CONFIRMED: Two [hopefully three] members of the Korrektiv as panelists at this summer’s Trying to Say “God”: Re-enchanting Catholic Literature, June 22-24 at the University of Notre Dame. Rally, Korrektiv, rally!
Just listen to all those references to the self. You could have made the single most relevant presentation of the whole durned conference.
Anyway, all I’m saying is, I think you’re now obliged to write a brilliant book (it doesn’t even have to be for KP) about DFW and Percy and suicide and self-help and possibly even drinking, and present it at Gerasene 2015 in New Orleans, while we’re running the “Walker Percy Saved My Life, What Can He Do For You?” conference at Loyola.
Is all I’m saying.
At the very end of Lent 2012, the six members of the Korrektiv Kollektiv received, as a gift from Matthew Lickona, cartoon portraits from the pen of the wonderful Daniel Mitsui. What Mitsui memorialized in those small and startling figures, with unobtrusive allusiveness and an unsettling but corrective touch of the grotesque that exemplified the Korrektiv ethos of the classic period, was a golden age: a flowering, a ripening, the sun at zenith.
But flowers fade; ripeness turns to rot; light declines toward a slow, final failure; and shadows lengthen and coalesce unto the great shade, Night, who is herself the shadow of Death.
You couldn’t have noticed all that fading, rotting, and declining, though, since none of it showed on the surface — until November 1. On that day — All Saints’ Day (bitter irony!) — a mistake was made.
Now, at the beginning of Advent 2012, Mr Lickona has once again hired Daniel Mitsui — not to memorialize glory this time, but folly.
Fittingly so: Our Faith teaches that wrongs can be not merely prevented, not merely undone, but actually redeemed. And this is true.
For example: Though my addition to this blog’s roster may be a loss for you, the reader (not to mention the dragging-down it entails for Jonathans Potter and Webb, Mr Finnegan, Mr Lickona, Mr JOB, and Ms Expat), I get a brilliant Mitsui portrait:
Enigmatic, spooky, funny, and a good likeness to boot, though enough obscured to provide a useful degree of plausible deniability. I could hardly be happier with it. If only it had not come at such awful cost to you, dear friends.
Thank you for the picture, Mr Mitsui. Thank you for the present, Mr Lickona.
Thank you (in advance) for forbearing to sting, scorpion.
The strangeness of the Dostoevskian universe, so well conveyed by Virginia Woolf (‘We open the door and find ourselves in a room full of Russian generals, the tutors of Russian generals, their stepdaughters and cousins and crowds of miscellaneous people who are all talking at the tops of their voices about their most private affairs’), which foreigners tend to ascribe to some peculiarities of the Russian national character, is just as strongly felt and often resented by Russians themselves.
Russian dictionaries list a common noun, derived from the writer’s name, dostoevshchina, which is a derogatory term describing an undesirable mode of behavior. A person guilty of dostoevshchina is being deliberately difficult, hysterical or perverse. Another possible meaning of the word is excessive and morbid preoccupation with one’s own psychological processes. The word is part of the normal Russian vocabulary, incidentally.
Simon Karlinsky, ‘Dostoevsky as Rorschach Test’, New York Times, 13 June 1971. In Crime and Punishment (a Norton Critical Edition, Third Edition), edited by George Gibian, 615. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1989.
The painter Bryullov once made a correction [sic] on a student’s sketch. The pupil, looking at the transformed sketch, said: ‘You hardly at all touched my study, yet it has become entirely different.’ Bryullov answered: ‘Hardly-at-all is where art begins.’
Tolstoy, Leo. ‘How Minute Changes of Consciousness Caused Raskolnikov to Commit Murder’. Excerpt from ‘Why Do Men Stupefy Themselves?’. Translated by George Gibian. In Crime and Punishment (a Norton Critical Edition, Third Edition), edited by George Gibian, 487. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1989. Originally published as introductory essay to a book on drunkenness by P.S. Alexeev (1890).