(Beauty Advice)

18 Sep

When we started reading the Russians I had a lot of expectations.  I expected mental challenges, hidden meanings, complex plots, and even a bit of confusion here or there.  What I did not expect was beauty advice.  But there it was, right towards the beginning of Part Three, as Dostoevsky explains why Raskolnikov’s landlady might be a little jealous of Dunya, and even of her mother.

Although Pulcheria Alexandrovna was already forty-three years old, her face still kept the remnants of its former beauty, and besides, she looked much younger than her age, as almost always happens with women who keep their clarity of spirit, the freshness of their impressions, and the honest, pure ardor of their hearts into old age.  Let us say parenthetically that keeping all this is the only means of preserving one’s beauty even in old age.

Yikes!  I’m glad I read this now.  My years of old age are quickly approaching, maybe with a clarity of spirit and a fresh impression or two I can turn things around.




Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Crime and Punishment


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4 responses to “(Beauty Advice)

  1. Sandy

    September 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Yes, I remember this beauty advice! : ) As a 47-year-old, I was amused at Dostoyevsky’s idea of “old age.” In fact, I was a bit annoyed when in the first couple pages he described the 60-year-old woman as a crone. Times and ideas of age sure have changed! Of course we have a longer life expectancy, and we now have sunscreen, among other things, to keep us from looking like a “crone.” <: ) I'm glad that word is seldom used anymore!!

    • Christina Joy

      September 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      All the pure ardor in the world will never reduce age spots like some well-applied SPF 50.

      • Sandy

        September 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        Heehee, how true! Also, I was telling my mom about his use of the word “crone,” and she reminded me that they didn’t have dental care, and that once you lose a few teeth — well, it wouldn’t help matters.

        But seriously, I did like how Dostoyevsky talked about inner qualities enhancing and preserving one’s beauty. Let’s hear it for what the Bible calls “the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” (I Peter 3:4) : )

      • Christina Joy

        September 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        Oh, the teeth!

        Thank you for pointing out the scripture. For all my joking around, I too loved this passage. It really endured Dostoevsky to me.


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