“Fyodor Shcherbatskoy” from Wikipedia

Fyodor Shcherbatskoy’s Birthday Special:
The reason you have ever heard of “nirvana.”
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Fyodor Shcherbatskoy”


Fyodor Ippolitovich Shcherbatskoy (Фёдор Ипполи́тович Щербатско́й) (1866 October 1 – 1942 March 18), often referred to in the literature as Stcherbatsky, was a Russian Indologist who, in large part, was responsible for laying the foundations in the Western world for the scholarly study of Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy.Fyodor Shcherbatskoy Stcherbatsky Russian Indologist Buddhism Buddhist philosophy nirvana Continue reading

“Lazarus” by Leonid Andreyev, part 3

The void, versus all.
⁓The Voice before the Void


Leonid Andreyev

translated from the Russian by Abraham Yarmolinsky

part 3


And now it came to pass that the great, deified Augustus himself summoned Lazarus. The imperial messengers dressed him gorgeously, in solemn nuptial clothes, as if Time had legalized them, and he was to remain until his very death the bridegroom of an unknown bride. It was as though an old, rotting coffin had been gilt and furnished with new, gay tassels. And men, all in trim and bright attire, rode after him, as if in bridal procession indeed, and those foremost trumpeted loudly, bidding people to clear the way for the emperor’s messengers. But Lazarus’ way was deserted: his native land cursed the hateful name of him who had miraculously risen from the dead, and people scattered at the very news of his appalling approach. Continue reading

“Lazarus” by Leonid Andreyev, part 2

And all that there is about art.
⁓The Voice before the Void


Leonid Andreyev

translated from the Russian by Abraham Yarmolinsky

part 2


At that time there lived in Rome a renowned sculptor. In clay, marble, and bronze he wrought bodies of gods and men, and such was their beauty, that people called them immortal. But he himself was discontented and asserted that there was something even more beautiful, that he could not embody either in marble or in bronze. “I have not yet gathered the glimmers of the moon, nor have I my fill of sunshine,” he was wont to say, “and there is no soul in my marble, no life in my beautiful bronze.” And when on moonlight nights he slowly walked along the road, crossing the black shadows of cypresses, his white tunic glittering in the moonshine, those who met him would laugh in a friendly way and say: Continue reading

“Lazarus” by Leonid Andreyev, part 1

Easter Special:
One of the greatest and darkest of all short stories.
⁓The Voice before the Void


Leonid Andreyev

translated from the Russian by Abraham Yarmolinsky

part 1


When Lazarus left the grave, where, for three days and three nights he had been under the enigmatical sway of death, and returned alive to his dwelling, for a long time no one noticed in him those sinister oddities, which, as time went on, made his very name a terror. Gladdened unspeakably by the sight of him who had been returned to life, those near to him caressed him unceasingly, and satiated their burning desire to serve him, in solicitude for his food and drink and garments. And they dressed him gorgeously, in bright colors of hope and laughter, Continue reading

“Poshlost” from Wikipedia

Key to understanding Russian literature and culture, the term has no English equivalent.
⁓The Voice before the Void


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Poshlost or Poshlost’ (Russian: пошлость) is a Russian word that has been defined as “petty evil or self-satisfied vulgarity”; there is no single English translation. Briefly, Svetlana Boym defines it as “obscenity and bad taste,” and at more length, she explains:

Poshlost’ is the Russian version of banality, with a characteristic national flavoring of metaphysics and high morality, and a peculiar conjunction of the sexual and the spiritual. This one word encompasses triviality, vulgarity, sexual promiscuity, Continue reading

“The White Dog” by Fyodor Sologub

An odd, unsettling, well-known Russian tale.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The White Dog”

Fyodor Sologub

translated from the Russian by John Cournos

Everything grew irksome for Alexandra Ivanovna in the workshop of this out-of-the-way town — the patterns, the clatter of machines, the complaints of the managers; it was the shop in which she had served as apprentice and now for several years as seamstress. Everything irritated Alexandra Ivanovna; she quarrelled with every one and abused the innocent apprentices. Among others to suffer from her outbursts of temper was Tanechka, the youngest of the seamstresses, who had only recently become an apprentice. In the beginning Tanechka submitted to her abuse in silence. In the end she revolted, and, addressing herself to her assailant, said, quite calmly and affably, so that every one laughed:

“You, Alexandra Ivanovna, are a downright dog!”

Alexandra Ivanovna felt humiliated.

“You are a dog yourself!” she exclaimed.

Tanechka was sitting sewing. She paused now and then from her work and said in a calm, deliberate manner:

“You always whine . . . Certainly, you are a dog . . . You have a dog’s snout . . . And a dog’s ears . . . And a wagging tail . . . The mistress will soon drive you out of doors, because you are the most detestable of dogs, a poodle.”

Tanechka was a young, plump, rosy-cheeked girl with an innocent, good-natured face, which revealed, however, a trace of cunning. She sat there so demurely, barefooted, Continue reading