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The New Russian Dostoevsky

Readings for the Twenty-First Century

edited by

Publication Year: 2010

During the Soviet years, Fyodor Dostoevsky was the most troublesome of the nineteenth-century Russian novelists. Religious, opinionated, conservative, and chauvinistic, his work challenged the atheistic and communist foundation of the Soviet state. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Dostoevsky rapidly became the most popular Russian classic. Taking advantage of the freedoms that came with glasnost, Russian scholars have produced a wealth of new studies exploring previously neglected aspects of the writer's life and work. "The New Russian Dostoevsky: Readings for the Twenty-First Century" presents a broad range of works by Russia's finest Dostoevsky scholars, appearing here in English translation for the first time. The collection offers general studies, including essays on the latest trends in Dostoevsky scholarship, on the 150-year history of anti-Dostoevsky sentiment in Russia, on the use of new technologies to study manuscripts and print materials, and on Dostoevsky's religion and philosophy, as well as close readings and annotations of the classic novels "Crime and Punishment," "The Idiot," "Demons," and "The Brothers Karamazov." These essays combine the meticulous scholarship and authority that have always characterized the work of Russian scholars with a bracing originality and a new respect for the religious and cultural aspects of the writer's work that were neglected in the Soviet years. This book will appeal to anyone interested in Dostoevsky's work and eager to learn how he is read and studied in his homeland.

Published by: Slavica Publishers

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi

Sincere thanks are due to many people who contributed to this book: to all the authors, and in particular Natalia Ashimbaeva, Tatyana Buzina, Tatiana Kasatkina, Boris Tikhomirov, and Vladimir Zakharov; to the gifted volunteer translators, Joseph Fitzpatrick, Daniel Shvartsman, Cal Wright, and Aura Young; ...

Note on the Text

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pp. xii

List of Illustrations

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pp. xiii-xiv

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About the Authors

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pp. xv-xviii

Natalia Tuimebaevna Ashimbaeva is Candidate in Philology and Director of the F. M. Dostoevsky Literary Memorial Museum in St. Petersburg. With Boris Tikhomirov, she is the editor of the Petersburg issues of the almanac Dostoevsky and World Culture. ...

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About the Translators

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pp. xix-xx

Carol Apollonio is Associate Professor of the Practice of Russian in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Duke University. She has has translated literary works and historical studies from Japanese and Russian, and has worked as a conference interpreter of Russian. ...

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pp. 1-6

During the seventy-odd years of the Soviet Union's existence, Fyodor Dostoevsky was one of the most troublesome of the Russian classic writers. Passionately religious, politically conservative, and chauvinistic, his writings challenged the atheistic and communist foundation of the Soviet state. ...

I. General Trends

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pp. 7-8

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The Dostoevsky Syndrome

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pp. 9-24

Every great writer has both fanatical admirers and raging critics. Most likely no writer has a perfect artistic reputation; each has at least one Zoilus, and sometimes more. Of course there are any number of reasons why Zoilus criticized Horner, why Voltaire and Tolstoy denied the genius of Shakespeare, ...

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New Categories for Philological Analysisand Dostoevsky Scholarship

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pp. 25-36

Recently a major scholar, Sergei Bocharov, published a transcript of some conversations with Bakhtin. Bocharov cannot be suspected of fantasizing or of inaccuracy, but some of the statements he quotes will be very difficult for Bakhtinians to accept. According to the transcript, Bakhtin felt that in his Dostoevsky book ...

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The Gospel in F. M. Dostoevsky's Life and Work (Optical-Electronic Reconstruction of Marginaliain Dostoevsky's Copy of the New Testament)

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pp. 37-42

Dostoevsky's works continue to a ttract attention from scholars and readers in Russia and abroad. The writer's archival legacy represents the collective labor of many people: his relatives and friends, inspired readers, and their heirs and successors. Scholar V. S. Nechaeva writes: "The circumstances of the writer's life between the 1840s and 1860s ...

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An Unknown Letter by Dostoevsky

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pp. 43-46

Dostoevsky's archives contain many unsolved mysteries. A number of documents disappeared during the years of the Civil War, including a precious manuscript of the novel The Brothers Karamazov—an incalculable loss. The archives contain empty envelopes with the letters missing, and the writer's correspondence ...

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Dostoevsky's "Science of the Heart"

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pp. 47-64

According to Mikhail Bakhtin, "the hero's word about himself and about the world" is of central importance in Dostoevsky's novels: "A character's word about himself and his world is just as fully weighted as the author's word usually is: [ ... ] it sounds, as it were, alongside the author's word and in a special way ...

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Euclidian and Non-Euclidian Reason

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pp. 65-92

Over thirty years ago I read a short work by Dostoevsky and felt that I couldn't put it aside. This was Notes from Underground. I wrote down my thoughts about the work at the time, but they were burned. Now circumstances have brought me back to this first experience; fragments of old thoughts rise to the surface ...

