Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fragment 123

Notes on Dostoevsky 5

In Humiliated and Insulted, Dostoevsky offers this self-portrait of his working method.

While planning my novels I like to pace up and down the room. Incidentally, I have always found mulling over my compositions and imagining how they are likely to turn out more enjoyable than actually committing them to paper, and not just out of laziness.
I manage to overcome the temptation to throw down my pen and rush outside, and again make a furious onslaught on the paper in front of me –come what may I must finish my writing. My publisher must have it or he will not pay …for the two nights and days of toil during which I wrote a hundred and sixty pages!...When I really get going I get into such a nervous state I can think more clearly, my feelings are more acute and intense, and even the language just flows, so that under pressure the result flows out much better.

In a letter to his brother in 1845 he writes: What do I want with fame when I’m writing for daily bread?

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