“The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,” Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1877

The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,” Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1877 — A man decides that “nothing matters” and he contemplates suicide. A chance encounter with a girl on the street disturbs him; she stammers repeatedly that something has happened to her mother.  Without a word, the man continues his walk, leaving her to fend for herself.  He returns home, where his revolver awaits.  While listening to his noisy neighbors, he falls asleep and dreams that he’s shot himself in the heart. He travels the cosmos and finds himself on an Edenic, alternate earth populated by innocent, serenely happy natives.  One day, he teaches them how to lie and the history of his Earth repeats itself.  He awakes, much more appreciative of his life and determined that “the chief things is to love others like yourself.”  He tracks down the little girl he once abandoned on the street.

Comments: ISFDB entry.  Read in Perchance to Dream.  Compare to Well’s description of a trip through the cosmos due to a near-death experience in “Under the Knife.”

Author: Wikipedia: “Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky 11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881) sometimes translated as Dostoevsky, was a Russian writer of novels, short stories and essays.”


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1926 and earlier, alternate history, dreams/hypnosis, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, international, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, suicide. Bookmark the permalink.

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