Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dostoevsky on Dreaming

Sometimes one dreams strange, impossible and incredible dreams; on awakening you remember them and are amazed at a strange fact. You remember first of all that your reason did not desert you throughout the dream; you remember even that you acted very cunningly and logically through all that long, long time, while you were surrounded by murderers who deceived you, hid your intentions, behaved amicably to you while they hid a weapon in readiness, and were only waiting for some signal; you remember how cleverly you deceived them at last, hiding from them; then you guessed that they'd seen through your deception and were only pretending not to know where you were hidden; but you were sly then and deceived them again; all this you remember clearly. But how is it that you could at the same time reconcile your reason to the obvious absurdities and impossibilities with which your dream was overflowing? One of your murderers turned into a woman before your eyes, and the woman into a little, sly, loathsome dwarf - and you accepted it all at once as an accomplished fact, almost without the slightest surprise, at the very time when, on another side, your reason was at its highest tension and showed extraordinary power, cunning, sagacity, and logic? And why, too, on waking up and fully returning to reality, do you feel almost every time, and sometimes with extraordinary intensity, that you left something unexplained behind in the dream? You laugh at the absurdities of your dream, and at the same time you feel that interwoven with whose absurdities some thought lies hidden, and a thought that is real, something belonging to your actual life, something that exists and has always existed in your heart. It's as though something new, prophetic, that you were awaiting, has been told you in your dream. Your impression is vivid, it may be joyful or agonizing, but what is, and what was said to you you cannot understand or recall. 
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot, pg 424

I have almost finished reading this book and believe I've found another favorite author to add to my list.


laughingwolf said...

hey fyodor, old pal... when you get to a certain age, you're lucky to remember you HAD a dream, much less recall it in such detail! :P

Trish said...

This Fyodor guy? I'd love to have a conversation with him over a bottle of vodka.

Tracy said...

Love the quote. I need to read Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment is the obvious one, but having read this, maybe The Idiot would be more suitable?

Trish said...

That's a hard call. I've read both and liked them equally well, although I've heard people say C&P is the better one for clarity of plot, or something. But for me they were both pretty clear and straight forward. I've also heard wonderful things about Brothers Karamazov. I'll probably save that one for later in the year, though.