Dostoevsky's autograph: What oath did he take in 1841? Debut of a genius: Why did Belinsky call himself a “donkey squared,” but the critics did not understand and still do not understand the genius of "The Double"? Review of criticism: What are the prospects of studying Dostoevsky’s decade in Siberia? Photo biography: What does the retouch on portraits conceal? What story do the Museum funds tell? Comment: Were the novels of the French writer Ponson du Terrail the source of the criminal plot in The Raw Youth?
Forced compromise: Should the author’s text in The Brothers Karamazov be restored? Restless family: Where did Dostoevsky's Siberian relatives come from?
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B. N. Tikhomirov
I, the Undernamed Fedor Dostoevsky... (Oath of Service Loyalty, August 20, 1841)
AbstractThe publication introduces into scientific circulation an archival document that occupies a special place in the biography of Fedor Dostoevsky. It is a so-called “sworn list” dated August 20, 1841, that contains an Oath Declaration with twenty-one signature autographs (including Dostoevsky's signature) of students of the lower officer class of the Main Engineering School, who were recently (two weeks prior) awarded the first officer rank — field engineer-ensigns (class XIV, according to the Table of Ranks). During his studies at the Main Engineering School, Dostoevsky took the oath twice — in 1838, after being assigned to a conductor company, and in 1841, when switching to officer classes. The text of the Oath Declaration was legally approved and published in the Code of Laws of the Russian Empire as “Form of the national oath of allegiance to citizenship.” Dostoevsky’s autograph under the printed text of the Oath Declaration leads researchers to construe it as a personal official document, which necessitates its inclusion in the main body of the academic Complete Works of the writer. Twenty signature autographs of Dostoevsky’s classmates under the Oath Declaration, as well as the signature of the priest who swore them in, allow us to significantly expand the understanding of the future writer's environment during his studies at the Main Engineering School.
KeywordsRussian State Military Historical Archive, Dostoevsky, Main Engineering School, officer classes, Oath Declaration, oath, social circle
O. V. Zakharova
Donkey Squared, or Who First Called Dostoevsky a Genius?
AbstractThe article examines the literary circumstances of F. M. Dostoevsky’s debut. They were reflected in the correspondence and memoirs, and in his contemporaries’ literary polemics. Dostoevsky was one of the few Russian writers who was awarded the title of genius by critics long before the publication of his first novel. Thus, the question of who had called him a genius emerges as relevant? For the first time this word was uttered by V. G. Belinsky, but neither he nor his associates declared Dostoevsky a genius in print. Rumors did it for them more effectively than the printed word. The rumor of “extraordinary talent” and “new genius” provoked the opponents of V. G. Belinsky: F. V. Bulgarin, O. I. Senkovsky, L. V. Brant, S. P. Shevyrev, etc. As they tried to convince readers of the mediocrity of the up-and-coming talent, they unwittingly made Dostoevsky a genius, presented his brilliance as a fact. Two years later, Belinsky abandoned his discovery of the genius of Dostoevsky, and called himself “a donkey squared”, yet the revision of the personal relationship did not affect the writer’s literary fate. The scandal and controversy over the novel The Poor Folk reinforced Dostoevsky’s fame.
KeywordsF. M. Dostoevsky, V. G. Belinsky, F. V. Bulgarin, L. V. Brant, N. A. Nekrasov, new Gogol, genius, The Poor Folk, literary criticism, polemics
V. N. Zakharov
The Brilliance of The Double: Why Don’t Critics Understand Dostoevsky?
