• "Social Sciences"
  • Date:04-01-98(SSC-No.002)
  • Size:9,219 Kb.
  • Words: 1431

BOOK REVIEW

Ludmila Saraskina, Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Overcoming the Demons.

Moscow, Soglasiye Publishers, 1996, 462 pp.

Ludmila Saraskina, a noted Dostoyevsky scholar, has written her book in the genre of a literary investigation. To put it briefly, the main idea of the book boils down to the relationship between facts and fiction in Dostoyevsky's novels, between real-life prototypes and literary characters. Saraskina focuses on the personality of the great writer himself as the source of plots and characters in The Possessed and in his other major novels such as Poor Folk, The Insulted and the Injured, The Friend of the Family, and the short story "Bobok". If Saraskina had chosen to write on the subject in the usual academic manner of such studies, she would have achieved solid results, producing a professional piece of academic research, similar to numerous other studies. But she would have probably failed to make her discovery that had only became possible thanks to the unorthodox treatment of her material. Turning to the subject of prototype- character relationship a traditional one for literary scholarship Saraskina finds a new and unexpected aspect, the mystic nature of which had kept it outside scholarly research heretofore. She establishes the presence of a constant and inevitable retroactive connection between the author's literary work and his personal life, when his books become blueprints, shaping up his fate. Each time Dostoyevsky turned to his own life for themes and plots, his inspiration transformed real-life events into artistic forms that started living their own full-blooded life and develop according to their own inner logic, drawing their creator into a maelstrom of passions and events, dictating their will to him, and even unceremoniously interfering with his own personal life.

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