DOSTOYEVSKY AND HIS HERITAGE
ДАТА ПУБЛИКАЦИИ: 23 сентября 2021
ИСТОЧНИК: Science in Russia, №6, 2011, C.83-91 (c)
© Georgi FRIEDLAENDER
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by Georgi FRIEDLAENDER*
Feodor Dostoyevsky is a major phenomenon in 19th-century Russian literature destined to evolve into a trend-setter of world culture of the 20th century. His deep sympathy and compassion with human sufferings, no matter in what sophisticated and contradictory forms they might be manifest; his great emotional involvement with all the humble and humiliated, the outcasts of the society of the landed-nobility and bourgeoisie, be it a talented man caught in the maze of his delusions, or a fallen woman, a child--all that has made Dostoyevsky into one of the world's greats--a great humanist writer.
Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow on November 11 (October 30, by the old Russian calendar), 1821. In 1843 he graduated from the Military Engineers' School in St. Petersburg, where he got enrolled at his father's wish. Upon graduation he got a job at the Department of Engineers, but resigned his commission a year after for literary pursuits. In 1844 his first work, the translation of Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac, came off the press.
In May 1845 Dostoyevsky finished his first novel, Poor Folk (Poor People)... Early in 1846 this novel was off the press, and it was noticed by the reading public and critics, and so was the long story The Double that came out almost simultaneously. Already in his first works Dostoyevsky showed much sympathy for the unfortunate lot. The novelist was able to pry into the depths of the human soul and perceive the tragic sides of life, a feature characteristic of his subsequent creations. In 1847 the writer started attending meetings of the Petrashevsky revolutionary society, and early in 1849 he joined two other socialist groups set up by N. Speshnev and S. Durov, the Petrashevsky men.
Arrested on April 23, 1849, in a criminal case initiated against Petrashevsky and his men, Dostoyevsky was kept in solitary confinement in the fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul and sentenced to death by a firing squad. On the 22nd of December of 1849 he and other Petrashevsky men were taken to Semyonov Platz in St. Petersburg where the death sentence was read out. The condemned went through all the preliminaries: the drums rolled, the firing squad was drawn up, and the priest held up the crucifix for the last kiss. The prisoners were blindfolded, and the first three were led and tied to the posts, facing the firing squad. The order rang out: "Present arms!" The soldiers'
* Georgi Friedlaender (1915-1995)--a literary critic; elected to the national Academy of Sciences in 1990. From 1955 on, a research worker at the Institute of the Russian Language ("Pushkin House") of the Academy of Sciences in Leningrad (St. Petersburg). Beginning in 1967 he headed a board of editors preparing Feodor Dostoyevsky's complete works (Nauka Publishers of the Leningrad Branch of the Academy of Sciences) in 30 volumes (1972-1988) and another comprehensive edition in 15 volumes (1988-1996). The present article is an abridged version of the preface to the first volume of the second Dostoyevsky edition.--Ed.
rifle barrels were already leveled at the condemned. Dostoyevsky was in the second group, so he had no more than a minute to live. All of a sudden a message came-His Majesty Nikolai I showed "mercy" and commuted the death sentence to penal servitude to be followed by service in the army ranks as privates.
Dostoyevsky was packed off to the Omsk ostrog (prison), where he spent four years of hard labor. From 1864 on he saw service at Semipalatinsk as private soldier. Only upon the death of Czar Nikolai (Nicholas) I, upon solicitation of E. Totleben, a hero of Sebastopol (a city known for its heroic defense against the British and the French in the Crimean War of the early 1850s) he was promoted, first to an NCO, and then to a commissioned officer.
In 1859 Dostoyevsky was granted permission to return to European Russia. In the summer of the same year he and his wife settled for a while in Tver and toward the year's end, they moved to St. Petersburg. Dostoyevsky saw his second birth as a writer. As of the early 1860s his works came out one after the other to bring him the fame of a giant of Russian and world literature. We should name his Notes from the Dead House with a scathing condemnation of penal servitude in czarist Russia and at the same time marked by his passionate love of common people's Russia (1860-1862). He wrote novels and novelettes: The Insulted and the Humiliated (1861); Crime and Punishment (1866); The Gambler (1866); The Idiot (1867); The Demons (1871-1872); A Raw Youth (1875); The Karamazov Brothers (1879-1880); Notes from the Underground (1864); A Meek One (1876), among other works.
