Henchman on the Sofa ‒ Vyacheslav Menzhinsky: Poet and Hangman

Lars - menzhinski slider

Bolsheviks and poetry are not the most likely combination. Lenin even quit playing the piano because he felt it distracted him too much from the revolutionary cause. When exiled in Siberia in 1897, it seems a poetic mood befell him nevertheless. He started with “In the village of Shushensk, beneath … Continue reading

Hutkippy (Slowly) Reads: The Brothers Karamazov – by Fyodor Dostoevsky (4)

Hutkippy get-away-from-me-satan 815 x 480

Part 4: Karamazov takes to the stage. Book 2, chapters 1, and 2. “The only thing that bothers me is that I shall have to share your company, Mr. Karamazov.”1 This week, we find our heroes at the local monastery, ostensibly to discuss the dispute over the family inheritance. Instead, … Continue reading

Ding Dong, Gogol is dead…which Gogol?

Lars Gogol Header

In 1952 it was hundred years since the great Russian writer Nikolai Gogol died. At the end of his life he had idealised servitude, aristocracy, and the moral authority of the church, causing fellow writers to accuse him of suffering from mania religiosa.1 One should think that the self-proclaimed atheist … Continue reading

Hutkippy Reads: The Brothers Karamazov – by Fyodor Dostoevsky (3)

Karamazof 3 groot bijgesneden 815 x 450

Part three: an intolerably brief history of Russian Orthodoxy. Book one, chapter 5.   When we last left our intrepid heroes, they were still in the process of being introduced. This week, the introduction is extended with regard to the youngest of Karamazov’s three sons; the dreamy-eyed Alyosha. But before … Continue reading

Hutkippy Reads: The Brothers Karamazov – by Fyodor Dostoevsky (2)

Dostoevsky part 2 Header 815x450

Part 2: Russians are not happy people Book One, Chapters One, Two, Three, and Four Where we are introduced to a terrible father, his forgettable sons, and the unhappy women of Russia “In the majority of cases, people, even evil-doers, are much more naïve and artless than we generally assume. … Continue reading

Hutkippy Reads: The Brothers Karamazov – by Fyodor Dostoevsky

"Vasily Perov - Портрет Ф.М.Достоевского - Google Art Project" by Vasily Perov - kgHBFHS7SpcayQ at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -

This is the kind of book everyone is supposed to read at least once in their lives, if only for the literary bragging rights. When placed on a prominent bookshelf, it boldly announces to visitors: “My owner is stunningly smart, and you should be attracted to their giant brain.” Just … Continue reading