Friday, 3 August 2012

"I was born in a land..."

An excerpt from the fictitious book "The Doubtful Asphodel" by Sebastian Knight in "The Real Life of Sebastian Knight" (Vladimir Nabokov):

"What can I tell you of my past, gentlemen, I was born in a land where the idea of freedom, the notion of right, the habit of human kindness were things coldly despised and brutally outlawed. Now and then, in the course of history, a hypocrite government would paint the walls of the nation's prison a comelier shade of yellow and loudly proclaim the granting of rights familiar to happier states; but either these rights were solely enjoyed by the jailers or else they contained some secret flaw which made them even more bitter than the decrees of frank tyranny... Every man in the land was a slave, if he was not a bully; since the soul and everything pertaining to it were denied to man, the infliction of physical pain came to be considered as sufficient to govern and guide human nature... From time to time a thing called revolution would occur, turning the slaves into bullies and vice versa... A dark country, a hellish place, gentlemen, and if there is anything of which I am certain in life it is that I shall never exchange the liberty of my exile for the vile parody of home..."

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