Upon his return to St. Petersburg Dostoyevsky began his activities as journalist and editor: working together with his older brother Mikhail (a man of letters and literary critic), Feodor founded the Vremya (Time) magazine.
In October 1866, while working on his novel Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky found himself in a bad fix because of the harsh contract with the publisher Stellovsky: the writer had to hand in his new novel by November 1866, otherwise the publisher would be entitled to the copyright of all Dostoyevsky's writings. At that stage Dostoyevsky turned to a skilled stenographist Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina to whom, just within a month, he dictated the text of the novel The Gambler. Snitkina became his second wife and helpmeet.
After their wedding that took place on April 14, 1867, the newly married couple went abroad where they spent four years in need and want--in Dresden, Baden, Geneva, and Florence. Being in dire straits, the novelist had to flee from his creditors. Only on paying in part his debt, the homesick Dostoyevsky was able to return to his native land, Russia, and settle down for good in St. Petersburg. In summer he and his family would go out to the town of Staraya Russa in the Novgorod gubernia (province). Several times he went to Baden, Germany, for treatment.
In 1871, upon completing his novel The Demons (The Possessed) that he had begun while still abroad, Dostoyevsky resumed his journalistic activities. He edited the biweekly The Grazhdanin (Citizen) published by Prince V. Meshchersky, a writer and publicist close to H.M. court. Dostoyevsky would regularly contribute his Diary of a Writer, a medley of satires, essays, polemic notes and impassioned dissertations on the burning issues at home and on the international political scene. Coming into conflict with the publisher, Dostoyevsky stopped editing The Grazhdanin in April of 1874, and resumed publications of his Diary of a Writer in 1876 and 1877 on its own right as an independent edition appearing in monthly installments. The writer was actively involved in corresponding with his readership. Late in 1880, upon the completion of his classical novel The Karamazov Brothers, Dostoyevsky returned to his Diary
of a Writer. Its publication was cut short in the first issue for 1881. On the 9th February (28 January by the old Julian Calendar), 1881, Dostoyevsky passed away.
Broad-minded in his artistic thinking, Dostoyevsky could well understand the historic destinies of Russian literature. All Russian writers, from Pushkin down to Tolstoy, as he declared in his famous Pushkin Address on the occasion of the unveiling of the Pushkin monument in Moscow (1880), are one living ocean, all amove, one historical chain linked by a through line of creative continuity.
Time and again Dostoyevsky would explain his credo to readers. Russian literature, he said, had long waited, in aesthetic and social-historical terms, for a "new word". Turgenev, Goncharov and Tolstoy were advancing the Pushkin line. They were the portrayers of morals and manners of the Russian nobility "on the high and middle level" with its historically established best sides. In consummate artistic perfection they pictured the range of moral imperatives for future generations, the imperatives that Pushkin in his Eugene Onegin designated as "traditions of the Russian family". Meanwhile "man of the Russian majority" would insistently knock on the door of literature, with all his disorderly and unsettled mode of life, and complexities of his outer and inner being. Dostoyevsky was well aware of the need to let "man of the Russian majority" be heard in literature and voice what touched him near, the shiftlessness and chaos of his existence, his painful soul searchings. That was the guiding idea and the reference point to Dostoyevsky the novelist and artist.
The personages of the novel Poor Folk (Poor People), Makar Devushkin and Varvara Alexeyevna, live a double life. Brought low in their physical existence, they live a full, rich life by corresponding with each other, next-door neighbors though they were. They lay their heart bare to show the treasures of their soul to the hostile world around them.
Makar Devushkin, a poor man crushed low by life, is in his inner self a poet and a dreamer, a deep and sensitive watcher of the world around him. During his jour-neyings about St. Petersburg, as he confides it in his let-
ters to Varvara Alexeyevna, he has seen a broad panorama of the city, its wealth and poverty, its splendor and misery. His encounters with a beggar boy, a hurdy-gurdy grinder, a money-lender... or his talk with a department watchman give a new impulse to the incessant work of his mind and heart. Every new turn in Devushkin's life rouses ever new questions coming up not only because of the abnormality of his personal being but also because of the crass injustice of social relations based on inequality among people, their callous, egotistic indifference to one another.
