Dostoevsky beyond Dostoevsky: Science, Religion, Philosophy

Dostoevsky beyond Dostoevsky: Science, Religion, Philosophy

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Edited by Svetlana Evdokimova & Vladimir Golstein

Series: Ars Rossica
ISBN: 9781618115263 (hardcover), 9781644690284 (paperback)
Pages: 424 pp.
Publication Date: September 2016

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Dostoevsky beyond Dostoevsky is a collection of essays with a broad interdisciplinary focus. It includes contributions by leading Dostoevsky scholars, social scientists, scholars of religion and philosophy. The volume considers aesthetics, philosophy, theology, and science of the 19th century Russia and the West that might have informed Dostoevsky’s thought and art. Issues such as evolutionary theory and literature, science and society, scientific and theological components of comparative intellectual history, and aesthetic debates of the nineteenth century Russia form the core of the intellectual framework of this book. Dostoevsky’s oeuvre with its wide-ranging interests and engagement with philosophical, religious, political, economic, and scientific discourses of his time emerges as a particularly important case for the study of cross-fertilization among disciplines. The individual chapters explore Dostoevsky’s real or imaginative dialogues with aesthetic, philosophic, and scientific thought of his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors, revealing Dostoevsky’s forward looking thought, as it finds its echoes in modern literary theory, philosophy, theology and science.

Contributors: Carol Apollonio, Anna A. Berman, David Bethea, Steven Cassedy, Yuri Corrigan, David S. Cunningham, Svetlana Evdokimova, Susanne Fusso, Vladimir Golstein, Robert L. Jackson, Sergei A. Kibalnik, Liza Knapp, Marina Kostalevsky, Charles Larmore, Deborah A. Martinsen, Inessa Medzhibovskaya, Olga Meerson, Gary Saul Morson, Michal Oklot, Donna Orwin, Victoria Thorstensson, Daniel P. Todes

Vladimir Golstein is Associate Professor of Slavic Studies at Brown University. He is the author of Lermontov's Narratives of Heroism (1999), Svetlana Aleksievich –The Voice of Soviet Intelligentsia (2015) and numerous articles on major Russian authors. His essays on current political affairs have been published by Forbes, The Nation, Al Jazeera, RT, Antiwar, Alternet, and Russia Insider; he is also a frequent participant in various political TV shows discussing US and Russia’s foreign politics and culture for CCTV’s The Heat, PressTV, RT’s Crosstalk, Al Jazeera, and Channel 4 in Great Britain.

A specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature, Svetlana Evdokimova holds PhD from Yale University in Slavic Languages and Literatures  and is currently professor of Slavic Studies and Comparative Literature at Brown University. Her main areas of scholarly interest include, Pushkin, Russian and European Romanticism, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, relations between fiction and history, and gender and sexuality in Russian and European literatures. She is the author of Pushkin’s Historical Imagination (Yale University Press), Alexander Pushkin’s Little Tragedies: The Poetics of Brevity, ed. (Wisconsin University Press), and of the wide range of articles on Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov. She is currently writing a book on Chekhov’s relationship with the Russian intelligentsia and its impact on the formation of his literary self.


This valuable book includes very well-researched articles written by the scholars of the field which examine the dialogues of Dostoevky’s personas from aesthetic, philosophical and religious viewpoints. It is a major contribution to the Russian literature associated with Dostoevky’s name and works.
— Ayse Dietrich, International Journal of Russian Studies, Vol. 8 No. 1
I found the volume to be an informative and fascinating read. Students and scholars of Dostoevsky gain new appreciations and understandings by reconciling the established links between Russian literature, science, faith, and humanistic traditions...It would be productive not only for Slavists, but also for specialists from a range of different areas of expertise to publish additional series of this volume to enrich scholarly understanding of the author and his creative, interdisciplinary imagination.
— Michael Marsh-Soloway. University of Virginia, The Russian Review (Vol. 76, No. 3, July 2017)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Fiction beyond Fiction: Dostoevsky’s Quest for Realism
Vladimir Golstein and Svetlana Evdokimova

I. Encounters with Science

1. Darwin, Dostoevsky, and Russia’s Radical Youth
David Bethea and Victoria Thorstensson

2. Darwin’s Plots, Malthus’s Mighty Feast, Lamennais’s Motherless Fledglings, and Dostoevsky’s Lost Sheep
Liza Knapp

3. “Viper will eat viper”: Dostoevsky, Darwin, and the Possibility of Brotherhood
Anna A. Berman

4. Encounters with the Prophet: Ivan Pavlov, Serafima Karchevskaia, and “Our Dostoevsky”
Daniel P. Todes

II. Engagements with Philosophy

5. Dostoevsky and the Meaning of “the Meaning of Life”
Steven Cassedy

6. Dostoevsky and Nietzsche: The Hazards of Writing Oneself into (or out of) Belief
David S. Cunningham

7. Dostoevsky as Moral Philosopher
Charles Larmore

8. “If there’s no immortality of the soul . . . everything is lawful”: On the Philosophical Basis of Ivan Karamazov’s Idea
Sergei A. Kibalnik

III. Questions of Aesthetics

9. Once Again about Dostoevsky’s Response to Hans Holbein the Younger’s Dead Body of Christ in the Tomb
Robert L. Jackson

10. Prelude to a Collaboration: Dostoevsky’s Aesthetic Polemic with Mikhail Katkov
Susanne Fusso

11. Dostoevsky’s Postmodernists and the Poetics of Incarnation
Svetlana Evdokimova

IV. The Self and the Other

12. What Is It Like to Be Bats? Paradoxes of The Double
Gary Saul Morson

13. Interiority and Intersubjectivity in Dostoevsky: The Vasya Shumkov Paradigm
Yuri Corrigan

14. Dostoevsky’s Angel—Still an Idiot, Still beyond the Story: The Case of Kalganov
Michal Oklot

15. The Detective as Midwife in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment
Vladimir Golstein

16. Metaphors for Solitary Confinement in Notes from Underground and Notes from the House of the Dead
Carol Apollonio

17. Moral Emotions in Dostoevsky’s “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man”
Deborah A. Martinsen

18. Like a Shepherd to His Flock: The Messianic Pedagogy of Fyodor Dostoevsky—Its Sources and Conceptual Echoes
Inessa Medzhibovskaya

V. Intercultural Connections

19. Achilles in Crime and Punishment
Donna Orwin

20. Raskolnikov and the Aqedah (Isaac’s Binding)
Olga Meerson

21. Prince Myshkin’s Night Journey: Chronotope as a Symptom
Marina Kostalevsky