Critical review: What are Dostoevsky researchers debating today? Dostoevsky's Pushkin speech: What did the witnesses make up? Biography as a film frame: Why do filmmakers lie? Riddles of biography: Who owned the village of Darovoe and the manor house of Darovaya before 1852? A new autograph of Dostoevsky was discovered in a photo taken over a century ago. Did Dostoevsky have an affair with the adventurer Marfa Brown? The tasks of textual criticism: Who invented the Latin aphorism "Strepitu belli propelluntur artes"? Which Roman Caesars did Dostoevsky recall in his sketches for the novel The Idiot? How does handwriting analysis help to correct the publishers' mistakes?
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V. V. Borisova, S. S. Shaulov
Dostoevsky at the Turn of the 21st Century: Antinomies of Interpretation
AbstractThe aim of the proposed article is to identify the key trends and contradictions in the study and interpretation of Dostoevsky’s work at the turn of the 21st century. Dostoevsky studies are one of the most advanced and active branches of Russian literary studies, which is confirmed by a large number of regular scientific conferences, as well as by a significant number of fundamental monographs. The search for a new interpretive basis in the Christian tradition, which has revealed a number of axiological and methodological contradictions, including the inevitable choice between literary and philosophical/theological discourses, is seen as the main methodological breakthrough in contemporary Russian literary studies (and simultaneously a challenge). Three aspects of the question of the Christian basis of Dostoevsky’s work are examined: along with “dogmatic ranting” (as defined by I. A. Esaulov), reading the writer’s works in the context of the legacy of religious philosophy of the Silver Age remains relevant. We recognize the analysis and interpretation of Dostoevsky’s texts in the spirit of historical poetics as the most productive, provided that the postulate about the Christian nature of the Russian classical tradition is accepted. The methodological search of Dostoevsky’s researchers, typical for the turn of the 21st century, has found its expression in a multitude of “research subjects”: this polemic centers on the definitions of “realism in the highest sense”/“Christian realism” and a dispute around The Idiot and the image of Prince Myshkin, caused by the receptive conflict of interpreters. In addition, the article underscores the problem of the use of Bakhtin’s legacy in Dostoevsky studies: in our opinion, the key notions of his concept in literary studies “function” either in an adjusted form, or as scientific metaphors, or as an “appeal to authority”. Therefore, it seems more productive to include Bakhtin’s heritage in Dostoevsky studies as an essential fact in the history of perception of his work, rather than as a methodological basis for studying the text. It is in this aspect that the success of Russian literature in recent years is most obvious, however, the gap between scientific excellence and mass perception of Dostoevsky is also apparent. The final conclusion states that the contradictions of interpretations generated by transcending the “spectrum of adequacy” when reading a classical text have not been overcome. Dostoevsky’s work still causes controversy and methodological arguments. This means that the history of his perception remains an ongoing, living narrative. Dostoevsky still remains a subject of contemporary culture, rather than its object.