All too early did Dostoyevsky realize that in the society of the nobility and bourgeoisie the common, every-day prose is "fantastic" in a way. Yes, it breeds material poverty and lack of rights. And not only that. It brings forth from the lower depths of the human soul the historical scum accumulated there over centuries. It brings forth paradoxical, ominous "ideas", "the ideals of Sodom", in people's minds, just as oppressing and crushing as the outer shell of their life. Dostoyevsky the writer and thinker was able to see in this variegated, "fantastic" side of a big city pithy and true pictures of day-to-day life. In his novels and novelettes he pieced together these "prosaic" pictures in a masterly way. In world literature one seldom meets such a high pitch of social tragedy, such forceful imagery, such dredging the "depths of the human soul".
Living in an atmosphere of constant humiliation where the strong have tyrannical power over the weak, man behaves contrary to common sense, contrary to what seems natural and logical. He is erratic. Insulted and humiliated, he takes on a fool's role to touch more and more on the raw sores of his soul. The weak and dependent do not at all chafe under their humility, but rather stretch out their hands to be tied up, for they fear alien freedom more than the habitual lack of it.
Another sociopsychological type is that of a "dreamer" begotten by the transitional age of the time, in particular, by the life of a big city. This is inevitable, according to Dostoyevsky. Failing to quench the thirst of his searchings, a thinking individual perforce escapes into a make-believe world of dreams to create an all-engulfing "idea"; he embraces his dreamland. This "vicarious" life in solitude is at once the dreamer's delight and curse. His proud romantic ecstasy in a free flight of a free thought that knows no bounds conceals the painful sensation of loneliness. Cut off from the world and people, the dreamer seeks communion with them, he wants to escape from his dream and live a real, "living" life.
Two "dreamers of St. Petersburg"--a young man and a young girl of the urban low middle-class milieu are in the focus of the novelettes White Nights (1848) and Netochka Nezvanova (1849). The story about the searchings and tragic dreamings of the heroes grows into a lyrical confession filled with radiant Pushkin immediacy, a confession giving an insight into the world of emotions and feelings so difficult to rear. This confession is resonant with the subtle soul music of the heroes.
Exiled to Siberia, Dostoyevsky is painfully aware of the frustration of the social illusions of his youth (his "theories and Utopias", as he confides). He is poignantly conscious of the tragic discord among Russia's upper crust
and lower strata, the intelligentsia and the people. The feeling of this discord and conflict, as Dostoyevsky tells us in his Notes from the Dead House, tormented him in penal servitude; he and his fellow inmates--of noble birth as they were--were looked upon by common people as members of the hostile and hated serfowning class of landed nobility. The people's weakness is not what amazes Dostoyevsky, he is amazed at the people's queen strength and sense of truth. The people is not a "tabula rasa" for the intelligentsia to write their letters on, the author of the Notes concludes. The people is not the object, it is the subject of history with its world outlook formed over centuries in much suffering and anguish.
Dostoyevsky believed that in the wake of the reform of 1861 that abolished Serfdom in Russia the autocracy of the czars was out to set right the historical "blunder" of Peter the Great who regarded the Russian peasant as just one poll-tax paying soul. The renunciation of the historical heritage of the "Petrine period of Russian history" fostered, as Dostoyevsky saw it, a spiritual rapprochement of the Government and the enlightened nobility with the people. The writer's faith in the possibility of such rapprochement--without any revolutionary wrecking of defunct institutions of serfdom-was his historical delusion.
Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Dead House was a historic event in the minds of contemporaries. As Nikolai Gogol put it, Notes from the Dead House, "shall always flourish over the exit from the dark realm of Nikolai like Dante's inscription above the entrance to hell."*
The social environment is likewise important to Dostoyevsky. In his Notes from the Dead House he states this case with much poignancy. Like all realist writers of the 19th century, Dostoyevsky attached immense significance to social and cultural conditions in a particular place, at a particular time. The moral and psychological atmosphere of the ambient world molds an individual's character, his innermost thoughts and actions. Yet irrespective of the social environment and medium, an individual, his moral "ego", is crucial to the substance of his being. The impact of the environment does not free him from his moral responsibility to other people.
