Between religion and rationality : essays in Russian by Joseph Frank

By Joseph Frank

In this booklet, acclaimed Dostoevsky biographer Joseph Frank explores essentially the most vital elements of 19th and 20th century Russian tradition, literature, and background. Delving into the differences of the Russian novel in addition to the conflicts among the spiritual peasant international and the informed Russian elite, Between faith and Rationality screens the cogent reflections of 1 of the main extraordinary and flexible critics within the field.

Frank's essays offer a discriminating examine 4 of Dostoevsky's most renowned novels, speak about the controversy among J. M. Coetzee and Mario Vargas Llosa at the factor of Dostoevsky and evil, and confront Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism. the gathering additionally examines such subject matters as Orlando Figes's sweeping survey of the historical past of Russian tradition, the lifetime of Pushkin, and Oblomov's effect on Samuel Beckett. Investigating the omnipresent spiritual subject matter that runs all through Russian tradition, even within the antireligious Chekhov, Frank argues that no different significant eu literature used to be as a lot preoccupied because the Russian with the tensions among faith and rationality. Between faith and Rationality highlights this special caliber of Russian literature and tradition, providing insights for common readers and specialists alike.

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By Joseph Frank

In this booklet, acclaimed Dostoevsky biographer Joseph Frank explores essentially the most vital elements of 19th and 20th century Russian tradition, literature, and background. Delving into the differences of the Russian novel in addition to the conflicts among the spiritual peasant international and the informed Russian elite, Between faith and Rationality screens the cogent reflections of 1 of the main extraordinary and flexible critics within the field.

Frank's essays offer a discriminating examine 4 of Dostoevsky's most renowned novels, speak about the controversy among J. M. Coetzee and Mario Vargas Llosa at the factor of Dostoevsky and evil, and confront Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism. the gathering additionally examines such subject matters as Orlando Figes's sweeping survey of the historical past of Russian tradition, the lifetime of Pushkin, and Oblomov's effect on Samuel Beckett. Investigating the omnipresent spiritual subject matter that runs all through Russian tradition, even within the antireligious Chekhov, Frank argues that no different significant eu literature used to be as a lot preoccupied because the Russian with the tensions among faith and rationality. Between faith and Rationality highlights this special caliber of Russian literature and tradition, providing insights for common readers and specialists alike.

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Extra resources for Between religion and rationality : essays in Russian literature and culture

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In part 1, the first six chapters depict his disorienting perceptions and the initial shock of contact (“First Impressions”), which then move on to the depiction of individual characters (“Petrov, Isaiah Fomich, Baklushin”). In part 2 the chapters are held together externally (“The Hospital”) or by loose general groupings (“Prison Animals,” “Comrades”). The narrator, whose surprised and startled reactions were quite prominent earlier, fades into the background as he merges into the everyday life of the community.

Only Dostoevsky, however, depicts the Russian people in revolt against their enslaved condition, implacably hating the nobles who have oppressed them and ready to use their knives and axes to strike back when mistreatment becomes unendurable. On the very last page of the book, just before his own fetters were struck off and he was once again a free man, Dostoevsky sets down a statement about the convicts that has led to some misunderstanding. “After all,” he wrote, “one must tell the whole truth; these men were exceptional men.

As such it takes its place with two other works written about the same time, Turgenev’s Notes of a Hunter (1852) and Tolstoy’s Sevastopol Sketches (1855–56). Dostoevsky could well have been inspired by their example in the sketch-form that he created for the account of his prison-camp years. All three works in fact share the same overriding theme—the encounter of a member of the upper, educated class with the Russian people—and each treats it in his own distinctive way. Turgenev stresses the spiritual beauty and richness of Russian peasant life, the poetry of its customs and superstitions, and by so doing makes the serf status of the peasants and the casual cruelty of their treatment all the more unforgivable.

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