If God is watching, I would be happy if my soul were set free from this time of politics, and returned to merely observing humanity. I could better save my spirit if the nations of the world lived side by side in peace and harmony, and gave each other the best of what they have. The English - beauty, the French, glamour, the Russians - humanity, the Germans - knowledge.
I'm finishing this bookThomas Mann, "Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man" on the day when peace talks started between Germany and Russia. If nothing stops them, then my wish that I've been carrying in my heart since the very beginning of the war, will come true. A peace with Russia! See more
First and foremost, peace with Russia! Should the war continue, the war will be only against the West. Against the "three free countries", against "civilization", '"literature", "politics" and rhetorical bourgeoisie.
The Russian people are the most humane people. Their literature is the most humane in the world. Russia has always been, deep inside, a democracy. Yes, a Christian-Communist one, and it was, I believe, Dostoevsky, who said that this democratism takes the form of a patriarchal, theocratic, tsarist monarchy, rather than a social and aesthetic republic.
What a powerful book! I know nothing like it. And how I love everything Russian! And how funny I find Tolstoy's disdain towards everything French.
I hope for the best, and for democracy also; let it not come as a fraud as has been the case in certain other countries.
Peace with Russia! Alliance with Russia! It is a lie that they understand Russian language better in France than here. Never, not even in 1914, I have felt any anger towards Russia and Russian character. France—totally other matter. But I do not feel anger. It is that mixture of hatred and contempt that is habitually called disgust.
“Dostoevsky has been forgotten in Russia!”, I was once told by a soldier before the war. Now the revolution has proven it, opening up a desperate war of words between the democratic-bourgeois francophiles and the anarchic Tolstoyites. But we all known that “forgetting” is a very superficial psychological process. And no one can yet demonstrate any proof that the Russian “democratic and social republic” which is being presented to us will achieve anything of any seriousness for the Russian people.
The whole situation in Russia seems topsy-turvy to me. Can a people’s state of the kind currently being advocated here be established in Russia? And what about “democracy” in the bourgeois sense? After all, there’s no bourgeoisie to speak of there! See more
What would Dostoevsky have said and thought about all this? I’ve been devoting a great deal of attention of late to his political and literary texts, investigating his brand of conservatism, his stances on Slavophilia, Westernism and “nihilism”. I find this extremely interesting vis-à-vis my own spiritual-political stance, which falls between nationalism and “nihilism” – that is, between Germanness and Europeanness.