AbstractIn the euphoria of the success of Poor Folk Dostoevsky wrote an inventive work — a fantastical novel with an absurd plot, in which two completely similar characters act: two Yakov, two Petroviches, two Golyadkins, two titular councilors serving in the same department. Their similarity is not explained in any way. According to the author, this is “a completely inexplicable incident,” however, critics keep trying to explain the appearance of the double. The range of interpretations is extensive — from the rationalistic and empirical rejection of fantastika to numerous psychopathological, ethical, social and other concepts of it. They have the same status: they are all nontextual readings of the work. Critics do not read Dostoevsky, rather, they compose their own version of The Double. It all started with Belinsky, who made factual errors in the analysis of The Double. Dobrolyubov frankly admitted that his explanation of the double was formed “while thumbing through” the story. All subsequent interpretations are variations of their explanations of fantastika. Dostoevsky was sensitive to the misunderstanding of readers and critics. In 1862 and 1864, he created drafts with the aim of revising The Double. Unable to carry out this plan, in September 1866 Dostoevsky cut down the magazine’s editorial staff and made other changes that polemically opposed the interpretations of Belinsky and Dobrolyubov. The analysis of the two editions of The Double and the materials in the 1862-1864 notebooks (Russian State Library. F. 93.I.2.6 and 93.I.2.7) demonstrate that Dostoevsky did not think of The Double as a ghost, hallucination, or the delirium of a madman, but, rather, considered him a real character in the story. Denying the similarity and protesting against the immorality of the younger Golyadkin, the elder proclaims: man is unique. This idea was a development of the anthropological principle that Dostoevsky discovered in Poor Folk and later vividly expressed in Notes from the Underground.
KeywordsDostoevsky, The Double, creative history, text history, fantastika, fantastics, notebooks, revision options
E. Y. Safronova
F. M. Dostoevsky’s Siberian Text: Problems and Perspectives
AbstractThe review article is devoted to the analysis of studies of the Siberian period of F. M. Dostoevsky’s life and work. The main trends in the study of the author’s Siberian text are described. The entire variety of sources may be subdivided into four groups: memoirs and epistolary testimonies; journalism, biographical novels, essays, novellas, etc.; biographical studies; interpretations of Siberian works. One of the main issues is the problem of their reliability. Close to the memoir fraud remain biographical novels, biographical chronicles, documentary novels are close to being memoir falsifications, and so they often contain factual errors or free interpretation of events. They sometimes include home-grown myths about Dostoevsky's stay in Siberia, that were created by local residents. Some of these myths have already been exposed by the scientific approach. The article analyzes the biographical research of V. N. Zakharov, M. M. Gromyko, N. I. Levchenko, V. S. Vainerman, A. S. Shadrina, E. D. Trukhan, V. F. Grishaev and others. These studies are peculiar in that they are usually localized and represent research not into the Siberian text as a whole, but into its constituent parts: those related to Omsk, Kuznetsk, Tobolsk, Barnaul or Semipalatinsk. The article describes both fairly well-known and new biographical materials that have been published recently and significantly enriched the understanding of the Siberian period of the writer's biography and work, and provides an overview of interpretations of Dostoevsky's Siberian works. The paper identifies problems and outlines the perspectives of studying the Siberian text, and determines the archival collections where new documents about Dostoevsky and his environment can be discovered.
KeywordsDostoevsky, biography, creativity, research trends, poetics, interpretation, M. D. Isaeva, N. B. Vergunov, Siberia, Omsk, Kuznetsk, Semipalatinsk, Tobolsk, Barnaul
P. E. Fokin
Four Portraits, No Retouching
AbstractResearchers are still raising questions related to the time and place of shooting of certain portraits in the scarce photographic iconography of F. M. Dostoevsky. First of all, this pertains to a set of early photographs, whose dating ranges between 1857 and 1863, according to various sources. The article offers new arguments in favor of attributing several portraits of F. M. Dostoevsky to 1859. This refers to photographs that captured an image of F. M. Dostoevsky that is unusual for most of his admirers, namely, without a beard. Two of them were taken in Semipalatinsk by the photographer S. A. Leibin, while in one of them F. M. Dostoevsky was captured together with the Kazakh educator Ch. Ch. Valikhanov, whom he befriended during the years of his exile. Another photo has not been precisely attributed. A comprehensive analysis of the details depicted on them, the facts of the biography of Ch. Ch. Valikhanov and the letters of F. M. Dostoevsky allows to date the Semipalatisk photographs with greater accuracy. The article proposes that another one of the portraits taken in Tver was carried out simultaneously with the shooting of the portrait of M. M. Dostoevsky. A comprehensive examination of various details and circumstances also leads to the same conclusions. To date, only a few copies of photographs with Ch. Ch. Valikhanov and a photograph allegedly taken in Tver are known. The original solitary portrait made in Semipalatinsk has been lost. The conducted research allows to assert that other copies of these photographs may exist. The proposed conclusions are made on the basis of a study of the originals of photographs in the collection of The V. I. Dahl State Museum of the History of Russian Literature.
