Table of contents:
- Thomas Mann (from a letter to a school friend)
- Hermann Hesse (from a letter to a friend)
- Francis Scott Fitzgerald (from a letter to his daughter)
- Ernest Hemingway (memoir "A holiday that is always with you")
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery ("Memories of Certain Books")
- Albert Camus (notebooks)
- Charles Bukowski (personal diary)
- Haruki Murakami
- Orkhan Pamuk
- Kazuo Ishiguro
- Yu Nesbo
- Chania Yanagihara
It is not without reason that Russian literature is considered one of the greatest in the world. It is not the first century that foreign writers admit that it was the works of Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov and other classics that had the greatest influence on them and formed their author's style. In our selection - Fitzgerald, de Saint-Exupery, Bukovsky and Murakami talk about their acquaintance with the works of Russian authors.
Thomas Mann (from a letter to a school friend)
At the age of 23-24, I would never have coped with the work on "Buddenbrooks" if I had not drawn strength and courage from the constant reading of Tolstoy. Russian literature of the late 18th and 19th centuries indeed, one of the wonders of spiritual culture, and I have always deeply regretted that Pushkin's poetry remained almost inaccessible to me, since I did not have enough time and excess energy to learn the Russian language. However, Pushkin's stories give ample reason to admire him. Needless to say, how much I admire Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev. But I would like to mention Nikolai Leskov, whom they do not know, although he is a great master of the story, almost equal to Dostoevsky.
Hermann Hesse (from a letter to a friend)
Outwardly, the Germanic and Slavic types appear to be related. Both have the same tendency towards daydreaming and worldly sorrow. But the Slav lacks faith in his dream, in his work and, above all, in himself. Turgenev masterfully portrayed characters of this kind in Nezhdanov, Sanin and others.
Francis Scott Fitzgerald (from a letter to his daughter)
If you want to study the emotional world - not now - but perhaps in a few years - read Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. And you'll see what a romance can be.
Ernest Hemingway (memoir "A holiday that is always with you")
Dostoevsky was a son of a bitch. And best of all he turned out to be sons of bitches and saints. His saints are wonderful. It’s too bad that we can’t reread it.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery ("Memories of Certain Books")
At the age of fifteen I attacked Dostoevsky, and this was a true revelation for me: I immediately felt that I had touched something huge, and rushed to read everything he had written, book after book, as I had read Balzac before.
Albert Camus (notebooks)
Those who are nourished at the same time by Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, who equally well understand both of them, without experiencing difficulties, are invariably dangerous natures both for themselves and for those around them.
Charles Bukowski (personal diary)
My Dostoevsky is a bearded, obese dude with dark green mysterious eyes. At first he was too fat, then too thin, then he recovered again. Nonsense, of course, but I like it. I even imagine Dostoevsky as suffering little girls. My Gorky is a mischievous drunkard. For me, Tolstoy is a man who was furious over a trifle.
My goal is The Brothers Karamazov. To write something like that - this is the peak, the top. I read the Karamazovs at the age of 14-15 and have re-read them four times since then. It was perfect every time. In my mind, this is an ideal piece.
I remember well reading The Brothers Karamazov. I was 18 then, I was sitting alone in a room whose windows overlooked the Bosphorus. This was my first book by Dostoevsky. From the very first pages it evoked a double feeling in me. I realized that I was not alone in this world, but I felt disconnected from it and helpless.The reflections of the heroes seemed to be my thoughts; the scenes and events that shook me, I seemed to be experiencing myself. Reading the novel, I felt lonely, as if I were the first reader of this book.
So far I have been more interested in Chekhov: the precise one who carefully controls the tone. But sometimes I envy the complete disorder, the chaos of Dostoevsky. There is something very valuable about this mess. Life is messy. I sometimes wonder, should the books be so neat?
In Russian novels, names have so many variations. I read Anna Karenina and had to make a list of names and their variants. This is unusual for a foreigner.
I have a theory that every connoisseur of literature loves one Russian writer: admirers of Gogol do not like Tolstoy, for example, while Tolstoyans believe that Dostoevsky is a slightly exaggerated figure. I myself am committed to Chekhov (partly because he was a doctor, and I was always interested in how doctors think). I recently reread The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard and Uncle Vanya, translated by Michael Heim, but my favorite interpretation of Uncle Vanya, which I pay tribute to in A Little Life, is an adaptation by David Mamet directed by Andre Gregory. according to which director Louis Malle shot the film "Vanya from 42nd Street".