A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts

A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts

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Edited by Katherine Bowers, Connor Doak, and Kate Holland

Series: Cultural Syllabus
ISBN: 9781618117267 (hardcover) / 9781618117274 (paper)
Pages: 535 pp.
Publication Date: November 2018

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The powerful, impassioned, and often frenetic prose of Fedor Dostoevskii continues to fascinate readers in the twenty-first century, even though we are far removed from Dostoevskii’s Russia.  A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts aims to help students and readers navigate the writer’s fiction and his world, to better understand the cultural and sociopolitical milieu in which Dostoevskii lived and wrote. Rather than offer a single definitive view of the author, the book contains a collection of documents from Dostoevskii’s own time (excerpts from his letters, his journalism, and what his contemporaries wrote about him), as well as extracts from the major critical studies of Dostoevskii from the contemporary academy. The volume equips readers with a deeper understanding of Dostoevskii’s world and his writing, offering new paths and directions for interpreting his writing.


Katherine Bowers is an Assistant Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of British Columbia. A specialist in nineteenth-century Russian literature and culture, she is currently completing a monograph about gothic fiction’s influence on Russian realism.

Connor Doak is a lecturer in Russian at the University of Bristol. He works primarily on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature, with a special interest in gender and sexuality in Russian culture. He has authored articles on authors including Dostoevskii, Chekhov, Petrushevskaia and Pushkin, and is currently working on a study of masculinity in Maiakovsky’s poetry.

Kate Holland is Associate Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Toronto. She is the author of the monograph, The Novel in the Age of Disintegration: Dostoevskii and the Problem of Genre in the 1870s (2013), as well as articles on Dostoevskii, Tolstoy, Herzen, Saltykov-Shchedrin and Veselovsky. 


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
How to Use this Book
Note on Translation, Transliteration, and Referencing
Timeline of Dostoevskii’s Life and Works

Biography and Context

Chapter 1: The Early Dostoevskii
Introduction
“A Noble Vocation” (2012) by Robert Bird
The Ribbon Theft Incident from Confessions (1789) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
A Son’s Revenge from The Robbers (1781) by Friedrich Schiller
First Glimpse of Udolpho (1794) by Ann Radcliffe
The House of Monsieur Grandet in Eugénie Grandet (1833) by Honoré de Balzac
Little Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop (1841) by Charles Dickens
The Overcoat (1842) by Nikolai Gogol′ 
Poor Folk (1846) by Fedor Dostoevskii
First Night from “White Nights” (1848) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Letter to Gogol′ (1847) by Vissarion Belinskii
Three Documents from the Petrashevskii Trial (1849)
The Mock Execution: Letter to Mikhail Dostoevskii, December 22, 1849 by Fedor Dostoevskii

Chapter 2: Dostoevskii and His Contemporaries
Introduction
A Review of The Double (1846) by Vissarion Belinskii
Thoughts on The Double (1847) by Valerian Maikov
The Row with Turgenev: Letter to Apollon Maikov, August 16, 1867 by Fedor Dostoevskii
The Caricature of Turgenev in Demons (1872) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Reaction to Demons: Letter to Mariia Miliutina, December 3, 1872 by Ivan Turgenev
“Landowners’ Literature”: Letter to Nikolai Strakhov, May 18, 1871 by Fedor Dostoevskii
Thoughts on Anna Karenina (1877) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Tiny Alterations of Consciousness (1890) by Lev Tolstoy
From A Cruel Talent (1882) by Nikolai Mikhailovskii
Tolstoy and Dostoevskii (1902) by Dmitrii Merezhkovskii
The Root and the Flower: Dostoevskii and Turgenev (1993) by Robert Louis Jackson

Poetics

Chapter 3: Aesthetics
Introduction
Mr. —bov and the Question of Art (1861) by Fedor Dostoevskii
The Defense of the Ideal: Letter to Apollon Maikov, December 11, 1868 by Fedor Dostoevskii
Apropos of the Exhibition (1873) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Poet of the Underground (1875) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Dmitrii Karamazov on Beauty (1878) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Two Kinds of Beauty (1966) by Robert Louis Jackson
Dostoevskii’s Fantastic Pages (2006) by Vladimir Zakharov

Chapter 4: Characters
Introduction
Makar Devushkin (2009) by Carol Apollonio
Underground Man (1963) by Mikhail Bakhtin
Raskol′nikov (2002) by Konstantine Klioutchkine
Myshkin (1998) by Liza Knapp
Nastas′ia Filippovna (2004) by Sarah J. Young
Stavrogin (1969) by Joseph Frank
Fedor Karamazov (2003) by Deborah A. Martinsen
Ivan Karamazov and Smerdiakov (1992) by Harriet Murav
Alesha Karamazov (1977) by Valentina Vetlovskaia

