The Illusions Which Ennoble Us

In celebration of the first decade of Barataria in one week, I would like to present this post from 2009.  It is dark, befitting the time it was written, but it is one of my personal favorites.

“The illusions which exalt us are dearer than ten thousand truths”
– Aleksandr Pushkin

Perhaps it’s the chill of December closing in on me, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Pushkin lately – and this quote is a favorite.  Pushkin was, like so many Russian writers, a man who found nearly carnal pleasure in staring the essence of humanity straight in the eyes and reporting what he saw in a cold, clear voice.  Normally, I don’t like translations that seem florid and over-wrought, but in this case it’s Pushkin.  The warmth comes in the delight of distilling the essence into poetry, as any true romantic knows.  It’s a glow that warms the heart of Russian fatalism, a crackling fire that accepts with a melting smile.  It also represents the exact opposite of how we, as Americans, have come to see our own world.

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