Affective is a collection of fresh reads, perspectives, and thought pieces

Fragments


Life & Fate

May 24

Our daily dose of curation draws upon the excellent work on Vasily Grossman, one of 20th century Russia’s leading writers, once banned by the Soviet Union and subsequently recognised as a literary giant around the world. Plagiarised Wisdom is an archive of short extracts from work that has moved us, left an impact and lingered in the memory.


“People in camps, people in prisons, people who have escaped from prison, people going to their death, know the extraordinary power of music. No one else can experience music in quite the same way. What music resurrects in the soul of a man about to die is neither hope nor thought, but simply the blind, heart-breaking miracle of life itself. A sob passed down the column. Everything seemed transformed, everything had come together; everything scattered and fragmented – home, peace, the journey, the rumble of wheels, thirst, terror, the city rising out of the mist, the wan red dawn – fused together, not into a memory or a picture but into the blind, fierce ache of life itself. Here, in the glow of the gas ovens, people knew that life was more than happiness – it was also grief. And freedom was both painful and difficult; it was life itself. Music had the power to express the last turmoil of a soul in whose blind depths every experience, every moment of joy and grief, had fused with this misty morning, this glow hanging over their heads. Or perhaps it wasn't like that at all. Perhaps music was just the key to a man's feelings, not what filled him at this terrible moment, but the key that unlocked his innermost core. In the same way, a child's song can appear to make an old man cry. But it isn't the song itself he cries over; the song is simply a key to something in his soul.”

Vasily Grossman, Life & Fate, 1980




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