KeywordsF. M. Dostoevsky, Ch. Ch. Valikhanov, M. M. Dostoevsky, photography, attribution, Semipalatinsk, Tver
M. A. Zusmanovich, P. E. Fokin
F. M. Dostoevsky: Biography in Photographs
AbstractThe collection of photographic materials of The Vladimir Dahl State Museum of the History of Russian Literature, related to the life and work of F. M. Dostoevsky, is the largest such collection and currently includes 2540 items. The collection of photographs is based on the memorial collection of A. G. Dostoevskaya from the Memorial Museum of F. M. Dostoevsky. In the 1930s, it was transferred to the F. M. Dostoevsky Museum, established in Moscow in 1928, and after its merge with the State Literary Museum in 1940 (since 2017 — The Vladimir Dahl State Museum of the History of Russian Literature), it became a part of its photography collection. The compendium of photographs related to the life and work of Fedor Dostoevsky continued to grow in the following years. The article provides a comprehensive description of the collection of photos based on two main criteria: by the type of material — original photos, reshot photos, duplicate photos; by genre and thematic content of the images — portraits of F. M. Dostoevsky, portraits of relatives, portraits of children of F. M. Dostoevsky, nephews, descendants, portraits of friends, acquaintances, сontemporaries, sights of places related to the biography of F. M. Dostoevsky. The article analyzes the accompanying inscriptions and autographs on the photographs, specifies the dating and location of the images, which allows to make corrections and additions to the Chronicle of the life and work of F. M. Dostoevsky. Based on a comparative analysis of the translator’s gift autograph on his photo, the facts of F. M. Dostoevsky’s biography, and the analysis of F. M. Dostoevsky’s letter to an unidentified person dated December 5, 1863, an assumption is made that the addressee of the letter is W. Wolfzon.
KeywordsF. M. Dostoevsky, A. G. Dostoevskaya, W. Wolfzon, biography, photographs, memorials, The V. I. Dahl State Museum of the History of Russian Literature
V. V. Borisova, S. S. Shaulov
“The Jack of Hearts Club” in F. M. Dostoevsky’s novel The Raw Youth
AbstractThe article examines the criminal storyline in The Raw Youth by F. M. Dostoevsky as part of real-life and historical and literary commentary on the novel. The matter has significant links to the facts and persons associated with the “Kumanin inheritance case.” It turned out to be “unfortunate” and “haunted” because of the initial criminal background associated with the activities of the famous criminal community of the 1870s, namely, “The Jack of Hearts Club”. Among its members was Alexander Timofeevich Neofitov, the first executor of the will of A. F. Kumanina. We can presume that he became the prototype of the leader of the “gang,” which included Lambert, Stebelkov and other “cunning scammers” depicted in the novel. Vsevolod Alekseevich Dolgorukov, a prince and tradesman, was also one of the “red jacks,” which could have led Dostoevsky to endow the hero of his novel with a similar surname. The article provides new facts confirming that the typical features of V. A. Dolgorukov are reflected in the characteristics of the young prince Sokolsky. Secondly, two previously unrecognized literary sources of Dostoevsky’s work, namely, novels by the French writer Ponson du Terrail, The Jack of Hearts Club and Secrets of Paris, which were popular in Russia at that time. Their characters, Mrs. St. Alphonse, or Alfonsina, involved in scheming with incriminating papers, and Captain Lambert, depicted as the embodiment of all human vices, are the prototypes of the namesake heroes in Dostoevsky’s novel. All of the above made it possible to conclude that intentional artistic contamination of the historical and biographical narrative, criminal chronicle and literary tradition occurred in The Raw Youth.
