A shame that the lingua Scythia cannot be rendered here. Cyrillic is my favorite alphabet after the Latin and the Greek.<br /><br />I have started to study Latin recently, out of desperation with my professors, out of disagreement with the attitudes in Russian scholarship. Latin and also Greek shall be my weapons against this illness. You see, no one wants to admit Russia into the medley of peoples who drew themselves from classical civilization. They are healthy, earthy, virile people -- inheritors of medieval Greek, and hence classical Greek, culture before the Turkish pall. Look, and you will see the peasants sing like the people once did of the Attic countryside; their priests conduct the religion outdoors -- setting up Herms and spreading libations. They worship fate, etc., etc.<br /><br />But what silly things now are stressed, and even made up about the Russians! "The Russians are Chinese. Orientals. Non-Westerners." It is as though the dichotomy that Thomas Mann's Herr Settembrini, a satirical figure, makes is being confirmed on a daily basis by professors, here in our dept. and elsewhere, who get funding by claiming that the subject and language they teach falls under the "Non-Western, Woman" section of the College of Humanities:<br />
Asia is devouring us. Tartar faces every direction you look. ... Genghis Khan [and] lone wolves on dusky slopes, snows and schnapps, whips and knouts, Schlüsselburg prison and Holy Orthodoxy. They ought to erect a statue of Pallas Athena in the lobby -- as a kind of self-defense. ... A great deal of Asia hangs in the air here. It is not for nothing that the place teems with Mongolian Muscovites ... Do not model yourself on them .. instead, compare your own nature, your higher nature to theirs, ... as a son of the West, of the divine West.
<br />Shame, shame! There should be no difference between the Russian icon of Mary and Diana.<br /><br />K.