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IlanaSimons
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Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works

Here, post any information you have about Dostoevsky, the man. What was the story of his life? What literary goals or social concerns did he have?
Also feel free to post personal reactions. What do you make of his voice? What have you thought of this or his other books?



Ilana
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Jimbo1580
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works

I have read a few books by and about Dostoevsky. He was a very complex man and the more you read his works, the more you see how that complexity is expressed in the themes and actions of his characters. He really had an insight into the human mind and soul and I think he was both troubled and proud of it. I think that his experience in prison and closeness to death by execution really shaped his later works and really made him the literary great that he was.
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Laurel
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works



Jimbo1580 wrote:
I have read a few books by and about Dostoevsky. He was a very complex man and the more you read his works, the more you see how that complexity is expressed in the themes and actions of his characters. He really had an insight into the human mind and soul and I think he was both troubled and proud of it. I think that his experience in prison and closeness to death by execution really shaped his later works and really made him the literary great that he was.




What are some of the books you've read by and about Dostoevsky, Jim?
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works

Malcolm Muggeridge has a fine essay about Dostoevsky in his book A Third Testament. You can download it for free here (go to bottom of page):

http://www.plough.com/ebooks/thirdtestament.html


or purchase it here:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=muggeridge+third+testament&z=y&cds2Pid=9481
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Jimbo1580
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works

Books I have read by him are The Brothers Karamazov, Demons (or The Possessed), and Notes From Underground.

The books I have read about him are a short biography about him and others called "Dostoevsky, Kierrkegaard, Nietzsche, and Kafka" by William Hubben and "Political Apocalypse" by Ellis Sandoz, which is specifically a study of the Grand Inquisitor chapter in The Brothers Karamazov, but also discusses him and his themes.
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Laurel
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works



Jimbo1580 wrote:
Books I have read by him are The Brothers Karamazov, Demons (or The Possessed), and Notes From Underground.

The books I have read about him are a short biography about him and others called "Dostoevsky, Kierrkegaard, Nietzsche, and Kafka" by William Hubben and "Political Apocalypse" by Ellis Sandoz, which is specifically a study of the Grand Inquisitor chapter in The Brothers Karamazov, but also discusses him and his themes.




I just read "The Grand Inquisitor" today, and "Political Apocalypse" is a perfect name for it.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Jimbo1580
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works

That chapter and the the chapter before it "Rebellion" are pretty amazing. I've reread them recently after reading "Political Apocolypse".

"Political Apolcolypse" is pretty good. The Brothers Karamazov is very symbolic and this book brings to light a lot of the symbolism and references to both the Bible and Dostoevsky's other works. I would recommend it if you have the time.
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Laurel
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works



Jimbo1580 wrote:
That chapter and the the chapter before it "Rebellion" are pretty amazing. I've reread them recently after reading "Political Apocolypse".

"Political Apolcolypse" is pretty good. The Brothers Karamazov is very symbolic and this book brings to light a lot of the symbolism and references to both the Bible and Dostoevsky's other works. I would recommend it if you have the time.




Thanks. I've just found a copy. It occurred to me while reading Ivan's explanation of how he came to think up his "poem" that perhaps "The Brothers Karamazov" as a whole is Dostoevsky's Morality Play. What you just said about symbolism would add to that idea.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Jimbo1580
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works

"The Brothers Karamazov" defintiely shows the moral struggle that Dostoevsky was dealing with in his head, as well as the struggle to believe in God when there is so much evidence to convince him not to. When younger, he was part of a revolutionary group and probably an atheist. Then, after imprisonment, I think he realized he could not live that way anymore and that he would go crazy. I think he tried to force himself to try to believe in God and some sort of ultimate justice because if there wasn't, then he realized that our lives were then meaningless and there would be no justice...leading to Ivan's famous quote (to paraphrase because I forget what the exact quote is) "if there is no God, then everything is legal".

I hope I didn't just talk in circles!
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Laurel
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works

Jimbo wrote:
"I think he tried to force himself to try to believe in God and some sort of ultimate justice because if there wasn't, then he realized that our lives were then meaningless and there would be no justice."

Sort of like Donne's "BATTER my heart, three person'd God."

'...leading to Ivan's famous quote (to paraphrase because I forget what the exact quote is) "if there is no God, then everything is legal".'

This morning I reread Ivan's discussion leading up to "The Grand Inquisitor" and got really worried about him. By obsessing so much over evil and yet doing nothing to help those he can help, he is headed for a mental break-down.

Dostevsky finally wrote to a correspondent:

"If someone proved to me that Christ is outside the truth and that in reality the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth."
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Choisya
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works

Early Russian biographers of FD thought that he had epilepsy and Freud's clinical observations outlined in Dostoevsky and Parricide were for years taken as the definitive authority on family violence. In that essay Freud argues (wrongly, subsequent critics have almost unanimously agreed) that Dostoevsky's illness was not physiological but the consequence of hysterical reactions brought on by wanting his father dead and feeling guilt when his father was murdered. (Again, shades of Kafka...) Freud used the term hystero-epilepsy to describe Dostoevsky's condition, although other sources more generally agree that the novelist was suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy brought on by secondary syphilis. He is also believed to have suffered from hypergraphia - the compulsion to write, or to communicate.

Whatever his illness(es), he was a troubled soul.:smileysad:
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LitEditor
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Re: Dostoevsky: The Man and His Other Works


Laurel wrote:
Malcolm Muggeridge has a fine essay about Dostoevsky in his book A Third Testament. You can download it for free here (go to bottom of page):

http://www.plough.com/ebooks/thirdtestament.html

or purchase it here:...



Nice find, Laurel -- and here's a more direct link to A Third Testament.

-Bill T.
Lit. and Fiction Editor

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