KeywordsDostoevsky, textual criticism, analysis and interpretation, Christian tradition, historical poetics
V. A. Viktorovich
Dostoevsky’s Pushkin Speech in the Testimonies of Contemporaries
AbstractThe article provides a critical analysis of the sources that report the details of Dostoevsky's Pushkin speech on June 8, 1880. They include letters, diaries and memoirs of listeners, telegrams and reports in newspapers and journals of the time. A cross-examination of existing and newly discovered sources revealed a number of conjectures, which usually emerge due to ideological considerations. The focus is on the memoirs of E. P. Letkova-Sultanova and D. N. Lyubimov, which depicted the event from ideologically opposed points of view. Thus, Letkova strongly denies the moment of unanimity of Dostoevsky's audience, recorded by other memoirists, and insists on the initial rejection of his speech by radical youth. Her memoirs usually arouse the confidence of researchers, since the author confirms his judgments with excerpts from his personal diary regarding the two-day the Pushkin celebration (June 7 and 8) that assert the priority of Turgenev. Letkova's memoirs were published in 1932. However, another, earlier and previously unpublished text has been preserved in The Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts in the N. S. Ashukin collection. It comprises five handwritten pages of the article “June days of 1880 in Moscow (From the diary of Ekaterina Letkova)”. Comparison of the early (1924) and late (1932) editions of Letkova's “diary” leads to the unequivocal conclusion that this “diary” was a later mystification, which was supposed to confirm the righteousness of progressive forces in their opposition to Dostoevsky (this motive was significantly emphasized in the 1932 edition). The memoirs of D. N. Lyubimov are structured in the same manner, only differing in that they covered the event from a conservative point of view. Lyubimov's memoirs are relevant for researchers, since he described Dostoevsky's audience in a more detailed way than other memoirists. This description should have led to the idea of consolidating the best members of Russian society. However, a critical analysis of this source showed that more than half of those who listened to Dostoevsky according to Lyubimov could not have attended the meeting. The memoirist also distorts the Turgenev's perception of Dostoevsky's speech (he allegedly “sobbed” when the speaker compared Lisa Kalitina to Tatyana Larina). Criticism of sources allows us to clarify a number of aspects in the perception of Dostoevsky's Pushkin speech as a key event in Russian culture, to approach its understanding on the basis of verified evidence from contemporaries.
KeywordsDostoevsky, Pushkin's speech, criticism of sources, the problem of authenticity
L. I. Saraskina
Truths and Lies in a TV Series About “Dostoevsky Beyond the Textbook”
AbstractThe paper offers a detailed analysis of Dostoevsky, a historical and biographical feature TV serial (in eight episodes), produced in 2011, when the writer’s 190th anniversary was celebrated. The film was directed by V. I. Khotinenko, the script was written by E. Ya. Volodarsky. The authors of the series claimed that their objective was to create an image of “Dostoevsky beyond the textbook”, wholly (or largely) unknown to today’s audience. But the authors did not explain what they meant by “Dostoevsky beyond the textbook”, nor, for that matter, by the “textbook” version. Professional expertise had found numerous gross distortions of both Dostoevsky’s biography and Russian history in the script. Nevertheless, after certain corrections by the film director, the flawed script was accepted as the basis for the series, which, in the end, proved to be as flawed. The objective of the film, as defined by the director, was to show the “human dimension” Dostoevsky, was realized in a very peculiar manner: for the sake of pseudo-dramatization, the writers’ real experiences in the fatal moments of his life were replaced with fictitious experiences; many events, well known and well documented, were deliberately misrepresented. For the film director, Dostoevsky was chiefly interesting as a person burdened with many vices, whose biography had been full of extraordinary striking episodes. The film director, by his arbitrary will, ascribed to Dostoevsky the desires, passions and actions of some of his fictional characters; this dubious, though frequently employed, technique has been readily utilized in the series. Numerous erotic episodes were supposed to demonstrate to today’s audience that nothing human was alien to Dostoevsky. His literary activity, his public readings (which he liked so much) were presented as bait used to lure the victims of his male lust. The series showed, as it were, that the writer had rehearsed, in his private space, the would-be crimes of his characters. The real, wellknown, Dostoevsky has remained outside the series. Viewers will not find his work on the novel The Possessed, the creative history of The Brothers Karamazov, the inauguration of the monument to Pushkin in Moscow, Dostoevsky’s Pushkin speech, his dramatic relations with Pobedonostsev, his friendship with S. A. Tolstaya (the widow of Alexei K. Tolstoy), the severe illness of his last days, his death, or his funeral, unprecedented in Russia.
