Author Topic: Orthodox novelists  (Read 2357 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Orthodox novelists
« on: January 12, 2012, 10:21:41 AM »
 I have noticed that some believers were started on their 'journey' towards God - on their being drawn to him - by the Russian novelists, whose writings are steeped in an Orthodox ethos. I thought of dipping into the Russian novelists, but my problem is (inter alia) that there are rather a number of them, and they are (I believe) of rather different styles from each other: Solzhenitsin, Tolstoy, Dostoievsky... I would have no idea where to start. Have you any recommendations?

"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Offline FormerReformer

  • Convertodox of the convertodox
  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,554
    • Music and Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Convertodox
  • Jurisdiction: Netodoxy
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 10:34:40 AM »
Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

Oh, no: I've succumbed to Hyperdoxy!

Offline Justin Kissel

  • *
  • Protospatharios
  • ****************
  • Posts: 32,252
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 10:40:46 AM »
I have the most experience with Dostoevsky (of Solzhenitsyn I've only read his Gulag Archipelago), and for him I'd say The Brothers Karamazov for something more religious, Notes From Underground for something more angsty/existentialy, and Crime and Punishment for something more along the lines of a regular novel.

Offline Adela

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 965
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 10:44:00 AM »
Tolstoy wrote some short stories which are particularly moving. Master and Man, about sacrificing for another. Family Happiness is my favorite, about the struggles of marriage.


Offline moronikos

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 169
  • I'm trying to think, but nothing happens!
    • triodion.com
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 11:59:37 AM »
Well, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are great.  However, I believe Tolstoy was excommunicated.  He seems to rant against the church in some of his later writings.  My favorite short story by Tolstoy is about an angel who falls to earth--"What Men Live By".  My favorite Dostoevsky novel is The Idiot.
And they were first called Christians in Antioch

Offline Patty Joanna

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2012, 02:38:16 PM »
Our parish read The Brothers Karamazov with our former priest as a book study a couple of years ago.  The priest has a PhD in Russian history, and was himself influenced by the Russian writers. 

He recommended that we use the new-ish English translations by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.  This team tooke care to understand the Orthodox faith in which the Russian culture (and therefore these novels) are immersed:  they attended St. Vladimir Theological Seminary, for one thing. 

This leads to less "westernizing" of the books in translation. 

Offline Cognomen

  • Site Supporter
  • OC.net guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,972
  • Ungrateful Biped
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2012, 03:20:01 PM »
Welcome aboard, Patty. 

I agree with the advice on the Pevear and Volokhonsky translations. They try (and succeed, in my opinion) to keep the "feeling" of the works, e.g. poetry and songs included in the books retain their meaning.  This should resolate with anyone who has struggled to appreciate the translations of St. Nikolai of Ohrid's hymns in the prologue.

Great question though, David.  Personally, literature in general, as well as Orthodox authors, contributed greatly to my finding of and gravitation to Orthodoxy. A RC friend simultaneously recommended Gulag Archipelago, the newer translations of Dostoevsky, and overloaded me with Thomist works. The former stuck, while the latter did not.  :)
North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2012, 05:43:25 PM »
Thanks for all this so far - and keep any further insights and suggestions coming! I shall start keeping an eye out for the ones most recommended in charity shops, where they often appear and are on sale for less than a couple of quid.
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Offline FormerReformer

  • Convertodox of the convertodox
  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,554
    • Music and Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Convertodox
  • Jurisdiction: Netodoxy
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2012, 06:12:40 PM »
Thanks for all this so far - and keep any further insights and suggestions coming! I shall start keeping an eye out for the ones most recommended in charity shops, where they often appear and are on sale for less than a couple of quid.

If you're going to be browsing used books at charity shops anyway (and thus not able to come across the newer translations mentioned by Patty and Cognomen) you might as well start reading one of the translations of Dosteyevsky or Tolstoy that Project Gutenberg has up. If you have a smart phone, Kindle, or tablet you can even take them with you in eBook format.
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

Oh, no: I've succumbed to Hyperdoxy!

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 12:50:52 PM »
Quote
the newer translations mentioned by Patty and Cognomen

Thank you for this clarification: I hadn't registered that these versions were newer.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 12:53:07 PM by David Young »
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Offline Alpo

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,644
  • Faith: Orthodox. Truly, madly, deeply
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 02:58:43 PM »
IIRC Father Seraphim of Platina recommended David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
The user should probably be sleeping by now.

