In the Notebooks to Crime and Punishment, kept by Dostoevsky during 1864–1865, we find a calligraphic annotation «Orenoko» and one abbreviated variant «Oren<oko>». While these two caligraphic entries appear to be accidental and without much bearing on the genesis of Crime and Punishment, in actual fact these entries are traces of an alternative conception of the novel with which Dostoevsky was working, which is connected with the question of the meaning of life and the philosophical journey of his heroes. The theme of South America figured prominently in these deliberations, represented by the River Orinoko (the second largest river of the South American continent, called the «Big River» by the Indians), by the figure and destiny of Christopher Columbus and by Daniel Defoes’s novel Robinson Crusoe. Dostoevsky’s letters and works testify to his abiding interest in the discovery of America, the slave trade, and the attempts of the followers of Fourierism to establish there a society along new just principles. This article investigates the traces of the theme of Orenoko, the discovery of America and Defoe’s novel in Dostoevsky’s works, with special emphasis on the Notebooks to Crime and Punishment The semantic nexus “Robinson Crusoe — Christopher Columbus” in its portrayal of one of the incarnations of a “positively beautiful man”, ready to pronounce his “new word” and advance the history of mankind, forms an expanded paradigm that includes the appearance of “uninhabited island” as the last refuge for a talented person not recognized and rejected by the crowd. Simultaneously, it depicts the genesis of Dostoevsky’s “artistic Word”.
More than 200 sheets of Dostoevsky’s manuscripts contain drawings, among them mainly portraits, sketches of Gothic windows and arches and calligrams. Dostoevsky’s graphic work is basically auto-communicative, not intended for a public. The graphics are not an illustration of the corresponding novels but express associations often of a highly private nature and have a meaning for the work that is often only very indirect and difficult to grasp. Dostoevsky’s graphics thus require hermeneutic effort, which has been achieved by Professor Konstantin Barsht of St. Petersburg in an impressive book, published in three separate editions in Russian, English and Italian. The decoding of Dostoevsky’s drawings is a most valuable contribution to Dostoevsky scholarship. It will serve to support new readings of Dostoevsky’s works or readings already in existence which have not received a favorable reception because of existing preconceptions about Dostoevsky’s system of beliefs relevant to his aesthetic production.
In this paper I analyse the internal splitting in Raskolnikov’s character, and the path which leads him from fragmentation to integration. The splitting of the character is explained as complemented by the split in the novel through the ‘surprising’ end of the novel, both in its style and brevity, i.e. the resolution of the internal conflict via Raskolnikov’s mystical turn to faith. The splitting comprises the fact that Raskolnikov must alienate himself in radical alterity in order to come to his authentic self; the split between the fictitious, false self of the extraordinary man and the realistic and true self of the ordinary man at the end of the novel tells the story of how the fragmented self, paradoxically, opens up the way to the integrated self. For this purpose I have relied mostly on Lacanian concepts, as Lacan’s idea of the integrated ‘I’ is closely related to the ethical act by which the Symbolic is transgressed, and which represents a radical alienation in the Real concomitant with the temporary suspension of the Symbolic.
The article contains an analysis of the manuscript materials to the novel The Idiot, comprised in three of Dostoevsky’s notebooks, dated bewteen 1867 and 1868. The article examines the probelms of the creative conception of the novel, the establishment of the text and the sequence of notes, as well as the study of Dostoevsky’s caligraphy. As a result of a critical evaluation of the scholarly publications of The Idiot, a revision of the Soviet tradition of establishing «versions» of the novel in the drafts to the novel is proposed. Comparing the published draft texts with the original, we were able to correct and give textological commentary to many previous readings of the drafts. We paid particular attention to the interpretation of Dostoevsky’s use of capital and small letters in the drafts, including the designation of the main hero by Dostoevsy as «idiot»/«Idiot». We examined the functional and semantic significance of the caligraphic writing found among the drafts to the novel. Our analysis shows that caligraphy had an artistic meaning not only in connection with the drafts to which it related but in the formation of the total conception of the novel and its problem statement, while it also determined Dostoevsky’s creative process. It is not an accident that Dostoevsky’s most intense experimentation with caligraphy coincides with the period of the writing of The Idiot, whose hero is an expert in caligraphy.
An interdisciplinary study of dream motivation in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, using Freud’s dream analysis as a theoretical framework for interpreting the dream motif in the novel. Following R.D.Laing, who in The Self and Others proposed Dostoevsky’s protagonist, Raskolnikov, as the victim of his mother’s duplicity, and also drawing on Mikhail Bakhtin’s analysis of “microdialog”, I show that the dream in which Raskolnikov re-enacts the murder of Alyona, the money-lender, is a disguise (dream symbol) for his wishing his mother dead (dream work) and that, though he never becomes conscious of it, Raskolnikov is restored to mental health only when his mother is, in reality, dead. I maintain that such a covert explanation for Raskolnikov’s crime can only be accounted for in the “hidden architecture” (Foucault) of the narrative, but that, following Freud, there may still remain obscurities which resist interpretation.
Beginning with an exploration of the core similarities between Bakhtin’s and Buber’s understanding of the dialogic relationship, and going on to discuss the validity of this concept based on aspects of our physical reality in the quantum world, this article demonstrates how silence plays an integral role in the creation of that relationship. Further instances of the dialogic relationship in The Brothers Karamazov are analysed, focusing specifically on Zosima’s relationship with the divine, the relationship between Ivan and Alyosha, and the relationship between Ivan and Smerdyakov. In revealing a truth about personality, Dostoevsky succeeded in revealing a truth about the world.
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.