Friday, August 3, 2012

my brain nicely twinging

Over the years, I have made certain things my own -- a private relishing and treasuring. Then my brain would palpitate pleasurably to later discover that certain remarkable writers had made those same things their own, in a deep way. Even though I'm not a remarkable writer, I feel remarkably connected. In a kind of redemptive way that is hard to explain.

So I was pleased yesterday to come across this quote by Thomas Bernhard about Demons, which has for a long time been my favorite of Dostoevsky's novels:

Never in my whole life have I read a more engrossing and elemental work, and at the time I had never read such a long one. It had the effect of a powerful drug, and for a time I was totally absorbed by it. For some time after my return home I refused to read another book, fearing that I might be plunged headlong into the deepest disappointment. For weeks I refused to read anything at all. The monstrous quality of The Demons had made me strong; it had shown me a path that I could follow and told me that I was on the right one, the one that led out. I had felt the impact of a work that was both wild and great, and I emerged from the experience like a hero. Seldom has literature produced such an overwhelming effect on me.

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