The Emigré’s Heart

Immigrant children, Ellis Island, New York, circa 1908

[Posted not in reaction to the Russia of today, but for all of the good hearts in all of the bad places.]

There turned out to be the most subtle shades of opinion and the most viperous hostility – and if all this was too complex for the mind, then the heart began to grasp one thing quite distinctly: both here and in Russia people tortured, or desired to torture, other people, but there the torture and desire to torture were a hundred times greater than here and therefore here was better.

Vladimir Nabokov
The Defense (1929)

Photo by the Brown Brothers:  Immigrant children, Ellis Island, New York (c. 1908)


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