A Writer's Diary

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Northwestern University Press, Mar 17, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 574 pages
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The essential entries from Dostoevsky's complete Diary, called his boldest experiment in literary form, are now available in this abridged edition; it is a uniquely encyclopedic forum of fictional and nonfictional genres. A Writer's Diary began as a column in a literary journal, but by 1876 Dostoevsky was able to bring it out as a complete monthly publication with himself as an editor, publisher, and sole contributor, suspending work on The Brothers Karamazov to do so.   The Diary's radical format was matched by the extreme range of its contents. In a single frame it incorporated an astonishing variety of material: short stories; humorous sketches; reports on sensational crimes; historical predictions; portraits of famous people; autobiographical pieces; and plans for stories, some of which were never written while others appeared later in the Diary itself. A range of authorial and narrative voices and stances and an elaborate scheme of allusions and cross-references preserve and present Dostoevsky's conception of his work as a literary whole.   Selected from the two-volume set, this abridged edition of A Writer's Diary appears in a single paperback volume, along with a new condensed introduction by editor Gary Saul Morson.

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I have read the full version. By abridged and judging by the ethnicity of the translator I'm assuming this is the censored version ie the removal of Dostoevsky's musings about the Jews. Outrageous if so.

Contents

Translators Preface by Kenneth Lantz
xix
What This Abridgment Contains and
lxi
A Note on the Abridged Text
lxxiv
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

One of the most powerful and significant authors in all modern fiction, Fyodor Dostoevsky was the son of a harsh and domineering army surgeon who was murdered by his own serfs (slaves), an event that was extremely important in shaping Dostoevsky's view of social and economic issues. He studied to be an engineer and began work as a draftsman. However, his first novel, Poor Folk (1846), was so well received that he abandoned engineering for writing. In 1849, Dostoevsky was arrested for being a part of a revolutionary group that owned an illegal printing press. He was sentenced to be executed, but the sentence was changed at the last minute, and he was sent to a prison camp in Siberia instead. By the time he was released in 1854, he had become a devout believer in both Christianity and Russia - although not in its ruler, the Czar. During the 1860's, Dostoevsky's personal life was in constant turmoil as the result of financial problems, a gambling addiction, and the deaths of his wife and brother. His second marriage in 1887 provided him with a stable home life and personal contentment, and during the years that followed he produced his great novels: Crime and Punishment (1886), the story of Rodya Raskolnikov, who kills two old women in the belief that he is beyond the bounds of good and evil; The Idiots (1868), the story of an epileptic who tragically affects the lives of those around him; The Possessed (1872), the story of the effect of revolutionary thought on the members of one Russian community; A Raw Youth (1875), which focuses on the disintegration and decay of family relationships and life; and The Brothers Karamazov (1880), which centers on the murder of Fyodor Karamazov and the effect the murder has on each of his four sons. These works have placed Dostoevsky in the front rank of the world's great novelists. Dostoevsky was an innovator, bringing new depth and meaning to the psychological novel and combining realism and philosophical speculation in his complex studies of the human condition.

Gary Saul Morson is Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities and professor of Slavic languages, Northwestern University. Morson teaches "Anna Karenina" in a course enrolling 500 students-the largest Slavic Language class offered in America. Among his previous books is the award-winning "Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time," published by Yale University Press.

KENNETH LANTZ is Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Toronto. His previous books include "F. M. Dostoevsky: A Writer's Diary" (1994), and "Chekhov: A Reference Guide" (1985). He is the Editor of the "Toronto Slavic Quarterly".

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