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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (whorl) Oh That Hy!
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 18:50:30 

A letter I read today in the New York Review of Books can be seen as support
for the theological reading of Silk. It responds to an essay by Simon Leys
entitled "The Imitation of Our Lord Don Quixote" by quoting a letter from
Doestoevsky to his niece about the novel he is writing:

"The main idea of the novel is to present a positively beautiful man. This
is the most difficult subject in the world, especially as it is now....There
is only one positively beautiful man in the world, Christ, and the
phenomenon of this limitlessly, infinitely beautiful person is an infinite
miracle in itself....I'd only mention that of all the beautiful individuals
in Christian literature, one stands out as the most perfect, Don
Quixote...Wherever compassion toward ridiculed and ingenious beauty is
presented, the reader's sympathy is aroused. The mystery of humor lies in
the excitation of compassion."

The novel D. was working on was, of course, -The Idiot-, which features
Prince Myshkin (as this letter-writer, Lev Loseff, states) as his own
variation on "Christ as Don Quixote" or "Christ Ridiculous." Leys responds
generously and warmly, calling the association between Quixote and Myshkin
"apposite and illuminating."

As I hope this post might be.


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