by Mark Dorset
Dostoevsky’s Unnamed Anti-Hero on Life versus an Imitation of Life, or Reality versus Reality TV:
o tell a long story about how I missed life through decaying morally in a corner, not having sufficient means, losing the habit of living, and carefully cultivating my anger underground—really is not interesting; a novel needs a hero, but here all the features of an anti-hero have purposely been collected, and most of all, the whole thing produces a bad impression, because we have all got out of the habit of living, we are all in a greater or less degree crippled. We are so unused to living that we often feel something like loathing for “real life” and so cannot bear to be reminded of it. We have really gone so far as to think of “real life” as toil, almost as servitude, and we are all agreed, for our part, that it is better in books [on TV]. And what is it we sometimes scratch about for, what do we cry for, what do we beg for? We don’t know ourselves. . . . Look harder! After all, we don’t even know where “real life” is lived nowadays, or what it is, what name it goes by. Leave us to ourselves, without our books [TV sets], and at once we get into a muddle and lose our way—we don’t know whose side to be on or where to give our allegiance, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise. We even find it difficult to be human beings, men with real flesh and blood of our own; we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace, and are always striving to be some unprecedented kind of generalized human being. We are born dead, and moreover we have long ceased to be the sons of living fathers; and we become more and more contented with our condition. We are acquiring the taste for it. Soon we shall invent a method of being born from an idea. But that’s enough; I shall write no more from the underground.
Notes from Underground
Wallace Stevens on the Role of Reality in Art:
eality is the beginning not the end.
“An Ordinary Evening in New Haven”
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|Copyright © 1996, 2001 by Eric
A Topical Guide to the Complete Peter Leroy (so far) is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this guide may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
Portions of A Topical Guide to the Complete Peter Leroy (so far) were first published by Voyager, Inc., as part of The Complete Peter Leroy (so far).
The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the aerocycle doesn’t particularly resemble Peter Leroy—except, perhaps, for the smile.
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