Through the Russian Prism: Essays on Literature and Culture

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Princeton University Press, 1990 - Literary Collections - 237 pages
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Joseph Frank's continuing biography of Dostoevsky is by now recognized as one of the major achievements of this century in this form, and perhaps the best work on the author in any language. During the course of this long-range effort, Frank has also produced articles, introductions, and occasional pieces that arise from his acute awareness of how Western ideas are changed, transformed, and given new meanings and implications when they are reflected through the Russian prism. It is this interaction between Russia and the West that has fascinated Frank for many years and that provides the focus for these essays. Assembled here are twenty contributions dealing with the culture that generated the great novels of Dostoevsky and the criticism of the Russian formalists of the early twentieth century, whose perceptions still shape our views of Russian and much of world literature. Included are evaluations of books by Jakobson and Bakhtin, as well as of books about the development of Russian formalist criticism and thought. At the center are pieces on Dostoevsky and his milieu, as well as on his influence on world literature. Among them are Frank's New Criterion piece on Ralph Ellison's debt to Dostoevsky and a critical examination of the world-famous article by Freud on the Russian master. Gathered together, these essays reveal one of the powerful critical intelligences of our time, considering issues that arise from his study of Dostoevsky but which extend well beyond the time and place of that novelist alone.

  

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Contents

Roman Jakobson The Master Linguist
3
The Voices of Mikhail Bakhtin
18
Ralph Ellison and Dostoevsky
34
The Lectures of Professor Pnin
49
Overviews
55
Russian Thought The Road to Revolution
57
The Search for a Positive Hero
75
Russian Populism
83
Approaches to the Diary of a Writer
153
Dostoevsky Updated and Historical
170
Dostoevsky and the European Romantics
179
The Dilemmas of Radicalism
185
Nikolay Chernyshevsky A Russian Utopia
187
Sons against Fathers
201
Deadly Idealist Mikhail Bakunin
209
Alexander Herzen Who Is to Blame?
213

From Gogol to the Gulag
89
Dostoevsky
107
Freuds Case History of Dostoevsky
109
The Background of Crime and Punishment
122
The Devils and the Nechacv Affair
137
The Birth of Russian Socialism
219
A Word on Leskov
225
Index
229
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About the author (1990)

Joseph Frank is the author of an award-winning multivolume biography of Dostoevsky.

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