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Discovering Sexuality in Dostoevsky

Fusso, Susanne

Publication Year: 2006

Most discussions of sexuality in the work of Dostoevsky have been framed in Freudian terms. But Dostoevsky himself wrote about sexuality from a decidedly pre Freudian perspective. By looking at the views of human sexual development that were available in Dostoevsky's time and that he, an avid reader and observer of his own social context, absorbed and reacted to, Susanne Fusso gives us a new way of understanding a critical element in the writing of one of Russia's literary masters. Beyond discovering Dostoevsky's own views and representations of sexuality as a reflection of his culture and his time, Fusso also explores his artistic treatment of how children and adolescents discover sexuality as part of their growth.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Series: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xii

Many teachers, colleagues, and friends have contributed to my work on Dostoevsky over the years. It was my great good fortune to have the opportunity of studying with Robert Louis Jackson at Yale University in the 1970s, and...

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pp. xiii

The title of this book, Discovering Sexuality in Dostoevsky, alludes primarily to the major concern of my study, which is Dostoevsky’s artistic treatment of how children and adolescents discover sexuality as part of their maturation...

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Chapter One - “Secrets of Art” and “Secrets of Kissing”: Toward a Poetics of Sexuality in Dostoevsky

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pp. 3-16

THE PLOTS OF DOSTOEVSKY’S great novels of the period 1866 to 1880 are moved by sexual secrets and scandals: Svidrigailov’s attempt to seduce Raskol’nikov’s sister, Totskii’s life-crippling seduction of...

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Chapter Two - The Insulted Female Child

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pp. 17-41

BETWEEN 1861 AND 1872, in the years after his return from Siberia, Dostoevsky wrote four major novels: The Insulted and Injured (1861), Crime and Punishment (1866; separate edition 1867), The Idiot (1868; separate edition 1874), and The Devils (1871–72; separate edition...

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Chapter Three - Dostoevsky’s Comely Boy: Homoerotic Desire and Aesthetic Strategies in A Raw Youth

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pp. 42-68

THE CHAPTER “AT TIKHON’S,” in which Dostoevsky confronted the sexual sin of pedophilia with the utmost frankness and responsibility, was censored from the text of The Devils and never appeared in print in Dostoevsky’s lifetime. In his next novel, A Raw Youth (Podrostok, 1875;...

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Chapter Four - The Sexuality of the Male Virgin in A Raw Youth and The Brothers Karamazov

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pp. 69-79

IVAN KARAMAZOV ASKS, “Who doesn’t desire the death of his father?” thus seeming to anticipate Freud’s Oedipal theory of human sexual development. But one must remember that Ivan speaks out of madness and error, and that the novel ends by emphasizing the love that exists between...

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Chapter Five - The “Secret Vice” of Mariia Kroneberg: A Writer’s Diary

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pp. 80-100

WHEN DEALING WITH issues of sexuality, Dostoevsky shows himself to be both a product of his nineteenth-century milieu who subscribes to many of the stereotypes and misconceptions of his day and an independent thinker capable of dispensing with stereotype when it is contradicted...

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Chapter Six - The Missing Family

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pp. 101-118

THE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS in Dostoevsky’s works who discover sexuality in some of its potentially harmful forms have one thing in common: they are deprived of a stable family with a mother and a father constantly on the scene to offer guidance. It may be that Dostoevsky...

Appendix: Newspaper Account of the Kroneberg Trial

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pp. 119-162


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pp. 163-198


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pp. 199-212


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pp. 213-216

E-ISBN-13: 9780810163478
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810121072

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2006

Edition: 1
Series Title: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory