Gerhardie, William - Futility
"Futility" is the first novel written by William Gerhardie. it was published in 1922.
One of the most important elements of the book is given by the fact that Gerhardie gives us such a despairing message in a light and ironic envelope, which consists of a successful mixture of English humor (speaking of a British admiral he says at a certain point: "I I was sorry to separate myself from that old man.
This peculiarity envelops the novel with a modern ambiguity.
The author has absorbed deeply the lesson of the great Russian masters of the nineteenth century (especially Gogol ') and uses it to describe the characters and the atmosphere that surrounds the Bursanov clan in some situations concerning the Russian mentality - that Gerhardie undoubtedly looks at with a thread of typically English aristocratic racism - and the incompetence of government officials.
Another Gogolian character is Zio Kostja, a relative of Zina, considered by the family as the intellectual of the group because, getting up late in the morning, he does nothing but write, although he never published anything. Beyond the satirical aspect, the character allows Gerhardie to emphasize incisively the uselessness of literature.
The futility of the title is therefore for the totalizing author, in the sense that everything is futile: life is futile, from which we must expect nothing that is not what it is; futile are the efforts to change society, which other things bring only crisis, confusion and pain; but futile and even comical are the attempts to go against these changes, adding crisis to the crisis; Finally, it is futile to write trying to make sense of this activity. We can not agree, but it is undoubted that Gerhardie poses us, making us smile, issues to think carefully, even in the light of the almost one hundred years since then.