KeywordsF. M. Dostoevsky, B. I. Khotinenko, E. Ya. Volodarsky, historical and biographical series, script, interpretation, human dimension, fantasy, slander, myth
T. N. Dementyeva, L. A. Voronkina
Darovoe Estate and Its Owner (According to New Archival Documents)
AbstractThe Dostoevsky family acquired the Darovoe estate in the Kashirsky uyezd of the Tula province on August 7, 1831. Here the future writer and his brothers and sisters spent the happy summer months in 1832–1836. The estate included the manor house (“seltso”) of Darovoye, the village of Darovaya, and land in the Nechaeva, Tripolye, Harina, Shelepova, and Chertkova wastelands. From the late 18th century to 1829, the listed territories belonged to the Kashirsky uezd landowner Vasily Khotyaintsev, then to his sons Peter, Nikolai and Vasily, and subsequently to their grandsons Pavel and Ivan Khotyaintsev. The latter owner sold the estate to O. A. Glagolevskaya in 1829, and she, in turn, sold it to the mother of the writer F. M. Dostoevsky. In February 1833, her husband, M. A. Dostoevsky, expanded the estate by purchasing the neighboring village of Cheremoshnya with the namesake wastelands. In 1840, after the death of their parents, the Dostoevsky brothers and sisters: Mikhail, Fyodor, Varvara, Andrey, Vera, Nikolai and Alexandra became the owners of the Darovoe estate. In 1852, the estate was bought from them by the writer’s younger sister, Vera Mikhailovna Ivanova (nee Dostoevskaya). After her, Darovoe and Cheremoshnya were owned by her children. The authors analyzed the documents from the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts, The State Archive of the Tula region, The Central State Archive of the City of Moscow, and the Department of Manuscripts of the Russian State Library. The archival materials revealed the circumstances of the change of ownership of the hamlet and the village of Darovoe and the incident changes from the late 18th century to 1852. It also revealed the details of the purchase of the village of Darovoe by M. F. Dostoevskaya and the exact date of acquisition of the village of Cheremoshnya by M. A. Dostoevsky (February 16, 1833). The study revealed the circumstances of the transfer of the estate to V. M. Ivanova and date of transaction (October 20, 1852), and named the participants of the division. F. M. Dostoevsky, who previously refused his share of the inheritance, did not participate in it. This article is the first to publish the mortgages on Darovoe and Cheremoshnya in 1833, the plan of the hamlet of Darovoe with the manor house dated 1847 (the closest in time to the memorial period), as well as the 1852 act of division, which specifies the conditions for the acquisition by V. M. Ivanova of the parental estate, its size and composition.
KeywordsF. M. Dostoevsky, village of Darovoe, manor house of Darovaya, I. P. Khotyaintsev, O. A. Glagolevskaya, M. F. Dostoevsky, M. A. Dostoevsky, V. M. Ivanova
B. N. Tikhomirov
The Marriage Allegation No. 17: Text and Fate (Dostoevsky’s Wedding in Kuznetsk on February 6, 1857)
AbstractThe article introduces for the first time the authentic text of the marriage allegation, compiled by the clergy of the Holy Mother of God-Odigitrievsky Church in the city of Kuznetsk in preparation for the wedding of Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky and Maria Dmitrievna Isaeva on February 6, 1857. The original of this document has not been preserved, as it probably burned down during a fire that occurred in the Kuznetsk Church in December 1919. In the biographical literature, the text of the marriage allegation, which dates back to a handwritten copy made around 1916 by the priest of the Odigitrievsky Church, Nikolai Rudichev, is preserved and now stored in the Memorial House of F. M. Dostoevsky in Semey (Semipalatinsk until 2007). In 1916, it was published with a number of inaccuracies by the priest and local historian B. G. Gerasimov in the now-missing publication “Siberian chronicle.” In this article, the marriage search is reproduced from a photocopy of the lost original, which was made in 1910 and is now stored in the Literary and Memorial Museum of F. M. Dostoevsky in St. Petersburg. The signature autograph of the writer under the text of the marriage allegation makes it an official personal document, which warrants the inclusion of the marriage allegation in the main body of the Academic Complete Works of the writer, in the “Official letters and business papers” section. A significant part of the article contains the polemic with the hypothesis of Siberian local historians M. M. Kushnikova and V. V. Togulev, who believe that the said marriage allegation was removed from the Church archives and destroyed before the fire of 1919. They believe that it was done in order to hide the forgery contained in its text, which makes Dostoevsky’s first marriage illegitimate. While agreeing that the document really did contain forgery, the author of the article relies on the then-contemporary legislation in proving that the conclusion about the illegality of the writer’s marriage is a great exaggeration, and the hypothesis about the seizure and destruction of the marriage allegation has no serious grounds.