Chapter 5: The Novel
Introduction
A Novel of Disintegration from the Notebooks for The Adolescent (1874) by Fedor Dostoevskii
An Exceptional Family from The Adolescent (1875) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Remaking the Noble Family Novel (2013) by Kate Holland
A New Kind of Hero (1963) by Mikhail Bakhtin
“Chronicle Time” in Dostoevskii (1979) by Dmitrii Likhachev
The Narrator of The Idiot (1981) by Robin Feuer Miller
Sideshadowing in Dostoevskii’s Novels (1994) by Gary Saul Morson
The Plot of Crime and Punishment (2016) by Robert L. Belknap

Chapter 6: From Journalism to Fiction
Introduction
Feuilleton, April 22, 1847 by Fedor Dostoevskii
The Petersburg Feuilletons (1979) by Joseph Frank
Dostoevskii’s “Vision on the Neva” (1979) by Joseph Frank
Excerpts from the Notebooks for The Idiot (1867) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Nastas′ia Filippovna’s History from The Idiot (1869) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Ol′ga Umetskaia and The Idiot (2017) by Katherine Bowers
Two Suicides from A Writer’s Diary (1876) by Fedor Dostoevskii
From “The Meek One: A Fantastic Story” (1876) by Fedor Dostoevskii
A Case Study: October, November, December 1876 (2013) by Kate Holland
A Writer’s Diary as a Historical Phenomenon (2004) by Igor′ Volgin
A Writer’s Diary, April 1877 issue in full

Themes

Chapter 7: Captivity, Free Will, and Utopia
Introduction
Dostoevskii’s Prison Years (2013) by James P. Scanlan
Prison Life: Letter to Mikhail Dostoevskii, February 22, 1854 by Fedor Dostoevskii
The Prison from Notes from the House of the Dead (1862) by Fedor Dostoevskii
The Eagle from Notes from the House of the Dead (1862) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Dostoevskii Responds to the Censorship Committee (1986) by Joseph Frank
Vera Pavlovna’s Fourth Dream from What Is to Be Done? (1863) by Nikolai Chernyshevskii
The Prison of Utopia (1986) by Joseph Frank
The Crystal Palace from Notes from Underground (1864) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Twice Two from Notes from Underground (1864) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Philosophical Pro et Contra in Part I of Crime and Punishment (1981) by Robert Louis Jackson
Meta-utopia (1981) by Gary Saul Morson
A Note on His Wife’s Death (1864) by Fedor Dostoevskii
The Speech at the Stone from Brothers Karamazov (1880) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Ode to Joy (2004) by Robert Louis Jackson

Chapter 8: Dostoevskii’s Others
Introduction
Portrait of Alei in Notes from the House of the Dead (1862) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Portrait of Isai Fomich in Notes from the House of the Dead (1862) by Fedor Dostoevskii
The Jewish Question (1877) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Notes from the House of the Dead (2008) by Susan McReynolds
From “A Few Words about George Sand” (1876) by Fedor Dostoevskii
From “About Women Again” (1876) by Fedor Dostoevskii
The Woman Question in Crime and Punishment (1994) by Nina Pelikan Straus
The Mothers Karamazov (2009) by Carol Apollonio

Chapter 9: Russia
Introduction
Fellow Convicts from Notes from the House of the Dead (1862) by Fedor Dostoevskii
After the Emancipation (1860) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Going Beyond Theory (1862) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Dostoevskii and the Slavophiles (2003) by Sarah Hudspith
The Coming Apocalypse from the Notebooks for Demons (1870) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Peasant Marei (1876) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Pushkin Speech (1880) by Fedor Dostoevskii

Chapter 10: God
Introduction
A Confession of Faith: Letter to Natal′ia Fonvizina, early March 1854 by Fedor Dostoevskii
Myshkin and Rogozhin Exchange Crosses in The Idiot (1869) by Fedor Dostoevskii
Dostoevskii’s Religious Thought (1903) by Lev Shestov
On the Grand Inquisitor (1921) by Nikolai Berdiaev
Hagiography in Brothers Karamazov (1985) by Nina Perlina
On the Koranic Motif in The Idiot and Demons (2012) by Diane Oenning Thompson
From Dostoevskii’s Religion (2005) by Steven Cassedy

Index