KeywordsF. M. Dostoevsky, The Raw Youth, real and historical literary commentаry, The Jack of Hearts Club, A. T. Neofitov, V. A. Dolgorukov, Ponson du Terrail
B. N. Tikhomirov
“Hysterical Shrieks of the Cherubim” (Concerning a Textual Incident in the History of the Text of The Brothers Karamazov)
AbstractThe article deals with a textual incident that occurred in the history of the publication of the chapter “Hell. Ivan Fedorovich’s nightmare” from the novel The Brothers Karamazov. When sending the manuscript of the chapter to “Russkiy Vestnik” (“Russian Bulletin”) for publication, in the cover letter to N. A. Lyubimov Dostoevsky expressed concern that the journal’s editorial staff might find the words “hysterical shrieks of the cherubim,” pronounced by the devil, obscene. The writer insisted on the absolute artistic justification of such an expression coming from the lips of his infernal character, begging Lyubimov to leave this version in print. However, he foresaw censorship difficulties and offered a backup version to replace the line (“if you can’t”): “joyous cries of the cherubim,” adding with regret that it will sound stylistically dissonant. As a result, the journal published the compromise version devised by N. A. Lyubimov, namely “joyful shrieks of the cherubim.” Although Dostoevsky’s letter clearly expressed his attitude to the “backup” versions, in a separate edition, which was published immediately after the magazine, he reproduced the devil’s remark exactly as it was printed in the “Russkiy Vestnik”. In the academic Complete Works of Dostoevsky, the printed version was “canonized” as an expression of the last author’s will of the writer. The article challenges this textual decision and justifies the need to revert to the version contained in the typeset manuscript, as it is reconstructed from Dostoevsky’s letter to Lyubimov: “hysterical shrieks of the cherubim”.
KeywordsDostoevsky, textual criticism, The Brothers Karamazov, “Russkiy Vestnik”, separate edition of the novel, censorship, self-censorship, last creative will
T. V. Panyukova
“A Rare Creature, in Mind, in Heart, in Character” (a Relative of Dostoevsky From Siberia)
AbstractThe article presents the unknown facts in the biographies of people in the family circle of F. M. Dostoevsky: his sister-in-law Olga Kirillovna Snitkina and her mother Nadezhda Ivanovna Obraszhova. His first acquaintance with them belongs to the Dresden period of the writer's life (1869–1870). The sparse information that is currently available about their lives was drawn mainly from Dostoevsky's correspondence with his wife and belongs to a later period. Based on a systematic analysis of the preserved correspondence of the Snitkin family (relatives of the writer's wife), memoirs of contemporaries, genealogical and local history materials, as well as archival searches, their biographies were reconstructed, several unknown documentary sources were introduced into scientific circulation (stored in the Fund of the Department of Heraldry of the Russian State Historical Archive and in the Fund of the St. Petersburg Spiritual Consistory of the Central State Historical Archive of St. Petersburg), the exact date (May 17, 1873), and the place of birth of one of Anna Grigoryevna Dostoevskaya's nephews — Vanya Snitkin, as well as the maiden name of his mother Olga Kirillovna (née Maryina) were established. The study showed that the lineage of O. K. Snitkin and N. I. Obraszhovoy descends from Siberia and includes representatives of several famous merchant dynasties of the mid-XIX сentury. A brief textual description of the surviving correspondence between this branch of the Snitkin family and the Dostoevsky family is attached to the article.
KeywordsDostoevskys, Snitkins, Maryins, Obraszhovs, Khaminovs, Pakholkovs, Dresden, Irkutsk, Kyakhta, Siberian Merchants, Hereditary Honorary Citizenship, the Russian State Historical Archive, the Central State Historical Archive of St. Petersburg, Archival Research, Biography