March 29, 2002 2:03 AM   Subscribe

Barabbas was spared by the mob in lieu of Jesus on Good Friday. Pär Lagerkvist, a Swedish novelist, explored this incredible character in his 1950 novel:

The novel BARABBAS (1950) was immediately hailed as a masterwork...Barabbas, the criminal in the New Testament, is pardoned instead of Christ, and is sentenced to the silver mines. His is incapable of loving, but becomes gradually aware of greater forces guiding his life.

Now I am myself atheist/agnostic, but I think this is cool. It reminds me of Vonnegut's description of Kilgore Trout as a badly aging Christ, whose sentence of crucifixion had been commuted to life imprisonment.
posted by crunchburger (4 comments total)
I've actually read it. it was about 5 years ago, though, so i don't recall very many details. I remember thinking it was quite good, though. Very bleak and existential.

Another excellent relatively unknown author is Herman Broch. One of his best works, The Death of Virgil , is comparable to Ulysses in scope and style. It's a stream of consciousness account of the last hours of the life of the Roman poet Virgil. As the book progresses and he comes closer to death, the linear coherency of the narrative gives way to a kind of beautiful, abstract poetry.

great stuff.
posted by rhizome23 at 3:56 AM on March 29, 2002

David Olney has a great song about Barabbas on his "Through a Glass Darkly" album.
posted by maurice at 5:39 AM on March 29, 2002

kinda like siddhartha and herman hesse!

i like the pronunciation :)
posted by kliuless at 9:22 AM on March 30, 2002

rhizome, have you read An Imaginary Life by David Malouf? I was assigned it in Herbert Golder's Classical Mythology class 15 years ago. An incredible book.
posted by crunchburger at 9:56 PM on March 30, 2002

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