11.01.2007

Dethpakt - Day 1 (pgs. 1-79)

DDDP Day 1, pgs. 1 - 79

It often takes me a while to adjust to the pace of storytelling in literature of the 19th century (am I falsely implying that I read a lot of it?). My attention wandered quite a bit during most of the first chapter of Part 1. Some of this I blame on my modern reading habits of riding the subway and listening to music, but even when I was holed up in the Quiet Reading Zone of my bedroom I had trouble focusing much until Chapter 2, wherein we get beyond heavily footnoted scene-setting and enter the territory of sparsely-footnoted scene-setting.

Footnotes are a necessary evil, I suppose, when reading fiction from a time and place too distant for casual cultural references to survive the journey. But they still interrupt my rhythm and pull me out of the world Dostoevsky is painstakingly building.

We've spent a good deal of time so far getting to know who Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky is through the eyes of the Anonymous Chronicler (acting as Stepan's confidant and our snoop) and while the inner character of Varvara Petrovna Stavrogin is still being revealed (or, rather, her machinations become more layered) we have certainly been drawn a detailed portrait of their relationship to each other. It is also clear, however, that this is going to continue to evolve.

As of now I'm theorizing that the Anonymous Chronicler is remaining as such out of fear of persecution for having been involved with the liberal Skvoreshniki political club, but it's hard to say anything definitive while we're still somewhere in the middle of Act 1. AC certainly has a bemused contempt for Stepan, Varvara and the club members and I'm curious to see how that may have developed.

It's unlikely I'll get to post tomorrow about my further reading due to my attendance at a Rock & Roll performance in the evening-time.