Between Religion and Rationality: Essays in Russian by Joseph Frank

By Joseph Frank

In this booklet, acclaimed Dostoevsky biographer Joseph Frank explores one of the most vital points of 19th and 20th century Russian tradition, literature, and historical past. Delving into the differences of the Russian novel in addition to the conflicts among the spiritual peasant global and the informed Russian elite, Between faith and Rationality monitors the cogent reflections of 1 of the main unusual and flexible critics within the field.

Frank's essays supply a discriminating examine 4 of Dostoevsky's most renowned novels, talk about the talk among J. M. Coetzee and Mario Vargas Llosa at the factor of Dostoevsky and evil, and confront Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism. the gathering additionally examines such subject matters as Orlando Figes's sweeping survey of the background of Russian tradition, the lifetime of Pushkin, and Oblomov's impression on Samuel Beckett. Investigating the omnipresent spiritual subject matter that runs all through Russian tradition, even within the antireligious Chekhov, Frank argues that no different significant eu literature was once as a lot preoccupied because the Russian with the tensions among faith and rationality. Between faith and Rationality highlights this targeted caliber of Russian literature and tradition, providing insights for common readers and specialists alike.

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In group-oriented Indian culture, having to tell other people what they don’t want to hear—in a word, having to tell them “no”—poses a conspicuous problem. Indians are culturally conditioned not to cause offense and to tell other people what they want to hear, especially superiors and one’s elders. What safer way to guarantee harmony and save face, after all, than never to disagree, never to confront? Not surprisingly, then, in the hierarchical, group-oriented Indian culture, having to tell other people what they don’t want to hear—in a word, having to tell them “no” in any of its various forms—poses a conspicuous problem.

It is not necessary, in other words, to actually say something that is not pleasing but merely to stop short of saying anything pleasing. This is what is meant by communicating through what is not said (also known as high-context communication), and Indians are very good at it. Consider the following exchange: BRIGITTE: I was wondering, Sumitra, if your team can come in on Saturday? SUMITRA: Saturday? BRIGITTE: Yes. Just for a couple of hours. SUMITRA: I see. BRIGITTE: Just to finish up that application test.

When Indians and Westerners work together, then, everyone behaving perfectly normally as each defines it, each side in fact often finds the behavior of the other abnormal. “When we see something different in another [society],” Hickson and Pugh continue, “we are liable to view it as abnormal and inferior . . a feature of human nature which does lead to problems when we come to operate in other cultures” (254). When Indians and Westerners work together, everyone behaving perfectly normally as they define it, each side in fact often finds the behavior of the other quite abnormal.

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