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Witzige umschreibungen

Adam Marek,K. Published by Comma Press,

Witzige Umschreibungen

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Roger B. Dostoevsky: Myths of Duality. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, This monograph approaches six of Dostoevsky's major works by applying various myths to them. Duality, in the title of the book, does not refer so much to the doubleness of some of the characters, as to contrasts, antitheses, and conflicts. The author's basic method is to give analyses and running commentaries on individual works by Dostoevsky.

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A concluding chapter draws together, reviews, and summarizes what this rather difficult book has tried to do. The Underground Man, for example, is considered in relation to the Trickster figure, in the chapter which this witzige umschreibungen found the most provocative and stimulating. Still more unexpected and fascinating although this reviewer thought it quite unconvincing is the chapter on the Idiotin which Myshkin is interpreted in terms of several analogies to the god Dionysos.

The Devils is seen as a reflection of the dualities of Daemons. The Brothers Karamazovin the most conventionally literary chapter, which is also the most valuable to the Dostoevsky scholar, is placed in the context of various channels of the Russian Orthodox religious tradition. A student of Dostoevsky is likely to learn more from this book about myth than about Dostoevsky—the s on the ancient Greek origins and other aspects of the myths of Dionysos, for example, are very illuminating, even if Anderson seems to be forcing Myshkin into a Procrustean as well as a Witzige umschreibungen bed.

The interpretation of Sonia in Crime and Punishment also seems rather fuzzy. However, the book will be of interest to students of Dostoevsky, even if the insights we glean and the unexpected, valuable new connections come in incidental remarks, in asides and suggestions, in the corners of the study, rather than in its central line of argument.

The book is not an witzige umschreibungen read. This is because the ideas are difficult, and sometimes, in addition, the sentences and the arguments are constructed in a manner which is not user-friendly. Regrettably, some important sources are missing. Neither the text, the footnotes, nor the bibliography show any of the author's having drawn on some of the important recent works of Western as well as Soviet writers: there is no reference to Robin Miller's book on The Idiotor Vetlovskaya's several studies of various works by Dostoevsky.

Recent Soviet publications are the most neglected. Some older studies are also ignored: Berdiaev and Zander are missing, as are Sylvia Plath's and others' studies of doubleness in Dostoevsky. The book as a whole is sensitive and ingenious, but unrigorous in its method. George Gibian Cornell University Leslie A. The Experience of Time in "Crime and Punishment. Leslie Johnson's study is useful to both scholar and student in hat it brings into one place a variety of considerations of time in relation to literature: narrative as a temporal witzige umschreibungen form; time as a theme in itself; subjective versus objective time; temporal representation as a of the structure of consciousness during a particular historical period; "crisis" time, in which an instant becomes equal to years, decades; and artistic time as only a representation of objective time in the narrative.

In addition the author provides a bibliography of some ninety items. She selects for special attention in her Introduction writings on time in Dostoevsky by Likhachev; Bakhtin emphasis on space over time; coexistence and simultaneity ; Voloshin identifies solid, objective time framework ; Kirpotin Dostoevsky's acute sensitivity to passage of time in Crime and Punishment ; Holquist points out the correspondence between the representation of objective time and the objective experience of the characters ; Popova insights in narrative time and psychological time ; Catteau "potentialized" time ; Mochul'skii humanization and spiritualization of time ; Pletnev Dostoevsky's psychology of personal time ; and Ermilova Dostoevsky's treatment of bizarre states of consciousness in subjective terms.

Johnson sees all of the above as having a common methodological bias that prevents them from grasping "the true critical usefulness of subjective time in understanding the novel. Johnson's critical approach is to employ subjective time as "an interpretive tool for clarifying the novel's urgent substantive concerns" — the vital concerns of its characters.

My impression is that Johnson does not succeed in opening any new doors with this approach. Where she is at her most provocative and interesting — as in discussing the nature of Raskol'nikov's tragedy in schism and alienation; the intentions of Porfiry I disagree with her, but that is incidental ; or the relationship of the epilogue to the main part of the novel she seems to see it right --she scarcely mentions time, or refers to it only perfunctorily: because in fast a special analysis of time is not required, for the most part, to reach a true understanding of the novel.

Probably an entire book oriented toward time in Crime and Punishment is not justified. A more serious criticism of the book is its too great use of jargon and empty terminology.

Johnson, " Raskol'nikov senses the eternal ground of his being. In addition, there is a pervasive eschatological theme in the novel, which le to the repeated use of the Greek word eschaton by Johnson, as in " Johnson seems to run out of ways to speak of time and occasionally gets desperate, as when she refers to Raskol'nikov's "anguish of on-flowing, out-flowing time.

They truly reflect the style of the entire book. Any writer needs a good editor; it is unfortunate that Leslie Johnson evidently was unable to find hers. Donald M. Fiene University of Tennessee, Knoxville N. Chelovek v tvorchestve F. Moskva: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, Cloth, 1r. Kashina's stated goal is to study Dostoevsky's treatment of his literary protagonists and, by extension, to examine his view of man in general.

The manner in which the author chooses to organize this material is closely matched by her critical approach. Both are well-informed, traditional, and, at times, irritating. The first two chapters in the study serve as an introduction to the main topic. The first, "Dostoevsky's Realism", deals with Dostoevsky's artistic methods and style. It includes a section on Dostoevsky's language where the discussion of the chronicler-narrator's language is one of the most stimulating parts of Kashina's book.

The manner in which Dostoevsky uses the social setting of his time and his use of psychological analysis form the second chapter. I will have occasion to comment on the former later; as far as psychological analysis is concerned, Kashina discusses Dostoevsky's reluctance to fully explain human behavior, hence the effect of unexpectedness and the multi-motivational aspect of his heroes' behavior.

