Sunday, September 17, 2006
I've been reading Dostoevsky's 'Demons', after the book or it's protagonist Stavrogin was namechecked both in Thomas Mann's 'Der Zauberberg' and some book by Georges Bataille (I forget which). In short, the book was about members of a nihilist terrorist cell of killing one of their number, cynically manipulated into murder by their leader who wants to use it to strengthen the bonds between the cell members. It was based on the actual murder of one Ivan Ivanov on november 21st, 1869. It is a particularly dark book.
Reading the book, it surprised me how much the language of nihilism has remained unchanged since the book was published in 1871. Some parts of monologues of one character in particular, the suicide Kirillov, could come straight from the mouth of, lets say, Xasthur's Malefic or Leviathan's Wrest (check these interviews with Wrest for instance, by following the link at the bottom). I wonder if any of them read the book.
The grisly visit of the provincial avant garde to sightsee the scene of a suicide, reminded me of the well-known story of the photographs Mayhem's Euronymous took of the corpse of his bandmate Dead, who had shot himself with a shotgun. I think this particular tragedy could form the basis for a modern-day 'Demons', were we not lacking a Dostoevsky. Little seems to have changed the last 135 years.