It is strange to think of the Annas, the Vronskys, the Pierres,
all the Tolstoyan lot wiped out.
And the Aloyshas and Dmitris and Myshkins and Stavrogins,
the Dostoevsky lot all wiped out.
And the Tchekov wimbly-wombly wet-legs all wiped out.
Gone! Dead, or wandering in exile with their feathers plucked,
anyhow, gone from what they were, entirely.
Will the Proustian lot go next?And then our English intelligentsia?
Is it the ‘Quos vult perdere Deus’ business?
Anyhow the Tolstoyan lot simply asked for extinction:
‘Eat me up, dear peasant!’ – so the peasant ate him.
And the Dostoevsky lot wallowed in the thought:
’Let me sin my way to Jesus!’ – So they sinned
themselves off the face of the earth.
And the Tchekov lot: ‘I’m too weak and lovable to live!’-
So they went.
Now the Proustian lot: Dear darling death, let me
wriggle my way towards you
like the worm I am! – So he wriggled and got there.
Finally our little lot: ‘I don’t want to die
but by Jingo if I do!’
– Well, it won’t matter so very much either.’
David Herbert Lawrence 1885-1930