II. Individual Works: Crime and Punishment

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pp. 93-94

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Commentary on Crime and Punishment: Space, Time, Material Details, Echoes

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pp. 95-122

What follows are some excerpts from Tikhomirov's extensive and authoritative new commentary on Crime and Punishmentt. These take the form of line-by-line annotations of significant details in the text of the novel, and broader meditations on Dostoevsky's approach to using details of the real environment in his art. ...

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Literary and Real-life Prototypes of Dostoevsky's Heroes: The "Tradesman in the Robe" in Crime and Punishment

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pp. 123-138

The "tradesman in the robe" appears on the scene three times in Crime and Punishment. He is first seen just after Raskolnikov's suspicious visit to the murdered woman's apartment in the guise of a potential tenant. He had climbed the stairs, rung the doorbell, and asked questions about blood: ...

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Gospel Quotations in Crime and Punishment: The Marmeladov Funeral Dinner

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pp. 139-142

Christian references often play an important role in the deeper layers of meaning in Dostoevsky's novels. So, for example, certain details of a character's description might recall a hagiographic hero, or a character's pose might be familiar from a famous icon. It is especially important to account for instances where there are contradictions ...

The Idiot

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pp. 143-144

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History in a Name: Myshkin and the "Horizontal Sanctuary"

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pp. 145-164

In this essay I will try to make a connection between what would appear at first glance to be very different kinds of realms of reality — textual and subtextual — in Dostoevsky's novel The Idiot. Such, for example, are the prince's epilepsy on the one hand, and his strange family connection with the hapless builder ...

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Holy Foolishness and Madness, Death and Resurrection, Being and Non-Being in The Idiot

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pp. 165-186

Although the phenomena of iurodstvo (holy foolishness) and insanity resemble each other on the surface, internally they are completely different.1 The only way to distinguish them is to probe into their spiritual essences: the one represents service to God's will, with complete renunciation of the self; ...


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pp. 187-188

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Distortion of the Ideal: The Cripple in Demons

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pp. 189-216

Eighty years ago the Danish critic George Brandes wrote about Dostoevsky: "His works contain a real arsenal of characters and states of mind presented from a Christian point of view. All the characters in his works are diseased, they are either sinners or saints ... and the transition from sinner to saint, ...

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Dostoevsky's Novel Demons and Russian Balagan

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pp. 217-228

Dostoevsky was always drawn to the traditions of the balagan, the Russian folk theater of the public square.1 He utilizes patterns from the balagan in his earliest works, and he incorporates them in his mature, and most politicized, novel Demons. The author's use of a common source in works so different in historical context ...

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Kinesic Observations on F. M. Dostoevsky's Novel Demons

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pp. 229-246

Analysis of the corporeal behavior of literary characters holds great promise as a field of scholarly research.1 Within the framework of relatively young scholarly disciplines such as kinesics (the study of gestural motions), haptics (the study of tactile communication), and oculesics (the study of "eye language"), ...

The Brothers Karamazov

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pp. 247-248

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Saying Prayers for the Dead over the Living:Ancient Custom, its Transformation and Significance in The Brothers Karamazov

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pp. 249-256

Scholarship has long been preoccupied with Dostoevsky's attitudes toward the Russian people. The writer's journalistic declaration s about the Russian people as the God-bearing nation, the repository of the true Christian spirit, and the principal hope for Russians who have lost their way and are cast adrift in a meaningless, Godless world, ...

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The Legend of the Medelianka

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pp. 257-266

Once, a long time ago, during the making of the film The Boys (Mal'chiki), the famous scene at the bedside of Ilyusha Snegirev required a Medelianka puppy. There was no doubt that such a breed had really existed — at least in the previous century — but no one knew what it looked like, not even the cynologists ...

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Commentary on a Commentary: The Medelianka and the Return of Zhuchka

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pp. 267-270

O. A. Dekhanova's commentary solves the problems it poses, and at the same time presents new ones. In my view, these new matters for the commentator include the problem of the return or non-return of Zhuchka and the mystical role of the Medelianka puppy (the puppy plays no role in the plot, as Dekhanova shows several times: ...

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Alyosha's Destiny

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pp. 271-286

In 1887, six years after Dostoevsky's death, prominent journalist Aleksei Suvorin wrote in his diary about the writer's plans for a sequel to The Brothers Karamazov: "He wanted to take him through the monastery and make him a revolutionary. He would commit a political crime. He would be executed."1 ...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780893578725
E-ISBN-10: 089357872X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780893573720
Print-ISBN-10: 0893573728

Page Count: 306
Illustrations: 23
Publication Year: 2010