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Tolstoy or Dostoevsky : an essay in the old criticism

However, one exception to the prevailingtrend was the early work of Leonid Grossman, who wrote numerous articlesand books about Dostoevsky before World War II.



The manner of writing by dictation suited Dostoevsky; his method involvedtwo stages: (1) long planning and thought, the record of which he left inhis voluminous notebooks; (2) the dictation of the text to Anna Grigorievna,and her preparation of a written or typed text for his revision.

Tolstoy or dostoevsky an essay in the old criticism

Tolstoy or Dostoevsky - Books on Google Play

Get this from a library! Tolstoy or Dostoevsky : an essay in the old criticism. [George Steiner]

This paper responds to recently debated questions of “reading Dostoevsky religiously” by investigating themes of personal transformation and ego transcendence in his works. They are seen as the writer’s chief response to the crisis of modernity. Contrary to conventional wisdom that sees a uniquely Russian derivation of his religious ideas, recent studies argue that motifs of Eastern Orthodoxy are occasional, and mostly peripheral in his novels. The present essay concurs that religious ideas in Dostoevsky have a syncretic foundation, and argues that his religious themes center on the idea of authentic self, elements of which emanate from sources familiar to Dostoevsky in syncretic philosophy of German Romanticism and Neoplatonism. Instances of visionary experience, epiphany, and personal insight in Dostoevsky’s narratives posit the reality of transcendent awareness where authentic self is aligned with primary consciousness beyond the ego or apparent self. Prince Myshkin, Elder Zosima, and Alyosha Karamazov are discussed as examples of inwardly illumined characters, who typify embodiments of the authentic self revealed by insight of a numinous quality. These works and selected nonfiction writings are cited to show that the focal point of Dostoevsky’s critique of modern secular reason and so-called rational egoism is the pre-modern idea that authentic self is revealed by a moral and aesthetic vision emanating from a transcendent order of being.

Dostoevsky had a life-long love for the Book of Job. In his memoirs Dostoevsky's brother, Andrei, recalls that the brothers' first reader was an adaptation of Old and New Testament Bible stories, which included the story of Job. Father Zosima recalls being spiritually overwhelmed, hearing, at eight years old, the Book of Job being read in church on Great Monday (Strastnyi ponedel'nik). Much later, in June of 1875, Dostoevsky wrote his wife that he was enthusiastically reading, probably rereading, the Book of Job (29.2:43). Eventually Dostoevsky would incorporate Father Zosima's interpretation of the Book of Job -- that is, essentially his own -- in his indirect response to the logically "irrefutable" arguments of Ivan Karamazov developed in "Rebellion" and "The Grand Inquisitor." Since Father Zosima's treatment of Job is both traditional and highly idiosyncratic, it is worth exploring in greater depth, because he employs the Book of Job not only to respond to the accusations of Ivan Karamazov regarding divine injustice but also to advance his own philosophy of love of the earth and universal responsibility. Zosima's Job, in the end is like no other, as God himself says of Job in the Book of Job, but it is the Job Dostoevsky needed to defend God's world against its nineteenth-century detractors. Our present-day socialists, Dostoevsky writes "vehemently deny God's creation, God's world, and its significance” (sozdanie bozhie, mir bozhii i smysl ego).

Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism

Tolstoy Or Dostoevsky An Essay In The Old Criticism

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