psychological secret of the profound difference of that people consists in this that they detest life, the irremediable life of the earth as it is, whereas we Westerners cherish it with perhaps an equal exaggeration of its sentimental value.
Page 357 - Is this the way you are going to haunt me?' It is only later on that I understood — only today, only a few hours ago. What could I have known of what was tearing me to pieces and dragging the secret for ever to my lips? You were appointed to undo the evil by making me betray myself back into truth and peace.
Page 135 - The scrupulous and the just, the noble, humane, and devoted natures; the unselfish and the intelligent may begin a movement — but it passes away from them. They are not the leaders of a revolution. They are its victims: the victims of disgust, of disenchantment — often of remorse. Hopes grotesquely betrayed, ideals caricatured — that is the definition of revolutionary success.
Page 20 - Razumov saw himself shut up in a fortress, worried, badgered, perhaps ill-used. He saw himself deported by an administrative order, his life broken, ruined, and robbed of all hope. He saw himself — at best — leading a miserable existence under police supervision, in some small, far-away provincial town, without friends to assist his necessities or even take any steps to alleviate his lot — as others had.
Page 374 - I must own to you that I shall never give up looking forward to the day when all discord shall be silenced. Try to imagine its dawn! The tempest of blows and of execrations is over; all is still; the new sun is rising, and the weary men united at last, taking count in their conscience of the ended contest, feel saddened by their victory, because so many ideas have perished for the triumph of one, so many beliefs have abandoned them without support. They feel alone on the earth and gather close together....
Page 35 - What is this Haldin? And what am I? Only two grains of sand. But a great mountain is made up of just such insignificant grains. And the death of a man or of many men is an insignificant thing. Yet we combat a contagious pestilence. Do I want his death? No! I would save him if I could — but no one can do that — he is the withered member which must be cut off. If I must perish through him, let me at least not perish with him, and associated against my will with his sombre folly that understands...
Page 173 - ... to rest themselves. There was a quantity of tables and chairs displayed between the restaurant chalet and the bandstand, a whole raft of painted deals spread out under the trees. In the very middle of it I observed a solitary Swiss couple, whose fate was made secure from the cradle to the grave by the perfected mechanism of democratic institutions in a republic that could almost be held...
Page 359 - After all, it is they and not I who have the right on their side! — theirs is the strength of invisible powers. So be it. Only don't be deceived, Natalia Victorovna, I am not converted. Have I then the soul of a slave? No! I am independent — and therefore perdition is my lot.

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