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Waiting for the End of the World

European Dimensions, 950–1200

Series:

Tsvetelin Stepanov

The French president Charles de Gaulle spoke of a Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals”. Europe was spatially formed with these topographic parameters from the late 10th century onwards, with the massive Christianization of its inhabitants. At that time, however, all three monotheistic religions already had a steady presence there. Could such a macro-space be thought-and-narrated from a macro-perspective, in view of its medieval past? This has already been done through common ʻdenominatorsʻ such as the Migration Period, wars, trade, spread of Christianity. Could it also be seen through a common religious-philosophical and spiritual phenomenon – the Anticipation of the End of the world among Christians, Muslims, and Jews? This book gives a positive answer to the last question.

Appendix

Translation of ‘Characterisation of Belinsky (Information and illumination)’ by M.P. Pogodin

David Foreman and Irene Zohrab

Irene Zohrab

M.P. Pogodin’s essay on ‘Characterisation of Belinsky’ was published in The Citizen (Grazhdanin) under F.M. Dostoevsky’s editorship in response to his first issue of A Writer’s Diary (Dnevnik pisatelia) launched on January 1, 1873. Dostoevsky represents Belinsky, his former mentor, as an impassioned atheist and socialist, who tried to convert him to his materialist belief. By implication Belinsky becomes the scapegoat for Dostoevsky’s earlier involvement with the socialist-orientated Petrashevsky Circle that resulted in his arrest and sentence for reading Belinsky’s banned letter to Gogol. Pogodin disputes Dostoevsky’s representation of Belinsky by demonstrating the critic’s commitment to Christian faith, whose ‘live’ voice affected his audience due to ‘particular circumstances’ (censorship) and whose changeability was natural. Dostoevsky’s partisan allusions to Belinsky (including verbal to Vs. Solov’ev), while not providing any context to Belinsky’s pronouncements, nor engagement with socio-philosophical ideas, such as individual anarchism (Max Stirner), undermine not only Belinsky, but subvert a wide range of Western philosophical humanist principles espoused at various times by him, from ‘love of humanity’ and ‘personal freedom’, to individualism.

Géza S. Horváth

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.

Denis Zhernokleyev

It is common to see Myshkin, the principal character of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, as a failed lover and a compassionate saintly figure, who gets entangled in a love triangle but cannot embody it. This paper challenges such a view and argues that Myshkin fully incarnates the violent dynamic of desire that governs the novel. With the help of René Girard’s notion of mimetic desire, the paper explores Myshkin’s relationship with Rogozhin as erotic rivalry. Instead of seeing the two characters as autonomous entities, it is suggested that they should be viewed as doubles, as two poles of the same consciousness. On this view, Myshkin’s compassion and Rogozhin’s lust become two different manifestations of the same desire, united by a conflict of interest, which drives the love triangle towards a violent resolution.

Jordi Morillas

In this article we analyse the Marxist interpretation of F. M. Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Although Raskolnikov’s worldview may share some features with a socialist point of view, the hero of Dostoevsky’s first novel of ideas represents a complete ideological antithesis to Socialism. Thanks to a careful analysis of Raskolnikov’s utterances and with the help of Merezhkovsky’s reading of the novel, we conclude that if there is a Dostoevsky novel which resists a Socialist understanding, then this novel is Crime and Punishment.

Series:

Ruxandra Diaconu

Abstract

In his well-known Campus Trilogy, David Lodge deals with various issues in a gradual progression, starting from the campus world in the first novel Changing Places (1975), moving forward to intercultural relations in the conference novel Small World (1984) and eventually including the topic of the world outside academia in his final campus novel, Nice Work (1988).

This paper focuses on Nice Work and the relationship between academia and economy. The novel is built upon the contrast between university, campus, and academic life on the one hand, and companies, business and factory life on the other hand. The interrelation of these different worlds is unavoidable and the paper compares them and analyzes the manner in which the main female character belonging to the academic world interacts with factory workers as well as with company managers. The novel raises topical issues regarding the future development of academia in the context of the increasingly industrialized contemporary world.

Series:

Artur Blaim

Abstract

This paper presents a survey of academic institutions and their functions within ideal societies in early modern utopian fiction. The first utopias to introduce full-scale institutions of teaching and/or research are Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1627), Tomasso Campanella’s Civitas Solis (1623), Johann Valentin Andreae Christianopolis (1619), and Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World (1666). Like other institutions introduced in utopian fiction they serve a double purpose of co-constituting the ideal state and as a persuasive macro-sign aimed at convincing the reader of the desirability of the proposed model. Occasionally, like in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), the academy and applied scientific research become objects of critique and ridicule. In such cases they serve as manifestations of vain attempts to control the natural world – attempts which are motivated by human pride.