Essay on Literature and Politics the Impact of Dostoevsky

9575 Words Dec 30th, 2011 39 Pages

Dostoevsky and the Legend of the Grand Inquisitor, by Vasily
Rozanov. Translated and with an Afterword by Spencer E. Roberts. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1972. Pp. xi. 232. $12.50.

Political Apocalypse. A Study of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, by
Ellis Sandoz. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971, Pp. xviii. 263. $13.50.*

ostoevsky's great novels have spawned a vast library of critical 1/literature, a library which extends well beyond traditional literary criticism to cover the range of disciplines dealing with the human condition: philosophy, theology, psychology and sociology in particular. In this effusion of comment the real Dostoevsky
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(He was, after all, a creative writer and not a systematic philosopher.) (2) Assuming a positive answer, how did Dostoevsky apply his philosophy to the political issues of his time? (3) Do Dostoevsky's views command support today
4. Ronald Hingley, The Undiscovered Dostoevsky (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1962), p. 228. 5. Rozanov defends his choice as follows: "...the 'Legend' constitutes, as it were, the heart of the whole work [ The Brothers Karamazov], which is only grouped around it as variations are around their theme; in it is concealed the author's cherished idea, without which not only this novel would never have been written, but many of his other works as



outside psychiatric institutions (or, for that matter, inside those where political dissidents are incarcerated)? The two books before us deal in great detail with the first of these questions, and provide a foundation for considering the other two. Vasily Rozanov was the first Russian critic to anlyze Dostoevsky's philosophical views in a major study. A brilliant writer and eccentric religious philosopher, Rozanov was a younger contemporary of Dostoevsky who married the latter's erstwhile mistress, Apollinaria Suslova. Rozanov's study, Dostoevsky and the Legend of the Grand Inquisitor was first published in St. Petersburg in 1891 but waited eight decades before Spencer Roberts made it available in a graceful and accurate English

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