February 13, 2020

The Eschatological Imagination

For whatever reason, I've been struggling with my concentration levels this year. A friend who knows I am Dostoevsky's fan brought me this when she recently travelled to Cape Town for her birthday--yes, you heard right, I like friends who give presents for their own birthdays. Close to one thousand pages it is sure to keep me glued for the greater part of the next few weeks. No other writer has had more influence to me like him. I'm chuffed!

"His unrivaled genius as an ideological novelist was this capacity to invent actions and situations in which ideas dominate behavior without the latter becoming allegorical. He possessed what I call an “eschatological imagination,” one that could envision putting ideas into action and then following them out to their ultimate consequences. At the same time, his characters respond to such consequences according to the ordinary moral and social standards prevalent in their milieu, and it is the fusion of these two levels that provides Dostoevsky’s novels with both their imaginative range and their realistic grounding in social life…"

_______Joseph Frank