The phrase “manuscripts don’t burn” in Russia is a rallying cry for oppressed writers and books that are considered dangerous by the authorities. Soviet government efforts to confiscate and eradicate unauthorised literature was thwarted by authors using various methods between the 1920s and 1970s: secretly circulating samizdat copies, the memorising of texts, the hiding of manuscripts, making and secreting carbon copies, the smuggling of microfilm versions out to publishers in the West. Several classics of world literature have survived to tell their tale, among them Solzenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The Gulag Archipelago, Grossman’s Life and Fate and Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago.
“I thought it was very derivative. To me it looked like it was straight out of Diane Arbus, but with none of the wit.”
In a hellish world of anxiety, phobia and suffering why would anyone actually want to be funny? If a film director was aware he had a talent for comedy but a overwhelming sense of the misery and meaninglessness of life, what kind of film should he shoot? Stardust Memories, 1980, is the forgotten film of Woody Allen’s great period, but to me one of his best.
It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned we live in a city without walls
Death happens to everybody.
We are all equal before death.
Death is natural.
After the body dies, it rots.
We are all mortal.
There is no life after death.
Extinction of the self is inevitable.
Nothing of the ego survives death.
After death there is nothing.
Death cannot be defeated.
These are comforting words to me.