A Devil's Vaudeville: The Demonic in Dostoevsky's Major Fiction
Northwestern University Press, May 24, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 210 pages
"Real" demons do rear their heads in Dostoevsky's writing; but what of the demonic more broadly interpreted such as the unclean forces--so diffuse, ugly, and ubiquitous--found throughout Russian folklore, in Christian demonology, and in the demon-figure of European Romanticism? These are the "demonic markers" that William J. Leatherbarrow traces through Dostoevsky's fiction, with a view to discovering the cultural genealogy, nature, and significance of these inscriptions. Whether found in the voices of particular characters or those of the narrator and implied author, these demonic markers contaminate much of the narrative terrain of Dostoevsky's major fiction. They also, as Dostoevsky scholar Leatherbarrow clearly demonstrates, function as a coherent semiotic system and serve as a rhetoric through which that fiction mediates its most pressing ideological and artistic concerns.
In fresh, often surprising readings of Dostoevsky's individual works, Leatherbarrow shows how such a "language" articulates a series of concerns linked to views expressed elsewhere--in Dostoevsky's journalism and letters--on the question of Russia's relationship to Western Europe. His study also explores the narrative and generic implications of the way Dostoevsky inscribes the demonic in his fictional works--implications that point to a new understanding of familiar concepts in the work of this Russian master. Highly original, deftly argued and written, Leatherbarrow's work offers Dostoevsky specialists and general readers alike an opportunity to rediscover and reassess the rich complexities of some of the world's greatest literature.
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aesthetic Aleksei Alesha appear Bakhtin bathhouse beauty Brothers Karamazov carnival chapter chert Christ Crime and Punishment Dead demonic markers demonic possession depiction devil divine Dmitry Dmitry’s Dosto Dostoevsky’s Dostoevsky’s Poetics dream Epanchin evil example Fedor Pavlovich Gambler God’s Gogol Gorianchikov Grand Inquisitor hell hero human Ibid ideal ideas identity identiWed Idiot inXuence Ippolit Ivan Ivan’s Ivanits Jackson laughter Lebedev liminal Lotman man’s monic moral motif murder Myshkin Napoleon narrative narrator Nastasia Filippovna nature Notes from Underground novel Orthodox pawnbroker pawnbroker’s Pechorin Petersburg Petr Petrushka possession Problems of Dostoevsky’s Pushkin’s Raskolnikov reference reXected Rogozhin role Romantic Russian culture Russian folk belief Russian folklore Russian Literature sacriWce scene semiotic sense signiWcance Smerdiakov Sonia sort soul speciWc spirit Stavrogin Stepan TroWmovich suggested suicide Svidrigailov threshold tion tradition unclean force Underground University Press Verkhovensky VIII Wction Wctional Weiner Western Wgure Wnal Wnally words writing Wrst Zosima’s
Page 8 - The chronotope is the place where the knots of narrative are tied and untied. It can be said without qualification that to them belongs the meaning that shapes narrative.