Brothers Karamazov, The Wild Palms, Psalm 137

From psalm 137:

5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,

let my right hand forget her cunning.
6 If I do not remember thee,

let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.

Because I’ve never understood Faulkner’s naming of If I Forget Three Jerusalem, I wonder if this Brothers Karamazov quote might have had to do with it. (Its themes of conception/ abortion contrasted with grief for a child’s death in Dostoyevsky). Garnett:

“I don’t want a good boy! I don’t want another boy!” he muttered in a wild whisper, clenching his teeth. “If I forget thee, Jerusalem, may my tongue….” He broke off with a sob and sank on his knees before the wooden bench. Pressing his fists against his head, he began sobbing with absurd whimpering cries, doing his utmost that his cries should not be heard in the room.

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(Other literary references to Psalm 137.)


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