March 9, 2020: Unnecessary Notes after Reading “White Nights” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Last night, I reread Dostoevsky’s “White Nights.” Then I had dinner, and then some tea. I thought about the story, whether or not I should write a review about it… but I worked on a poem instead.

“White Nights” is one of Dostoevsky’s best short stories, along with “Bobok” and “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man.” It tells the story of a lonely man — a dreamer — who falls in love with a poor girl called Nastenka.

It has a good plot; the ending is brilliant. But what I like best is the part where the narrator describes what it means to be a ‘dreamer.’ I can relate to that.


The most beautiful part is right before the narrator begins talking about himself:

“[…] Come, make haste—begin—tell me your whole history.”

“My history!” I cried in alarm. “My history! But who has told you I have a history? I have no history….”

“Then how have you lived, if you have no history?” she interrupted, laughing.

“Absolutely without any history! I have lived, as they say, keeping myself to myself, that is, utterly alone—alone, entirely alone. Do you know what it means to be alone?”

(A dreamer may have stories to tell, but what he doesn’t have is history.)

(And a lazy person like me may have a lot of ideas, but what he doesn’t have is the will to write them down.)

I will end this journal entry here.

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