Profane Challenge and Orthodox Response in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment


Profane Challenge and Orthodox Response in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment presents for the first time an examination of this great novel as a work aimed at winning back “target readers”, young contemporary radicals, from Utilitarianism, nihilism, and Utopian Socialism. Dostoevsky framed the battle in the context of the Orthodox Church and oral tradition versus the West. He relied on knowledge of the Gospels as text received orally, forcing readers to react emotionally, not rationally, and thus undermining the very basis of his opponents’ arguments. Dostoevsky saves Raskol’nikov, underscoring the inadequacy of rational thought and reminding his readers of a heritage discarded at their peril. This volume should be of special interest to secondary and university students, as well as to readers interested in literature, particularly, in Russian literature, and Dostoevsky.

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Biographical Note

Janet Tucker is Professor of Russian Language and Literature at the University of Arkansas. She is the author of Innokentij Annenskij and the Acmeist Doctrine and Revolution Betrayed: Jurij Oleša’s Envy. She is also the editor of Against the Grain: Parody, Satire and Intertextuality in Russian Literature. In addition, she has contributed chapters in books, with pieces on Nikolai Gogol, Jurij Oleša and Isaak Babel. Her articles include a study of Aleksandr Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, an essay on Varlam Shalamov, and a recent article plus a book chapter on Nikolai Gogol.

Table of contents

Chapter One: The Significance of Orality and the Oral Tradition: Dostoevsky Counter-Attacks
Chapter Two: The Religious Symbolism of Cloth and Clothing in Crime and Punishment
Chapter Three: Iconic Images in Crime and Punishment: Russia’s Western Capital
Chapter Four: “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” in Crime and Punishment
Chapter Five: The Significance of Alterity or “Otherness” in Crime and Punishment: Russian Culture and Western Change
Chapter Six: The Epilogue Reconsidered

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