Describing his fellow inmates in hard labor (Notesfrom the Dead House)--such felons as Orlov, Petrov and other criminals of the Omsk prison, forceful personalities corrupt with "blood and power"--Dostoyevsky pointed to an awful lurking danger to society from people capable of living in peace with evil and crime, justifying it and enjoying the aesthetics of it. But unlike Nietzsche and other preachers of the bourgeois idea of the
Ubermensch, Dostoyevsky was able to discern a horrible social malady in man who makes no difference between good and evil; it was a threat to a human individual and all of humankind, a danger fraught with innumerable calamities. This thought--that the "beastly qualities of man" could get the upper hand of human qualities--had a mighty hold over the author's mind after penal servitude as well. This motif permeates all of Dostoyevsky's major writings. It is embodied in Prince Valkovsky (The Insulted and the Humiliated); in the underground man (Notesfrom the Underground); in Ippolit Terentyev (The Idiot); in Stavrogin (The Demons); in Feodor Pavlovich, Mitya and Ivan Karamazovs (The Karamazov Brothers)... This is far from a complete list of the main characters whose tragic lives are interwoven with the writer's prophetic deliberations over the problems of moral and social evil, and its victory--temporary or final--over the human heart and soul.
The thinking heroes of Dostoyevsky's writings find themselves in a tragic catch: painfully conscious of their alienation from the ambient society and passionately negating its injustices and evils, they carry nonetheless the burden of false ideas and illusions bred by the same society. The bane of bourgeois individualism and anarchism poisoned their blood and minds, and for this reason they are an archenemy to their own selves. Social malaise and duality warp their consciousness to make it just as sick and torn asunder, and spawn profoundly antisocial, immoral ideas destructive in their essence.
* "Lasciate ogni speranza voi che entrate".--Tr.
The novel Crime and Punishment is certainly among the greatest creations of Dostoyevsky that had a tremendous impact on world literature. Its hero, Rodion Raskolnikov, a student-raznochinets (an intellectual not of gentle birth) lives in a shabby cubbyhole. Expelled from the university for dire poverty, Raskolnikov is a man of incisive thought, straightforward and of great candor. He is intolerant of any lie and falsehood. His poverty opened his heart and mind to the sufferings of millions. Loath to put up with the moral pillars of the world in which the rich and strong tread underfoot the weak and oppressed, and in which thousands of sound young lives crushed by indigence go under, Raskolnikov kills an old woman, a greedy moneylender. By this murder, he feels, he challenges the slavish morals to which people had submitted themselves for centuries, with man being no more than a puny louse--such is this vile morality. The moneylender's killing, Raskolnikov is subconsciously aware, fulfills his innermost dream, a selfish, proud dream of dominating the "trembling creature" and the entire "human anthill". Thus Raskolnikov's thoughts and actions come full circle, tragically. The author makes Raskolnikov give up his individualistic rebellion and get over the wreckage of his Napoleonic dreamings in an excruciating soul-searching experience and approach the threshold of a new life that would bring him together with other downtrodden sufferers. His love for Sonya Marmeladova, a social pariah like him, becomes a lode star toward a new lease on life...
Dostoyevsky came to realize the growing role of ideas in public life. Ideas were no joking matter. They might be wholesome, but they might become destructive as well, be it in an individual or in society at large. This thought is expressed in the epilog of the novel, in Raskolnikov's prophetic dream.
If devoid of his prying thought and his dialectics, sharp like a razor, Raskolnikov would have lost his charm. Dostoyevsky, for all his contradictions, pictured an atmosphere of high spiritual verve in his writings with their wide range of deep, philosophical, and moral quests brought to life by the transitional age both among the educated strata of Russian society and among the rank and file after the reforms of 1861. All walks of life, poignantly conscious of deep-rooted social malaise, sought to rethink the old patriarchal norms of behavior and morals, and get down to the brass tacks of social injustice. That is why Dostoyevsky's all-negating heroes, the deniers, are of great political fascination, however paradoxical and odd their quests might be. Motivated by a sincere, selfless striving to find their bearings in the labyrinth of life's puzzles, they trudged to their truth through great suffering.
The deeply tragic message of this novel is in the passionate aversion to the raw realities of the individualistic, industrial age, quite new to Russia. The author is clearly conscious that it is impossible to stifle the dark passions bred by this epoch through ascetic escapism, and even through personal example, no matter how pure one's ideal, love and readiness for self-sacrifice in the name of happiness of others might be.
A sober observer, Dostoyevsky was unable overlook the new realities of social and cultural life. The new bourgeois society would prove utterly disastrous to Russia, he believed. Dostoyevsky clung to the historically Utopian dream that Russia could in some way escape the Western pattern. He applied all his talents as writer, publicist and journalist in order to prove to thinking Russians, especially the country's younger generation, that the Russian people should follow a road of their own, without drastic sociopolitical reforms. He would not accept revolution, even though he had paved the way to it objectively.
