The Great Sinner, the Harlot and the Eternal Book: The Genre of the Romance as Plot and Textual Motif in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in Comparison with Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter

in The Dostoevsky Journal
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The paper analyzes the various parallels of plot and text in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punisment (1866) and Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter (1850). Similarity of motifs in these novels has already been noticed in the critical literature but more detailed research is still lacking. In this paper, it is claimed that Hawthorne’s novel provided Dostoevsky not only with the material for certain narrative situations, motifs and characters in Crime and Punishment but also influenced the heterogeneity and complexity of the genre in Dostoevsky’s novel. To illuminate this relationship of the two novels, the article examines the characteristics of the genre of romance, the eschatological plot of revelation and the apocalyptic imagery proper to the romance. The study is focused on the common metaphorical basis of the two texts, such as the biblical and mythical semantics of the motifs of New Jerusalem, pearl, treasure etc., which circumscribes the transformation process in the correspondence of tresaure and word, letter and text.

The Great Sinner, the Harlot and the Eternal Book: The Genre of the Romance as Plot and Textual Motif in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in Comparison with Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter

in The Dostoevsky Journal

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