Preface to All Things Are Possible

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Author: D. H. Lawrence
Editor: Joann Cerrito
Date: 1995
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 936 words

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[Lawrence was an English novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist, critic, translator, and dramatist, who is known for his controversial and outspoken ideas on such topics such as religion, psychology, and sex. In the following essay, which was originally published in 1920 as a preface to All Things Are Possible, he identifies Shestov as the disseminator of culture that is distinctively Russian, devoid of the influence of Western Europe.]

In his paragraph on The Russian Spirit, Shestov gives us the real clue to Russian literature. European culture is a rootless thing in the Russians. With us, it is our very blood and bones, the very nerve and root of our psyche. We think in a certain fashion, we feel in a certain fashion, because our whole substance is of this fashion. Our speech and feeling are organically inevitable to us.

With the Russians it is different. They have only been inoculated with the virus of European culture and ethic. The virus works in them like a disease. And the inflammation and irritation comes forth as literature. The bubbling and fizzing is almost chemical, not organic. It is an organism seething as it accepts and masters the strange virus. What the Russian is struggling with, crying out against, is not life itself: it is only European culture which has been introduced into his psyche, and which hurts him. The tragedy is not so much a...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420025642