The Demons [also known in the English translation as The Possessed] marked the climacteric point of the con-
troversy between Dostoyevsky and revolutionary Russia of the day. Its plot is based on materials of the "Nechayev case" brought before the court of law in July-August 1871. S. Nechayev, a man of strong will prone to adventure, set up several political groups of conspirators in Moscow (each having five members).
Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky is, as the author sees it, a typical representative of the older generation. Like many other people of his age, Verkhovensky is just an adult child, vain and ambitious, and in the same breath infinitely kind, noble and helpless. His liberal stance and worship for "Western" culture and parliamentary institutions are just harmless, innocuous toys posing no danger to society. All this comes to light in the epilog as, on seeing the utter failure of his "Westernist" conviction, Verkhovensky ends his days as a homeless wanderer.
Young men of the next generation, the Nechayev bunch including, are spiritual "children" of Verkhovensky and Karmazinov. Dostoyevsky the novelist describes them as "demons prancing", leading Russia astray. Such is the message of the polemic name of the novel.
The generation of "demons" is personified by several motley personages. Verkhovensky's son, Pyotr (whose prototypes, as seen in the draft notes of the novel, were Nechayev and Petrashevsky), grins by hearing his father's impassioned rhetoric--dad is hopelessly old-hat! Pyotr makes no bones about himself: he is "a rogue, not a socialist"...
As to the younger generation, Dostoyevsky discerns other, more sophisticated and tragic figures. Kirillov, for one: rising against the humiliating omnipotence of God, he laid hands on himself--he regarded suicide as consummate freedom of the individual versus inimical forces toying with his life, as recognition of man's power over himself by dint of his own volition, "self-will"...
Now, the most dramatic personage of the novel, Stavrogin. He personifies one of the last Mohicans in 19th-century literature of what was known then as "romantic demonism". He is a man of quick wits and analytical mind, full of all-consuming hatred towards the hypocritical pillars of the society into which he was born and in which he was reared. His anarchist negation of old, two-faced morals impelled Stavrogin in his younger years to challenge these morals and indulge in lust. He committed a heinous crime by corrupting a young teenage girl, Matresha. Subsequently pangs of conscience would never leave Stavrogin. This is the subject of a separate chapter of the novel, "At Tikhon's" ("Stavrogin's Confession")... The voice of his conscience is never silent, like a merciless, judge it pillories Stavrogin as a goner, no-man...
In his novel The Demons Dostoyevsky was able to detect the incipient, rudimentary forms of what became widespread in the 20th century--the phenomenon of political reaction in the guise of "revolution", irrespec-
tive of its slogans, right or left. Making a ruthless postmortem of this plague, the writer exposed its cynical political adventurism and extremism.
The last, most grandiose novel, The Karamazov Brothers, was conceived as a broad, sociophilosophic epic of Russia's past, present and future in the image of "one little family". The tale of the tragic discord within the Karamazov family culminating in the killing of Karamazov senior mirrors the wide discontent festering among all strata of Russian society after the reforms of 1861, and the moral searchings of the Russian intellectual elite, the intelligentsia.
The individualistic civilization that keeps people divided--a truly tragic phenomenon--foists hostile abstract mentality upon man. This thought is expounded in the chapter "A Revolt" in which Ivan Karamazov's revolt takes on theomachist forms. Fully aware that one cannot put up with crimes against humanity, Alesha Karamazov opts for revenge: asked, what should be done to a landlord chasing to death a child by his hounds, Alesha discards his religious ideas, and says bluntly "Shoot!".
