Word Nerd Wednesday: Ignominy

This week’s word is ignominy, inspired by this quote:

In the town I was in, there were no such back-alleys in the literal sense, but morally there were. If you were like me, you’d know what that means. I loved vice, I loved the ignominy of vice. ~ Dimitri, The Brothers Karamazov

I am still crawling through The Brothers Karamazov, and loving it. The story is compelling and worthy of contemplation, so I am taking it slow. It’s taking longer than I’d like, but I have other responsibilities tugging at me, slowing me further. I  also feel obliged to read the books my children are assigned in their literature class. In other words, it’ll be a while before I finish The Brothers Karamazov.

I look forward to discussing it in great detail and from myriad perspectives. There is much to discuss here, beginning with the quote above, where Dimitri describes his uncontrollable thirst for vice, including his relishing the ignominy that accompanied it. I suppose we should define ignominy:


1. disgrace; dishonor; public contempt.

2. shameful or dishonorable quality or conduct or an instance of this.

Upon first read this portion of Dimitri’s confession to his young, devout brother Aloysha, my reaction was shock at the pleasure Dimitri seemed to take in being a disgrace. He didn’t just accept ignominy; he loved it. He loved not only the moral morass in which he existed, he loved the infamy.

I wondered if there is such a thing anymore as ignominy; shameful or dishonorable conduct. I know we have shameful and dishonorable beliefs these days. But there is scant a man can do, and nothing a woman can do, that would rise to the level of ignominy.

Just one of those things I paused to think about.


4 thoughts on “Word Nerd Wednesday: Ignominy

  1. MK says:

    I wondered if there is such a thing anymore as ignominy these days. But there is scant a man can do, and nothing a woman can do, that would rise to the level of ignominy.

    This is a great line. I wonder about the relationship between female and male in regards to complicity in sin. I guess more and more men drop out of the “care” game but I’ve been wrong before..this may the the calm before the backlash…

    Made me think of the Gillum story…imagine being the wife or a family member…

    I’m always struggling to find that invisible line is between moral outrage (demanding a public response) and moral individuality (requiring indifferent egalitarianism). I get the former in my personal life yet embrace the latter in my public life. it’s really an odd thing.

    I found The Brothers Karamazov boring and trite…I guess TBK just doesn’t focus enough on my particular style of sin to stimulate interest…sin that doesn’t titillate is always just tiresome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elspeth says:

    I can’t think of the Gillum story without feeling sick for his wife so I try not to think about it.

    I love Dostoyevsky’s prowess with words and insightful metaphors. I like TBK. Didn’t like Crime and Punishment, though.


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