KeywordsDostoevsky, Maria Isaeva, priest Yevgeny Tyumentsev, Kuznetsk, Holy Mother of God-Odigitrievskaya Church, wedding, marriage allegation, original, photocopy of the lost document
S. O. Zakharchenko
Epistolary Affair of F. M. Dostoevsky and Adventurer Marfa Brown
AbstractSeven letters by a certain Marfa Brown written to F. M. Dostoevsky between October 1864 and January 1865 were preserved in the writer’s archive. There are disputes over their relationship among the researchers of Dostoevsky’s creative work and life. The article considers the letters of Marfa Brown and her future spouse, writer and essayist, employee of the Vremya and Epokha journals, retired staff captain Pyotr Nikitich Gorsky to Fedor Mikhailovich, and clarifies the nature of their relationship. The purpose of this article is to systematize the known but disparate information about Marfa Brown (aka Martha Brown, Marfa Petrovna Panina, Elizaveta Andreevna Khlebnikova), identify new materials about her life, define the role that Dostoevsky played in the lives of M. Brown and P. N. Gorsky. The question is raised about a possible reflection of the relationship between M. Brown and P. N. Gorsky in Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment.Seven letters by a certain Marfa Brown written to F. M. Dostoevsky between October 1864 and January 1865 were preserved in the writer’s archive. There are disputes over their relationship among the researchers of Dostoevsky’s creative work and life. The article considers the letters of Marfa Brown and her future spouse, writer and essayist, employee of the Vremya and Epokha journals, retired staff captain Pyotr Nikitich Gorsky to Fedor Mikhailovich, and clarifies the nature of their relationship. The purpose of this article is to systematize the known but disparate information about Marfa Brown (aka Martha Brown, Marfa Petrovna Panina, Elizaveta Andreevna Khlebnikova), identify new materials about her life, define the role that Dostoevsky played in the lives of M. Brown and P. N. Gorsky. The question is raised about a possible reflection of the relationship between M. Brown and P. N. Gorsky in Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment.
KeywordsF. M. Dostoevsky, Marfa Brown, Elizaveta Khlebnikova, Andrey Ilyich Khlebnikov, Pyotr Nikitich Gorsky, literary environment, epistolary heritage, Vremya, Epokha, archive, prototype
E. L. Smirnova
Roman Emperors in Dostoevsky’s Calligraphic Notes to The Idiot
AbstractThe article focuses on clarifying the role of names of Roman emperors in Dostoevsky’s calligraphic records in his notebooks of the late 1860s (Russian State Archive of Literature and Art. Funds 212.1.6 and 212.1.7). One of the reasons for Fedor Dostoevsky’s invocation of images and themes from Roman history was the idea characteristic of the educated class of the mid-19th century, namely, that the history of Rome is a model of virtues and example of vices and atrocities, and is therefore essential to everyone who is not indifferent to the fate of humankind. Since the writer’s creative reflections mainly refer to Gaius Julius Caesar and the rulers of the first two centuries (and the first three dynasties) of the Imperial Period, the writer’s interest in the Roman Caesars must be correlated with his assessment of Imperial Rome in the I—II centuries as the time of strengthening the sole nature of the Emperor’s power and the spread of the Imperial cult, on the one hand, and the formation of Christianity, on the other. At the same time, Dostoevsky’s attention was drawn to Attila and Romulus Augustulus, whose names are associated with the final pages of the history of the Western Roman Empire. For Dostoevsky, Not only texts authored by ancient and Christian authors, but also images of Imperial Rome in contemporary literature and journalism became the sources of associations and motifs associated with the Roman Caesars for Dostoevsky. The most important nuances of meaning were born from the comparison of ancient Roman history with the new history of Western Europe and Russia. The evolution of the subject of calligraphic notes in The Idiot is significant: in the initial drafts of the novel the emphasis was placed on the despotism and monstrosity of the Roman rulers, while the notes for the final version concentrated on the reflection of the history of Imperial Rome and its fate in the Apocalypse.
