While acknowledging Dostoevsky’s personal commitment to the Russian Orthodox faith, Jones argues that it is possible to understand his fictional world only in terms of the interplay of a wide variety of religious experiences and outlooks, including affirmations of faith and expressions of radical doubt and unbelief, and a constant questioning of one by the other. In their neglect of its outward expressions, Dostoevsky’s novels seem to acknowledge that the Orthodox tradition has to die in order to be reborn in the light of the image of Christ and that, to use his own expression, the final ‘hosanna’ must pass through a ‘furnace of doubt’.
Malcolm V Jones was Professor of Russian at the University of Nottingham (UK) from 1980 to 1997 and is now Emeritus Professor there. He is best known for his books and numerous articles on Dostoevsky, a number of which are already available in Russian, notably his Dostoevsky after Bakhtin, published in 1998. Since 2010, he has been an honorary president of the International Dostoevsky Society of which he was a founding member in 1971 and President from 1995 to 1998.