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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.

Yi Liu

Translator Casey Lee


The ancient Chinese people believed that they existed at the center of the world. With the arrival of Buddhism in China came a new cosmic worldview rooted in Indian culture that destabilized the Han [huaxia 華夏] people’s long-held notions of China as the Middle Kingdom [Zhongguo 中國] and had a profound influence on medieval Daoism. Under the influence of Buddhist cosmology, Daoists reformed their idea of Middle Kingdom, for a time relinquishing its signification of China as the center of the world. Daoists had to acknowledge the existence of multiple kingdoms outside China and non-Han peoples [manyi 蠻夷] who resided on the outskirts of the so-called Middle Kingdom as potential followers of Daoism. However, during the Tang dynasty, this capacious attitude ceased to be maintained or passed on. Instead, Tang Daoists returned to a notion of Middle Kingdom that reinstated the traditional divide between Han and non-Han peoples.

Wen Lei

Translator Kathryn Henderson


The Abbey Celebrating the Tang [Qingtang guan 慶唐觀], a Daoist temple on Mount Longjiao in southern Shanxi Province, played a special role in the religious history of China in the Tang dynasty. Because of the myth that Laozi himself emerged from this mountain during the war to found the Tang state, this abbey was closely linked to the political legitimation of the Tang. Even plants in this abbey were regarded as the harbingers of the fate of the state. The emperor Xuanzong erected a huge stele in the Abbey Celebrating the Tang, demonstrating the support enjoyed from the royal house. Images of the six emperors, from Tang Gaozu to Xuanzong, were also held in the abbey. After the collapse of the Tang dynasty in 907, the Abbey Celebrating the Tang lost its political, legitimizing privileges, but its connection with the local community continued to develop well into the Song, Liao, Jin, and later dynasties. The creation and transformation of the Abbey Celebrating the Tang not only show the political influence of popular religion in ancient medieval China but also provide an interesting case of how a Daoist temple grew in popularity and prestige after it lost favor with the state.