Friday, January 5, 2024

Raskolnikov Meets Meursault

Did Camus get his idea for The Stranger from Dostoevsky? The random and meaningless murder on the beach of the Algerian town recalls Raskolnikov's killing of the old woman. The issuance of the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie and hysterically against Larry David in one episode of Curb My Enthusiasm are stupid comparisons, though these kinds of intellectual Hail Marys can be instructive. Saying something just to get attention is also murder. "Macbeth does murder sleep." "Aujourd'hui, Maman est morte. Ou peut-etre hier. Je ne sais pas" This declaration however bleak does sound like "existential air traffic control." Camus is giving away his cards. What better motive for homicide than a death in the family? Raskolnikov has always been a darling of the Being and Nothingness crowd. Sartre groupers and clones like Walter Kaufmann, famous for his anthology of abridged texts, all glom onto the poor student whose life takes on meaning by virtue of his meaningless crime, but while one may not cotton to murder, the old pawnbroker hardly elicits one's sympathy. How many times have you gone into pawn shop and looked at the guy or girl behind the bullet-proof window like the prostitute did in The Pawnbroker (1964).

read the review of The Kafka Studies Department in Booklife.

and listen to "Don't Make Promises" by Tim Hardin

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