Culture. Eat it
9 July 2018
The book on the nightstand: White nights
It was a wonderful night, such a night as is only possible when we are young, dear reader. The sky was so starry, so bright that, looking at it, one could not help asking oneself whether ill-humoured and capricious people could live under such a sky.
Dear reader, it is night in a deserted city in the novel by Fedor Dostoevsky:
The events take place in spring at the time of the White nights of St. Petersburg.
Here the nocturnal magic of Nordic spring is the realm of every chance. Everything can happen, even a fatal encounter that seems dreamed or a dream that takes the features of reality.
The two protagonists meet randomly at night: a young boy, in painful solitude, of which very little is known and a girl, named Nastenka. Four nights to tell each other dreams and hopes. Their feelings appear higher to common love: they trust each other as happens between brother and sister.
The dreamer is only 26 years old but already feels alone, without friends or acquaintances. He doesn’t live in the real world but creates an imaginary world knowing that in reality what he will see when he awakens will not look anything like the world he created.
I am a dreamer. I know so little of real life that I just can’t help re-living such moments as these in my dreams, for such moments are something I have very rarely experienced. I am going to dream about you the whole night, the whole week, the whole year.
The young Nastenka instead lives together with her grandmother, who, never went away from the threshold of the house, doesn’t know about the world and, because of her fears, deprives Nastenka of freedom. The girl falls deeply in love with a boy, to whom her grandmother has rented a room. One day the tenant leaves the city on business but she promises to wait for him faithfully.
The climax of the story takes place at the end of the fourth and last night.
What magic does Dostoevsky have in store for us?
A rainy day will break the spell, but nothing that has been lived or dreamed can be canceled.
A twenty-seven-year-old Dostoevsky engages in a “sentimental novel”. He describes the love that is born between Nastenka and the dreamer as the most beautiful of all: it is a love that expects nothing and wants nothing.
With Nastenka we see moments of genuine happiness in the dreamer’s life:
A whole moment of bliss! And is it perhaps little, even in the whole life of a man?
a white night
Ph. Sara Cartelli
© The Eat Culture
She is an art historian, optimistic and empathic by nature. She imagines a world where sow kindness enjoying the little things. She's in love with stories since she was a child, for the Eat Culture she eats books and arts. Per aspera ad astra says the only tattoo on her skin. It reminds her that the road that leads to her dreams is not always easy but that she never gives up.