The thought about the destructive, inhuman microbe dormant deep within an individualistic intellectual, no mater how refined and subtle, is further developed and shows its new side in the chapter "The Devil. The Nightmare of Ivan Feodorovich", most striking in its force and depth. Drawing upon the data of scientific psychology of his day, Dostoyevsky distills them through artistic interpretation in the scene of Ivan's hallucinations brought about by the sensation of his moral bankruptcy to get the reader to pass his final, irrevocable sentence on Ivan. His fantastic collocutor, the devil, personifies what is mean and puny in the soul of a subtle intellectual estranged from the people but what is concealed behind the patina of proud verbal husks of sheer individualism. Carrying on the traditions of Goethe's Faust and relying on medieval legends and mysteries, Dostoyevsky combines in this scene a psychological analysis relentless in its truthfulness with staggering philosophical symbolics. The image of Ivan talking to the devil is ironically consonant with Lucifer (Mephistopheles) and Faust, illuminating the petty soul of an ostensibly free intellectual and the comic and wretched dregs on the bottom of the "tempter's" soul. "The boys" have a particular part to play in The Karamazov Brothers as citizens of Russia to be. Picturing the tragic lot of Ilyusha Snegirev, a loving, selfless and proud lad, Dostoyevsky brings to light a variety of sophisticated transmutations of a child's psychology in the alembic of urban life. The same is true of Kolya Krasotkin, a fourteen-year-old "nihilist", and essentially a clever, inquisitive and vigorous youth. "The boys" enable the author to add novel vivid touches to his picture of tribulations of fortune. More than that, the novelist seeks to bring together the disunited, as in the case of a moral unison of formerly divided pals at Ilyusha's deathbed. This sense of togetherness culminates the novel ideologically as an attempt to assert, be it in the artistic form, the author's social Utopia. The new-born alliance of Ilyusha's friends epitomizes Dostoyevsky's dream of humankind's onward movement toward the radiant future, the longed-for "golden age". The writer pins great hopes on the coming generations of Russian youth that, as he deems, should
say a new word in Russia's life and lead humanity onto new paths of happiness.
And last, the famous "Pushkin Address" at the unveiling of the Pushkin monument in Moscow in 1880, several months before his death. This speech caused an uproar and controversy among all thinking Russians, for in it Dostoyevsky urged reconciliation among all warring parties of Russian society and joint peaceful work on their "native soil". The key idea of Russian literature, he said, was in its all-humaneness and its persistent striving for universal happiness for all human beings. The novelist voiced his deep confidence in that the "all-responsiveness" proper to Russian culture would allow the Russian people to help other peoples of Europe and the world over in their progress toward universal brotherhood and "world harmony". These humanistic ideas of the "Pushkin Address" were the writer's spiritual behest to his contemporaries and future generations.
In his novels and novelettes Dostoyevsky conceived a special type of philosophical and profoundly psychological realism. The action in his novels unfolds simultaneously on the narrative, domestic and ideological planes. Each character is both a participant in the skein of the drama and a mouthpiece of an ideological stand on sociophilosophical and moral problems.
The author takes his reader to a poor student's cubbyhole, or to a room sheltering the family of an impoverished clerk. He takes his reader to St. Petersburg boulevards, to shabby third-rate rooms and cheap pubs. Now and then the reader stands face to face with the personage and has a chance to pry into the hidden workings of his heart and mind. But then, all of a sudden, the reader becomes a witness to violent crowd clashes giving vent to pent-up passions. Many crucial events of the heroes' life drama occur in the street, among numerous and indifferent lookers-on. The contrast between external misery, the rough and squalid "prose" of life, and the wealth of tragic passions hidden deep beneath, with so many dramatic spiritual falls and rises, adds to the spooky phantasmagoria of the action.
By shifting future events into the past and concentrating the reader's attention on the final stage of a conflict prior to disaster, and on disaster and its aftermath, Dostoyevsky the novelist achieves great compactification of the action and its extraordinary dynamics. Events crowd upon one another. Change of scene is instantaneous. The reader beholds strife and clashes of different personages. Furthermore, the very consciousness of Dostoyevsky's heroes turns into a battlefield where conflicting ideas and feelings grow into stubborn, win-or-die fighting. Therefore the reader perceives the thoughts and feelings of the heroes as scenes of one captivating drama. The tragic heroes always find themselves in extreme situations, they have to fend for themselves in forging their destiny, and face the music.
Finding "man within man" was the guiding motive of the Dostoyevsky realism. And by this virtue man is responsible for his actions in any, even most adverse situation. A culprit ought not to blame his ill-will on the ambient environment. Any crime inevitably entails moral punishment as shown by the lot of Raskolnikoff, Stavrogin, Ivan Karamazov, the killer husband in the novelette A Meek One, and many other tragic heroes.
Dostoyevsky was concerned with real life. Moved by his passionate love for his people, the great Russian novelist sought to pick out the "guiding thread" from the tangle of life happenings and divine the pathways of the future course of Russia and all of humanity towards the moral and aesthetic ideal of good and social justice. All that makes his creative quests truly multidimensional in scope as one of the greats of Russian and world literature. One who has portrayed the tragic experience of the human mind in its searchings and wanderings as well as the sufferings of millions of "insulted and humiliated" in the world of social inequality, enmity and moral division among people.
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