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330 MICHAEL MILLGATE conventions he knew so intimately as a printer, or his occasional trick of making a deletion that not only remains perfectly legible but is actually invoked later in the same letter. On these and other difficult matters the introductory 'Guide to Editorial Practice' (signed with the initials of Robert H. Hirst, general editor of the Mark Twain Project) offers a wealth of new evidence and fresh and independent thinking that all documentary editors should deeply ponder- and that the actual practice of the edition amply illustrates and justifies. Criticism has sometimes been levelled, chiefly on grounds of cost, against the Project's system of assigning almost all the editorial work of a technical kind to its core group of full-time editors. It is very much to the credit of the National Endowment for the Humanities- as well as of the Mark Twain Foundation, the other major source of funding- to have recognized that, for an undertaking of this size, importance, and intensity of focus, the employment of a fully professional staff working closely together in a single location offers exactly the right solution, allowing those involved to develop high levels of general competence, particular areas of personal expertise, and exceptional overall knowledge of their author and of the available documents and research materials. The special importance of Clemens to American literature - and to the American national self-image - clearly demands that he be accorded the finest possible scholarly attention, and that is no less clearly what he is receiving from the Bancroft Library team. Dostoevsky and Criticism CONSTANTIN V. PONOMAREFF Joseph Frank. Dostoevsky. The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865. Volume 3 Princeton University Press 1986. 395ยท $29.50 Joseph Frank needs no introduction. He holds a distinguished place among Dostoevsky scholars and his present volume is yet another valuable contribution to Dostoevsky criticism. The third volume of Frank's biography of Dostoevsky sheds light into significant corners of the novelist's life (such as, for instance, the relationship with Polina Suslova). It also defines clearly - in chapter 7, 'An Aesthetics of Transcendence'- Dostoevsky's artistic position (which reminds one of Belinsky's theory of art), and it examines Dostoevsky's ideological position as a writer. Concerning the latter, the overriding intent is to show the Russian and Christian roots of Dostoevsky's imagination, as opposed to his rejection on spiritual grounds of Western, European ideas. This crucial opposition between Russia and the West is particularly evident in the chapters that deal with Dostoevsky's Pochvennichestvo, House of the Dead, Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, and especially Notes from Underground. In fact Joseph Frank draws attention himself to the critical importance of the Notes: 'This third volume [he writes in the Preface] brings me back to my initial DOSTOEVSKY AND CRITICISM 331 point of departure. I first began to study Dostoevsky seriously in connection with Notes from Underground, and it was my effort to come to grips with this text- an effort whose results are included in the present book - that shaped my whole approach to Dostoevsky's work.' Indeed Frank's approach to Dostoevsky over the years has been consistent. Already in his article 'Nihilism and Notes from Underground' in the Sewanee Review of 1961, he had tried to salvage the underground man- and with him Dostoevsky -as a moral organism. This attempt is continued and developed in the present study. Essentially Frank sees the Notes as a parody of Russia's radical intelligentsia of the 186os and the underground man in particular as a rebel against th~ dehumanizing potential of their Crystal Palace utopia. Faced with this utopian prospect, the underground man is ready to go to-any lengths in order to preserve his individual freedom and his moral conscience. Ultimately Frank holds that the Notes are 'a proof of the underground man's paradoxical spiritual health.' In this process of absolution Frank argues - like Nikolay Strakhov before him in his Letters on Nihilism - that the negative aspects of the underground man's personality are really the product of the spiritually deleterious effects of the Europeanization of Russia. But it takes a tremendous intellectual effort to absolve the underground man of his inhumanity and his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 330-332
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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