October 21st, 2009

02:46 pm - The Petty Demon

"The book puts on display a Freudian treasure chest of perversions with subtlety and credibility. The name of the novel's hero, Peredonov, became a symbol of calculating concupiscence for an entire generation... [Peredonov] seeks not the ideal world but the world of petty venality and sensualism, poshlost'. He torments his students, derives erotic satisfaction from watching them kneel to pray, and systematically befouls his apartment before leaving it as part of his generalized spite against the universe."

James H. Billington
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