Jennifer Wilson

  • The Empathy Industrial Complex

    IN AN ESSAY ABOUT the Russian existentialist philosopher Lev Shestov, best known for his “philosophy of despair” (exactly what it sounds like), D. H. Lawrence writes that Shestov’s work provides a “real clue to Russian literature.” “With us,” Lawrence explains to his English readers, “[European culture] is our very blood and bones, the very nerve and root of our psyche.” The Russians, however, “have only been inoculated with the virus of European culture and ethic,” Lawrence claims, adding: “The virus works in them like a disease. And the inflammation and irritation comes forth as literature.”