Challenging the Bard
Dostoevsky and Pushkin, a Study of Literary Relationship
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Several sections of Challenging the Bard: Dostoevsky and Pushkin, a Study of Literary Relationship are considerably modified versions of previously published journal articles: “Gambling and Passion: Pushkin’s The Queen of Spades and Dostoevsky’s The Gambler,” Slavic and East European Journal 55 (2011): 205–28; “The Miser Redone: The Transformation of Pushkin’s Baron in Dostoevsky’s ‘Mr. Prokharchin’: The Questions of Avarice and...
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There is perhaps no literary relationship more fascinating and deserving of study than that between Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), Russia’s greatest poet, and Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-81), its greatest prose writer.1 It was purely a literary and cultural relationship, for the writers did not know each other: Pushkin died in a duel in January of 1837 on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg...
Part One: Before Exile
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Chapter 1. The First Confrontation: Dostoevsky’s Poor Folk and Pushkin’s “The Stationmaster”
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Poor Folk, Dostoevsky’s first novel, announces early on the centrality of both Pushkin’s work and his status as author. Along with his reaction to Gogol, Dostoevsky’s response to Pushkin was an essential part of his plan to make a space for himself in Russian literature. Poor Folk appeared in print in 1846, but months before its publication it had...
Chapter 2. The Bronze Horseman and The Double: Reevaluating the Madness of the Common Man
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In The Double, completed soon after Poor Folk, Dostoevsky continues his response to both Gogol and Pushkin. Like Gogol’s “Notes of a Mad-man” and Pushkin’s The Bronze Horseman,1 The Double portrays a man who goes increasingly insane. In “Notes of a Madman,” the hero ends up in an insane asylum; in The Bronze Horseman, after years of wander-...
Chapter 3. The Miser Redone: The Transformation of Pushkin’s The Covetous Knight in Dostoevsky’s Mr. Prokharchin
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Mr. Prokharchin is the first of Dostoevsky’s works to take on Pushkin’s little tragedy, The Covetous Knight (1830). Although Dostoevsky incorporated aspects of The Covetous Knight, more than any other work of Pushkin, into his later fiction (Notes from the Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Gambler, The Idiot, A Raw Youth, “The Gentle Creature” (“Krotkaia”), and The Brothers...
Part Two: After Exile
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Chapter Four: Gambling and Passion: Pushkin’s The Queen of Spades and Dostoevsky’s The Gambler
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In 1866, almost two decades after Dostoevsky’s spirited reaction to Pushkin’s “The Stationmaster,” The Bronze Horseman, and The Covetous Knight through Poor Folk, The Double, and Mr. Prokharchin, he decided to respond to these works again, but this time to take on in addition Pushkin’s greatest piece of prose fiction, The Queen of Spades, through...
Chapter 5: Crime and Punishment 1.“The Stationmaster,” The Bronze Horseman, and The Queen of Spades: The Clerk, Petersburg, and Napoleon
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Dostoevsky was completing the last chapters of Crime and Punishment when he was forced to interrupt his work to write still another novel, The Gambler, which responded to aspects of The Queen of Spades that he did not take on in Crime and Punishment. However, most of Dostoevsky’s response to The Queen of Spades is found in Crime and Punishment....
Chapter 6: Crime and Punishment 2.The Covetous Knight: Power, Transgression, and Legacy
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Of all Pushkin’s works, Dostoevsky was most influenced, one might even say most obsessed, by The Covetous Knight. I have discussed the parodic treatment of Pushkin’s miser Baron in Mr. Prokharchin. There are also references and resonances in several of the later works. The hero of A Raw Youth, Arkady Dolgoruky, experiments with what he views as the...
Chapter 7: After Crime and Punishment: An Afterword on the Later Novels
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In the major novels that Dostoevsky wrote after Crime and Punishment, he does not forget Pushkin, but he recalls him diﬀerently; Pushkin is less confronted than venerated, less challenged than treated as a cultural icon and reference. Rather than discuss the major novels after Crime and Punishment in exact chronological order, I am reserving for last the...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Publications of the Wisconsin Center for Pushkin Studies