- Project Runeberg -  Impressions of Russia /
155

(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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unusual or incredible in such a personal passion, evoked
by black on white, without personal influences.

What is still more remarkable, you will not infrequently
find in the men a similarly exalted nature,
readily receptive of literary enthusiasm. I think it is
in unison with the fact that certain types, among the
educated Russians especially, have an uncommonly great
inclination to cultivate a life of emotion. Just so far
as, by aid of the life and literature, one can comprehend
the domain, which it is so difficult to penetrate, they
seem to fall more deeply in love and with more reverence
than in our time is the rule in other countries. The
very young Russian expects a kind of spiritual aid and
salvation from the woman he loves. The older man,
when in love, tries to supply his wants by sustained
homage. It is the same propensity to worship which
leads the men of the lower classes in hordes to the
religious sects and mystics. And it is this which in the
domain of literature becomes an exquisite sensibility.

In spite of the great size of the empire, authorship is
not economically remunerative in Russia. Except the
two greatest poets, and some journalists without
conscience, no one earns money there by his labor with his
pen. But in a deeper sense, perhaps, in no other place
is it better rewarded to expose one’s emotions and
thoughts in an article, an essay, or a larger book. The
author is understood by great groups of people with
a cordiality, and is appropriated with an intensity and
devotion which are exceptional elsewhere.

Everything there which can quench the thirst, the
burning intellectual thirst, is absorbed like dew-drops
on an arid soil.

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