That Dostoevsky is primarily interested in the mental world of his heroes, she argues, is to some degree an illusion. He does not so much analyze them, but as in Notes he hears them out. Similarly, he is not interested specifically in the internal processes of egotism or altruism, but, so to speak, in the sociology of these qualities, of their influences on others pp.

The last three parts of the book deal with Dostoevsky's relationship to his heroes and the world through, what Kashina argues, are the basic esthetic — the beautiful, the tragic, and the comic.

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By the beautiful Kashina means Dostoevsky's concept of moral beauty, both individual and social as it is expressed not only in his ideal witzige umschreibungen Myshkin and Alesha Karamazov, but also in ordinary men who, like Dmitrii, are able to achieve spiritual rebirth. The tragic and the comic, which, together with the beautiful, form parts of Dostoevsky's system of values, are seen as infringements against the idea of beauty.

Kashina divides her chapter on the tragic into smaller sub-topics: "Tragic Character", "Tragic Tone" which turns out to be a discussion of death in Dostoevsky's works"The Tragedy of Self-Will", and "The Tragedy of the Underground". In the last chapter she defines different types of the comic witzige umschreibungen then examines how they function in various situations and characters. In discussing both the tragic and the comic Kashina rounds up the usual suspects, but her cross-examination is often spirited and, at times, provocative.

In fact, the book has much that is positive to recommend it. Kashina is very good in the introductory chapters, when she discusses the reasons for the rejection of Dostoevsky's major works by his contemporaries, who accused him of distorting reality. Kashina argues that while Dostoevsky had a unique manner of transforming reality, his model of reality did not correspond to that of his readers.

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The latter, accustomed to the physically and psychologically detailed descriptions in the novels of Goncharov, Turgenev, Balzac, or Flaubert, found Dostoevsky's novels rather barren. They were equally suspicious of the numerous witzige umschreibungen in which Dostoevsky presented his literary heroes. There were realistically motivated social types; those with a single dominant trait Sonya as hope, Svidrigailov as despair ; enigmatic characters behaving in ways seemingly contrary to their true nature; and those exhibiting inconsistent behavior. Nor were they able to deal with the heavy concentration of "cruel" situations or with the atmosphere of mystery, both of which were perceived as features of Romanticism.

The difficulties the contemporary reader had in decoding Dostoevsky's works are further complicated by Dostoevsky's manner of narration. While witzige umschreibungen and critic could somehow cope with the traditional "objective" manner of narration used in Crime and Punishmentwhere the position of the author was comprehensible, in his later novels Dostoevsky used some form of limited narration.

The readers and often the critics of Dostoevsky's time, blind to the rules of literary convention, placed the same demands on literary facts as they did on actual narration. Their confusion becomes even more evident when they were faced with Dostoevsky's naive and ironic narrator. The contradiction between the objective sense of the narrated material and the sense attributed to it by the narrator complicated the reception of the literary work. The reader was lost when confronted by the emotional variety of Dostoevsky's universe where the serious appeared together with the comic, tragic events were cloaked in irony, and the narrator's mask served to obscure the true visage of the author.


In addition, the reader, in his search for the author's real position, tended to find it in the theories of the hero-thinkers Raskol'nikov, Ivan instead of in the words of the rather unassuming narrators. Kashina is a very confident critic, not reluctant to respectfully take Bakhtin to task. She argues that if Bakhtin's theory of polyphony — the characters' independence, their equality of voice She argues, and it is difficult not to agree, that the protagonists of all of Dostoevsky's novels are within the author's united evaluative field of vision. We know his likes and dislikes.

Thus the reader is filled witzige umschreibungen disgust for Fedor Karamazov, Luzhin, or Lambert, and understands that the sympathies of the author are with Myshkin, Alesha, and Sonya. Even in the case of the hero-thinkers like Ivan whom she argues Bakhtin had primarily in mindwhere the reader has cause to suspect that the author may be of a like mind, the novel in its totality undermines Ivan's position. The places in the book where it is difficult to share Kashina's interpretations are those where she insists on the impact of the social background on the protagonists.

On the one hand, she points out that Dostoevsky believed that man must answer for his actions no matter what the circumstances and that neither education, improper environment, nor social poverty justifies evil.

On the other, her own beliefs run counter to those of Dostoevsky, and since one of her tasks is to bring Dostoevsky closer in line with the thinking of the radical intelligentsia her statement that he deeply respected Chernyshevskii can at best be only partially true and with post-revolutionary thinking, she has to resort to explanations that are not always convincing.

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Thus she presents a foreground-background kind of argumentation where the behavior of the secondary characters is conditioned by their adherence to a social class, while the protagonists of the first order are "psychologically typical": witzige umschreibungen behavior is not mandated by the fact of their belonging to a social class; they are only loosely tied to their place in society.

It is at the times when Kashina seems most determined to argue environmental causality on behavior selective or otherwise that the thought arises: "If the universe had wanted correctly executed social novels, it would have created Gleb Uspensky. Ultimately they are creative. What is troubling, however, is the book's partisan and, at times, aggressive tone, especially evident in the introduction and the conclusion, that has very little in common with Dostoevsky's ideas of universal brotherhood and which is as much out of place in its post-facto irrelevance as works by bourgeois ideologists as Kashina points out who use Dostoevsky's authority to argue against contemporary socialist societies.

Surely the cause of Dostoevsky criticism is little served by her contention that Raskol'nikov's Napoleonic fantasy, the Adolescent's Rothschildian dream, and the theory of a mindless paradise for the masses under the Grand Inquisitor's elite, are "ideas quite characteristic of the capitalist world and, as history has shown, ominously developing and alive to this day.