NABOKV-L post 0019627, Sun, 14 Mar 2010 18:30:33 -0400

Philistines and Philistinism by Vladimir Nabokov ...

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Philistines and Philistinism by Vladimir Nabokov (from "Lectures on Russian Literature")

"A philistine is a full-grown person whose interests are of a material and commonplace nature, and whose mentality is formed of the stock ideas and conventional ideals of his or her group and time.

[ ... ]

It is possible that the term itself has been so nicely devised by Russians because of the cult of simplicity and good taste in old Russia. The Russia of today, a country of moral imbeciles, of smiling slaves and poker-faced bullies, has stopped noticing poshlism because Soviet Russia is so full of its special brand, a blend of despotism and pseudo-culture; but in the old days a Gogol, a Tolstoy, a Chekhov in quest of the simplicity of truth easily distinguished the vulgar side of things as well as the trashy systems of pseudo-thought. But poshlists are found everywhere, in every country, in this country as well as in Europe — in fact poshlism is more common in Europe than here, despite our American ads."

Posted by Hectocotylus at 12:00 PM

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