9 October 1922

Select Hotel, Place de la Sorbonne, Paris

My dear Koteliansky
I have finished the Letters [by Dostoevsky], here they are. They are, the more one looks into them, a remarkable revelation of what goes on behind the scenes. Except for ‘Kiss the foal' & "buy the children sweets; even doctors prescribe sweets for children", there is hardly one single statement that isn't pure matter-of-fact. The whole affair is like the plot of a short story or small novel by himself; he reacts to everything exactly as he would react to a written thing. Theres no expansion, no evidence of a LIVING man, a REAL man. The glimpse one has of his relationship with Anya is somehow petty and stuffy, essentially a double bed relationship.? And then "Turgenev read so badly"; they say he (D.) read so superbly. Oh dear, oh dear, it would take an Anna Grigorevna to be proud of such letters.
Yet this was a noble, suffering, striving soul, a real hero among men - wasn't he? I mean from his books . . . The one who writes the letters is the house porter of the other. I suppose one ought not to expect to find the master at his own front door as well as in his study. But I find it hard to reconcile myself to that. I do not think these deep divisions in people are necessary or vital. Perhaps it is cowardice in me. [To S. S. Koteliansky, 9 October 1922.]