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Download PDF by Pär Lagerkvist: Barabbas

By Pär Lagerkvist

ISBN-10: 0307807126

ISBN-13: 9780307807120

Barabbas is the acquitted; the fellow whose existence used to be exchanged for that of Jesus of Nazareth, crucified upon the hill of Golgotha. Barabbas is a guy condemned to haven't any god. "Christos Iesus" is carved at the disk suspended from his neck, yet he can't verify his religion. He can't pray. He can merely say, "I are looking to believe."

Translated from the Swedish via Alan Blair.

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Sample text

It is what Dickens’s Dombey resists receiving from his daughter Florence: something felt in the charged atmosphere with a matching thought deeply implicit within it. The right name for the misnomer of sentimentality is, therefore, literary emotion, on behalf and in memory of emotion and buried thought in life. Literary emotion, aesthetic emotion, is here in place of religious redemption: ‘dead long ago, and I, a stranger, not born’. For in the midst of life, in the middle of the situation, with the outcome still uncertain and awaited, the feelings of Peter’s mother were obviously anxious; only afterwards, when death formally closes a situation otherwise incomplete or unsatisfactory, does the feeling of that feeling transform the emotion of anxiety in the midst of things to sadness after their end, offering a value to that anxiety not in terms of outcome but in place of it.

437) Lydgate uses both hands here, not just his fourth finger. I am interested in the phrase ‘letting his hands fall’, which I connect with Lydgate’s affectionate gravity: Lydgate is in earnest, and expects his earnestness to act on Rosamond as though it were, like gravity, an impersonal and necessary force. Suppose we move on to Chapter 58: we are in the first period of Lydgate’s disillusionment with Rosamond, his realization that she has a will of her own. The differing value which he and Rosamond place on social rank has now become a matter of real dispute, focusing on Lydgate’s contempt for his cousin, Captain Lydgate, the third son of a baronet and in Lydgate’s opinion a ‘conceited ass’ (p.

267). The last (literal) whip in the novel, like the first, belongs to the unlucky Sir James, who hopes that scandal about Ladislaw being Rosamond’s lover will put Dorothea off him; he sets up Mrs Cadwallader to mention this item of gossip, as though by accident, in the course of a walk, but he is embarrassed at his own underhand methods, and we see him ‘turning aside to whip a shrub’ when Mrs Cadwallader begins her story (Chapter 62, p. 626). The psychological acuteness of this last example, its concise rendering of embarrassment mixed with frustrated aggression (the ‘shrub’ is an image of Ladislaw himself in Sir James’s mind as an upstart of no account) is what the novel is famous for, and is one of the defining elements of realist fiction.

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Barabbas by Pär Lagerkvist

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