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By Joseph Frank

During this publication, acclaimed Dostoevsky biographer Joseph Frank explores essentially the most very important elements of 19th and 20th century Russian tradition, literature, and historical past. Delving into the differences of the Russian novel in addition to the conflicts among the spiritual peasant global and the expert Russian elite, "Between faith and Rationality" monitors the cogent reflections of 1 of the main exclusive and flexible critics within the field.

Frank's essays supply a discriminating examine 4 of Dostoevsky's most famed novels, talk about the talk among J. M. Coetzee and Mario Vargas Llosa at the factor of Dostoevsky and evil, and confront Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism. the gathering additionally examines such subject matters as Orlando Figes's sweeping survey of the historical past of Russian tradition, the lifetime of Pushkin, and "Oblomov's" effect on Samuel Beckett. Investigating the omnipresent non secular subject that runs all through Russian tradition, even within the antireligious Chekhov, Frank argues that no different significant ecu literature used to be as a lot preoccupied because the Russian with the tensions among faith and rationality. "Between faith and Rationality" highlights this particular caliber of Russian literature and tradition, providing insights for normal readers and specialists alike.

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Katherine Strelsky, ed. with intro. by Edward Wasiolek (Chicago, 1967), 7–8. I have utilized this translation for my further quotations from the notebooks. 8 PSS, 9:141. , 142. ”10 It is as if Dostoevsky were on the point here of fusing the two, with the idiot taking on some of the attributes of the son; but the connection will not be made until much later. Nonetheless, it is striking that on the margin of this page Dostoevsky scribbles the following sentence, repeated almost verbatim in the novel: “The one thing in the world is spontaneous compassion.

The result, as he said himself, was that a thousand crimes would be committed to escape such 26 CHAPTER ONE humiliating degradation; or those condemned to such a fate would destroy themselves. The characters in his great novels (all written after House of the Dead), who have lost or renounced their faith, consequently behave in this fashion—they commit crimes or take their own lives. And while their motives are more complicated than in Dostoevsky’s thought-experiment, the psychological root of their behavior is much the same—the Christian moral laws of their universe have become senseless for them, and they have become monsters in their misery.

G. M. , 30 vols. (Leningrad, 1972–1990), 28/bk. 2:272–73; March 2/14, 1868. Hereafter cited as PSS. 3 Anna Dostoevsky, Reminiscences, 146. THE IDIOT 31 me, to smile at me when I approached, when I, with my ridiculous voice, sang to her, she liked to listen. . And now they tell me, in consolation, that I will have other children. But where is Sofya? ”4 If the thematic motif of an all-too-untimely death resounds with such poignancy in the anguished outcries of the adolescent Ippolit in The Idiot, racked by an advanced tuberculosis, one can surely trace them to the emotions experienced by the author with the death of his little Sonya.

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