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Sunday Independent - Millenium (2 janvier 2000)

  Cet article est également disponible en français

When the Cruiser met the Corr...

Andrea Corr and Conor Cruise O'Brien meet the new millennium in Glendalough.

By Conor Cruise O'Brien


At Glendalough I met with Andrea Corr, to whom I took immediately. We arrived just as the sun was on the verge of setting, so the picture opportunity for which we had come had to be seized immediately.

I had never seen Glendalough look so splendid, with the setting sun illuminating the slopes. But it was bitterly cold. Andrea, though more lightly clad than I was, showed no sign of feeling the cold at all, and cheered me up.

When the photocall was over, we adjourned to the local inn, where I had a chat with Andrea. I found her keenly interested in books, and she spoke movingly aboutDostoevsky, being especially affected by the quality of compassion in his work.

Andrea is very young and I am very old. I wondered for a while whether I should tell her about the dark side of Dostoevsky which was no less real than his compassionate side. Her earnestness told me that she would be able to take the dark side of Dostoevsky in her stride, without the knowledge of it lessening her admiration for the artist. So I told her about the dark side, as follows:

After the assassination in 1881 of Tsar Alexander II who had relieved some of the Jewish disabilities in the Russian Empire, the persecution of the Jews was resumed underAlexander III. The chief organiser of the persecution, on behalf of the Tsar, was Konstantin Petrovich Pobedonostsev, and Pobedonostsev's most trusted adviser, in relation to the implementation of anti-Jewish policy, was Dostoevsky.

Pobedonostsev's policy for the Jews was that the problem was to be solved by the conversion of one-third of the Jews to Orthodoxy, the emigration of one-third and the deaths of the remaining third. And this policy had the enthusiastic support of Dostoevsky.

Andrea took in this account whith close attention and some shock. She will never, I think, see Dostoevsky again in quite the same light. But nor was she shaken in her admiration for Dostoevsky's creative work. Yet she will always be aware of a dark paradox there, and fascinated by it. I felt relieved by her reaction and my admiration for her increased, as I felt that she has the internal strength not to be shaken by a revelation of that kind but be able to put it properly into perspective.

Scans: GaëlleF

Le 25/08/2006 à 23:32 par GaëlleF

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