Joseph Brodsky quotes

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Joseph Brodsky

Birthdate: 24. May 1940
Date of death: 28. January 1996
Other names: Brodskiy Iosif Aleksandrovich, జోసెఫ్ బ్రాడ్స్కీ

Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky was a Russian and American poet and essayist.

Born in Leningrad in 1940, Brodsky ran afoul of Soviet authorities and was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972, settling in the United States with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters. He taught thereafter at Mount Holyoke College, and at universities including Yale, Columbia, Cambridge and Michigan.

Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity". He was appointed United States Poet Laureate in 1991.

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Joseph Brodsky

„The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even — if you will — eccentricity.“

—  Joseph Brodsky

"A Commencement Address" (1984), delivered at Williams College; As quoted in: Robert Inchausti (2014) Thinking through Thomas Merton. p. 110
Context: The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even — if you will — eccentricity. That is, something that can't be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned imposter couldn't be happy with. Something, in other words, that can't be shared, like your own skin: not even by a minority. Evil is a sucker for solidity. It always goes for big numbers, for confident granite, for ideological purity, for drilled armies and balanced sheets. Its proclivity for such things has to do with its innate insecurity, but this realization, again, is of small comfort when Evil triumphs.

„The formula for prison is a lack of space counterbalanced by a surplus of time.“

—  Joseph Brodsky, book Less Than One: Selected Essays

Source: Less Than One: Selected Essays (1986), p. 28
Context: The formula for prison is a lack of space counterbalanced by a surplus of time. This is what really bothers you, that you can't win. Prison is lack of alternatives, and the telescopic predictability of the future is what drives you crazy.

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