KeywordsFedor Dostoevsky, textual criticism, calligraphy, prototypes, antiquity, Ancient Rome, Roman Empire, Roman Caesars, “The Idiot”, Apocalypse, Timofey Granovsky
A. A. Skoropadskaya
Strepitu belli propelluntur artes: Dostoevsky’s Latin Aphorism
AbstractThe article examines the Latin aphorism Strepitu belli propelluntur artes, which is found twice in Dostoevsky’s notebooks. The spelling and translation of the aphorism, its grammatical and stylistic structure, as well as the possible sources of the Latin quotation are elucidated. The expression in question is contextually unrelated to the Russian text and functions as an independent statement. The semantic connection of the aphorism with the content of the pages where it is found is revealed. The Latin expression marks the theme of war. The juxtaposition of war and art inherent in the aphorism and traditionally understood as the impossibility of their coexistence, is interpreted by the writer as a paradox: through his paradoxical hero, Dostoevsky fosters the idea that only during a war true art awakens souls and mobilizes a society’s spiritual needs. Subsequently, on his own behalf, the writer speaks about the nature of true art, which arouses people by its lofty ideals in the times of peace. However, the social reality is such that the only way for a spiritually unhealthy society to awaken and cleanse itself is a war over a noble idea. The Latin quotation is a key link in the writer’s reasoning, and it becomes an instrument of his argumentation.
KeywordsDostoevsky, ancient tradition, Latin, aphorism, quote, paradox, paradoxical hero
N. A. Tarasova, T. V. Panyukova
Semantics and Ideography of Dostoevsky's Handwritten Text: from Handwriting to Meaning
AbstractThe paper analyzes the material from two workbooks (1864–1867) that belonged to Feodor Dostoevsky (Russian State Archive of Literature and Art. Collection 212, inventory 1, storage units 4 and 5). The research was conducted in three main areas: selection of information for the letter style alphabet; comparative analysis of sources (manuscripts and publications of handwritten text) for the purpose of identifying and correcting errors in its reading; a review of calligraphy and graphics of Feodor Dostoevsky. The alphabet of letter styles allows to establish typical and atypical letter styles in the handwriting of Feodor Dostoevsky. This made it possible to compile a classification of letters, describe their features, and use this information in the study of difficult-to-read and previously undecipherable records. The latter may contain valuable information that allows to clarify the facts in the creative history of the works of Feodor Dostoevsky, biographical information, chronology of the creative process, and so on. The second area of research includes the comparative analysis of manuscript sources and their published versions — is of particular value for ascertaining the original author's text and eliminating the inaccuracies of research interpretations that often appear in the process of manuscript publishing. There is a direct connection between these areas of analysis — the letter style alphabet is a tool that allows to read the handwritten text more accurately and correct the mistakes of the publishers. The third direction, dedicated to the study of calligraphy, expands the range of tasks related to the study of graphics in the writer's texts and allows to draw preliminary conclusions about the nature of its function in the handwritten text. The scientific novelty of the work consists in the systematization of data on the writer's handwriting in manuscripts of the specified period, on the features of his creative work, and in correcting the errors made by publishers of handwritten materials and restoring the true meaning of the author's notes. The practical value of the work consists in collecting information about the writer's handwriting, which is relevant for the textual analysis of his works, publication of his texts, and use of the collected information for subsequent scientific work.
KeywordsFeodor Dostoevsky, workbooks, manuscripts drafts, textual criticism, handwriting, calligraphy