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2012, 05:36:40 PM »
Quote
Christ, the Archetype of the perfected man, never laughed, there being no evidence in Scripture of His having had a sense of humor.

But surely there is abundant evidence in creation, as we look at some of the strange creatures he so lovingly made, that he has such a sense. Is he less than Ramandu, who formed the Dufflepuds?
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Offline Maria

  • Orthodox Christian
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,874
  • O most Holy Theotokos, save us.
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: GOC
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2012, 05:44:34 PM »
Many Orthodox Priests have recommended the books by C.S. Lewis, especially the Space Trilogy.
Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός
Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός
Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος
ἐλέησον ἡμας

Offline FormerReformer

  • Convertodox of the convertodox
  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,554
    • Music and Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Convertodox
  • Jurisdiction: Netodoxy
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2012, 05:48:55 PM »
Many Orthodox Priests have recommended the books by C.S. Lewis, especially the Space Trilogy.

Given his comment above, I am sure that Mr Young has read plenty of C S Lewis  :laugh:
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

Oh, no: I've succumbed to Hyperdoxy!

Online Iconodule

  • Uranopolitan
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,784
  • "My god is greater."
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2012, 05:54:17 PM »
Quote
Christ, the Archetype of the perfected man, never laughed, there being no evidence in Scripture of His having had a sense of humor.

But surely there is abundant evidence in creation, as we look at some of the strange creatures he so lovingly made, that he has such a sense. Is he less than Ramandu, who formed the Dufflepuds?


I found God making at least one joke in the Book of Job.

Offline Adela

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 965
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2012, 09:45:31 PM »
The Kitchen Madonna by Rumer Godden is a wonderful story which might good for a short break while you are working through the great Russian writers.  It's back in print, finally.    :). It's  about a self-absorbed boy who learns to look outside of his own little world in the creation of an icon. The family, in Great Britain, has a Ukrainian Orthodox immigrant working for them as a cook.  She is sad and confides to the children that she longs for a icon in the kitchen to make it into a happy place.  So they embark on finding and creating an icon of Mary and the infant Jesus, and they learn about giving to others.

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2012, 04:30:46 AM »
... Mr Young has read plenty of C S Lewis 

...and relished especially Narnia and The great Divorce. (And of course Tolkien.)
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2012, 04:34:15 AM »
...to look outside of his own little world in the creation of an icon.

Getting off the point, but I have particularly enjoyed looking at icons written in Arbëresh.
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Offline Alpo

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,644
  • Faith: Orthodox. Truly, madly, deeply
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2012, 07:10:49 AM »
Quote
Christ, the Archetype of the perfected man, never laughed, there being no evidence in Scripture of His having had a sense of humor.

But surely there is abundant evidence in creation, as we look at some of the strange creatures he so lovingly made, that he has such a sense. Is he less than Ramandu, who formed the Dufflepuds?


It's a joke. Since you're already a second poster who takes that too seriously maybe I should add smiley or something.
The user should probably be sleeping by now.

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2012, 08:06:20 AM »
a second poster who takes that too seriously

But if your words were true, would that not mean the two were conforming more nearly to the image of God?
 ;)
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Offline Maria

  • Orthodox Christian
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,874
  • O most Holy Theotokos, save us.
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: GOC
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2012, 05:14:20 PM »
... Mr Young has read plenty of C S Lewis  

...and relished especially Narnia and The great Divorce. (And of course Tolkien.)

Did you enjoy his Space Trilogy?

I have read them at least three times.
If we have some more cold weather, I may just curl up and read them once again.
There are so many lessons to learn. C.S. Lewis is an awesome writer.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 05:16:12 PM by Maria »
Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός
Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός
Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος
ἐλέησον ἡμας

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2012, 05:40:21 AM »
Did you enjoy his Space Trilogy?

I relished the first two, but couldn't get on with the third.
 :(
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Offline Maria

  • Orthodox Christian
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,874
  • O most Holy Theotokos, save us.
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: GOC
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2012, 10:29:17 PM »
Did you enjoy his Space Trilogy?

