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Power of GentlenessMeditations on the Risk of Living$
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Anne Dufourmantelle

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823279586

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823279586.001.0001

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Power of Gentleness

Anne Dufourmantelle

, Katherine Payne, Vincent Sallé
Fordham University Press

We recognize gentleness in the literary figures that turned everything around them upside down without meaning to, including Prince Myshkin, the majority of characters in Kafka, in Melville, in the short stories of Tolstoy, little John Mohune in Moonfleet. These characters arrive from nowhere and with gentleness provoke violence and passion around them. They polarize the real around an unprecedented truth that is impossible to bear. An excess of this gentleness is dangerous because it reveals faults, desire, manipulation, or conversely, goodness.

Keywords:   gentleness, Kafka, literature, Melville, Moonfleet, Prince Myshkin, Tolstoy, truth, violence

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