This is the way your world ends…with a bang

Just finished reading Crime and Punishment for the second time. The first time was twenty years ago when it was all Russian to me. Being older I had a better understanding of the novel this time.

One of the passages that caught my eye on this reading was when Raskolnikov, after five days of delirium, reads the previous five days newspapers. He is searching for details of the double murder. Before he sees the reports of his crime, there is a flavour of the news in Petersburg of that era. There is an accident on a staircase, four incidents of fires (was there an arsonist on the loose?) and spontaneous combustion of an alcoholic shopkeeper. This brought a smile to my face as I thought of a funny episode in a film.

In a scene from the rock music spoof, This is Spinal Tap, one of the band’s drummers dies from spontaneous human combustion. Most of the drummers, party animals, seem to have a small shelf life and die from various causes. But if you gotta go. SHC is as good as any.

13 thoughts on “This is the way your world ends…with a bang”

  1. Bleak House, written in 1852-3 also features SHC. It was for me, an extremely disappointing aspect of that great novel.

  2. My reading of War and Peace is deferred because I’m reading The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan and at the same time(ish) Chusan by Liam d’Arcy-Brown . Although about different parts of history they’re are largely about trade and the wars concomitant with it. In The Silk Roads one learns that religion is also (mainly ?) about war and trade.
    As far as War and Peace is concerned I have recorded the BBC series and I guess I’ll eventually bring myself to watch it.

  3. Afternoon Jazz,

    It took me a month to finish War and Peace. Two previous attempts got me halfway through but thanks to the nudge by the TV series I made it to the end this time. The last few chapters (the epilogues) were tough going; very repetitive. After this I took another stab (no pun intended) at C&P. Having had enough of Russian literature for the time being and looking for something different a friend recommended the works of David Mitchell -The author not the “comedian”. I’ve almost finished Ghostwritten, his first book.

  4. I am reading Barchester Towers, published in 1857, a year after C&P and 12 years before W&P. Having read the Russian novels I can assure you that English one is much less heavy going.

  5. I am reading, or trying to read-
    The Isis Apocalypse, the history, strategy and doomsday vision of the Islamic state.
    By a William McCants A fellow of and a director of the Brookings institution.

    My God what a carry on. All the different branches of Islamic uprising fighting like cats in a sack. Reading between the lines the worse thing we ever did was to bump off Bin laden when we did, serious mistake! His was the most moderate and ameliorating voice there was!!!! (By then)

    And then you get to their apocalyptic visions, which is what they are really fighting about, makes the Book of Revelations look reasonable!

    It becomes totally apparent that it is going to be a game of ‘whackamole’. One Islamic state pops up, you smack it down and the nutter survivors take themselves off to another muslim country and off it goes again!
    They have done it now and failed several times. Mali, Yemen, Algeria etc, now it is Syria and Libya’s turn.
    Just Wait till they get to Birmingham.

    One gets the ghastly impression that this turns into a Thirty year war that we speak of so glibly in a historical reference. Seriously not good. Especially if we allow the whole thing to become WWIII by proxy.
    The ultimate cluster fuck to destroy our world over a bunch or mad rag heads.

    Makes your SHC look like a walk in the park. Very depressing bedtime reading I do assure you makes Crime and Punishment look like a comedy!

  6. Have read and reread Thomas Hardy n times already. Not again please!

    I must admit to a predilection to expert’s books however unreadable. I find the media are so thick or they think we are so thick, or both, that their background explanations are so inadequate as to be laughable.

    Know one’s enemy, so few do. Had the British studied the Sino Soviet war of 04-05, Gallipoli and the massacre of Cavalry regiments in France would NEVER have happened. The sick making thing was that the British, were there as observers!!! Note, the Germans had tooled up the Japs with God knows what armaments which were all prototypes for 14-18 and they thrashed the Russians something rotten who fought a Napoleonic style engagement. Another nice little proxy war that was for the main engagement.

    sipu I don’t do fantasy, the past is quite bad enough!

  7. Hi CO, sadly, I don’t do history any more. It is so perverted by modern historians to fit the politically correct agenda, that I do not believe anything I see or read that was not written 50 years or more ago. At least with fantasy there is no attempt to present it as anything more than that.

    Not sure about the reference to Hardy. Barchester is Trollope.

    I am not sure that military commanders and their political masters ever learn very much from history, military or otherwise. My grandfather fought in the Boer War as one of the original British commandos. This small unit, the Lovat Scouts, comprised Highland men who were the first to wear proper camouflage, based on ghillie suits. The unit had been put together to beat the Boers at their own game. Interestingly they were commanded by the American Frank Burnham who had fought in Rhodesia in the Matabele War and taught Baden Powell all he knew about Scouting.

    In any event, one would think that the British commanders would have learned from the experience of fighting the Boers how not conduct warfare in a hostile territory. Clearly not. My grandfather went on to fight at Gallipoli where he was wounded.

  8. Oh heavens your right! Wrong author! Oh the brain is going gaga.
    Will write about my father and Gallipoli tomorrow.

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