I relished the first two, but couldn't get on with the third.
 :(

Yes, That Hideous Strength is different. It took two readings before I realized the underlying positions. It seems like C.S. Lewis was condemning the Nazi eugenists who were prevalent during WWII and their weird experiments, hence the worship of the decapitated head.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 10:30:13 PM by Maria »
Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός
Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός
Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος
ἐλέησον ἡμας

Offline Patty Joanna

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2012, 09:50:37 PM »
Did you enjoy his Space Trilogy?

I relished the first two, but couldn't get on with the third.
 :(

:0)  That's funny--because the first two were not that great for me, but I read #3 at least three times cover to cover to cover to cover to cover to cover. 

That was a long time ago--long before I had heard of the Orthodox Church--so I wonder how my reading preferences have changed. 

Online Iconodule

  • Uranopolitan
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,784
  • "My god is greater."
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2012, 10:06:04 PM »
I'm not sure how much he can really be called an "Orthodox novelist", perhaps more like a writer who happened to be Orthodox, but I really love Nikolai Gogol.

Offline JamesRottnek

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 5,123
  • I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2012, 09:59:48 PM »
Are there any Greeks, or Serbs, or Arabs who are Orthodox and novelists?  It seems the only people ever spoken of are Russians.
I know a secret about a former Supreme Court Justice.  Can you guess what it is?

The greatest tragedy in the world is when a cigarette ends.

American Spirits - the eco-friendly cigarette.

Preston Robert Kinney (September 8th, 1997-August 14, 2011

Online Iconodule

  • Uranopolitan
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,784
  • "My god is greater."
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2012, 10:02:24 PM »
Are there any Greeks, or Serbs, or Arabs who are Orthodox and novelists?  It seems the only people ever spoken of are Russians.

From Greece, there's Papadiamandis: http://this-side-of-glory.com/books-and-tea/books/the-greek-dostoyevsky/

Do epic poets count? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petar_II_Petrovi%C4%87-Njego%C5%A1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shota_Rustaveli
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 10:03:41 PM by Iconodule »

Offline Justin Kissel

  • *
  • Protospatharios
  • ****************
  • Posts: 32,252
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2012, 10:31:12 PM »
Using Wiki I found these, though I don't know to what extent they incorporated orthodox ideas into their work...

George Leonardos (1937-Present, Greek)
Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957, anathematized Greek)
Miloš Crnjanski (1893-1977, Serbian)
Borislav Pekić (1930-1992, Serbian)
Isidora Sekulić (1877-1958, Serbian)
Svetlana Velmar-Janković (1933-Present, Serbian)
Elias Khoury (1948-Present, Lebanese)
Mircea Eliade (1907-1986, Romanian)

Offline JamesRottnek

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 5,123
  • I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2012, 01:44:55 AM »
Thank you both.
I know a secret about a former Supreme Court Justice.  Can you guess what it is?

The greatest tragedy in the world is when a cigarette ends.

American Spirits - the eco-friendly cigarette.

Preston Robert Kinney (September 8th, 1997-August 14, 2011

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2012, 06:25:14 PM »
Alexandros Papadiamantis seems to be available only in "The Murderess" and various translations into German. Putting together the advice in the preceding posts, it looks as if I should keep an eye open for "The Brothers Karamazov" as my first trial of this sort of literature.

Thank you all for your suggestions.
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Online Iconodule

  • Uranopolitan
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,784
  • "My god is greater."
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2012, 09:53:40 PM »
Alexandros Papadiamantis seems to be available only in "The Murderess" and various translations into German.

Look for a copy of The Boundless Garden, a short story collection released a few years back. I'm not sure if it's still in print but copies should still be around. There's also this: http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Greek-Island-Alexandros-Papadiamantis/dp/0801848466

Offline David Young

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,906
  • 2012, at the Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr
    • Some of my sermons preached at Bradley Road
  • Faith: Baptist
  • Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2012, 05:55:41 AM »
I shall start keeping an eye out for the ones most recommended in charity shops, where they often appear and are on sale for less than a couple of quid

...until you actually want to buy them!
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

Offline akimori makoto

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,126
  • No-one bound by fleshly pleasures is worthy ...
Re: Orthodox novelists
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2012, 03:13:43 AM »
I'm not sure how much he can really be called an "Orthodox novelist", perhaps more like a writer who happened to be Orthodox, but I really love Nikolai Gogol.

I agree with your characterisation but will say that The Greatcoat and Dead Souls both struck me (on their face) as having been written by a Christian. Did you think so too?
« Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 03:16:14 AM by akimori makoto »
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.