“The big thing that makes Dostoevsky invaluable for American readers and writers is that he appears to possess degrees of passion, conviction, and engagement with deep moral issues that we–here, today–cannot or do not permit ourselves.”

“It’s actually not true that our literary culture is nihilistic… For there are certain tendencies we believe are bad, qualities we hate and fear. Among these are sentimentality, naïveté, archaism, fanaticism. It would probably be better to call our own art’s culture now one of congenital skepticism. Our intelligentsia distrust strong belief, open conviction. Material possession is one thing, but ideological passion disgusts us on some deep level.”

 

-David Foster Wallace, “Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky” in Consider the Lobster