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Josif Brodskij

Datum narození: 24. květen 1940
Datum úmrtí: 28. leden 1996

Josif Alexandrovič Brodskij byl sovětský básník a disident ruské národnosti, později americký esejista a literární kritik, nositel Nobelovy ceny za literaturu za rok 1987.

Z jeho prací je známá například esej z roku 1989 Vodoznaky – Zrcadlení času. Jde o hold Benátkám, věčnému městu na vodě, městu, které mu tolik připomínalo rodný Petrohrad. Je to manifest autorova pojetí estetických hodnot. Hovoří o prožívání emigrace, literatuře, lásce a umění. Autor žil po vyhoštění ze Sovětského svazu ve Spojených státech a každý rok v zimě se uchyloval do Benátek.


„V zemi, kde zemřela upřímná víra v Boha a mrtva je i autorita vládců zbyl už jen básník jako poslední výspa mravnosti a víry. Rusko je šťastný národ, protože kolik má básníků, tolik má svatých. Naše svoboda tkví v tom vybrat si mezi nimi toho, kdo je blízký naší duši. “

„Koneckonců je těžké zvládnout stejně dobře život i práci. Jestli jste nuceni jedno z toho předstírat, tak ať je to raději život.“


„Rasismus? Ale nejde jen o jinou formu misantropie?“

„There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.“

„The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even—if you will—eccentricity.“

„For darkness restores what light cannot repair.“

„Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between good and bad, but between bad and worse“

„When hit by boredom, let yourself be crushed by it; submerge, hit bottom. In general, with things unpleasant, the rule is: The sooner you hit bottom, the faster you surface. The idea here is to exact a full look at the worst. The reason boredom deserves such scrutiny is that it represents pure, undiluted time in all its repetitive, redundant, monotonous splendor.

Boredom is your window on the properties of time that one tends to ignore to the likely peril of one's mental equilibrium. It is your window on time's infinity. Once this window opens, don't try to shut it; on the contrary, throw it wide open.“


„There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.“

„The fact that we are living does not mean we are not sick.“

„Man is what he reads.“

„What concerns me is that man, unable to articulate, to express himself adequately, reverts to action. Since the vocabulary of action is limited, as it were, to his body, he is bound to act violently, extending his vocabulary with a weapon where there should have been an adjective.“


„Try not to pay attention to those who will try to make life miserable for you. There will be a lot of those--in the official capacity as well as the self-appointed. Suffer them if you can’t escape them, but once you have steered clear of them, give them the shortest shrift possible. Above all, try to avoid telling stories about the unjust treatment you received at their hands; avoid it no matter how receptive your audience may be. Tales of this sort extend the existence of your antagonists....“

„The eye identifies itself not with the body it belongs to but with the object of its attention.“ Watermark

„... boredom speaks the language of time, and it is to teach you the most valuable lesson in your life--... the lesson of your utter insignificance. It is valuable to you, as well as to those you are to rub shoulders with. 'You are finite,' time tells you in a voice of boredom, 'and whatever you do is, from my point of view, futile.' As music to your ears, this, of course, may not count; yet the sense of futility, of limited significance even of your best, most ardent actions is better than the illusion of their consequence and the attendant self-satisfaction.“ On Grief and Reason: Essays

„After all, it is hard to master both life and work equally well. So if you are bound to fake one of them, it had better be life.“

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