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Dostoevsky: A Very Short Introduction [#747]
Dostoevsky: A Very Short Introduction [#747]
  • Surveys Dostoevsky's major themes, anchoring them in readings of his major novels and journalism
  • Offers readers a new understanding of the context underlying Dostoevsky's writing and the historical importance of his work
  • Gives a concise, accessible introduction to a world classic and internationally eminent author
  • Provides a major scholar's original interpretations of the author's entire body of work, including a probing treatment of the "big questions" of ethics and psychology

Fyodor Dostoevsky became the writer best known for his treatment of the big questions of ethics, religion, and philosophy.
In this Very Short Introduction, Deborah Martinsen explores Dostoevsky's tumultuous life story: his political imprisonment and narrow escape from execution, his Siberian exile, his gambling addiction, his romantic marriage, and his literary success. Martinsen also delves into his major works - Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Demons, The Brothers Karamazov, The Diary of a Writer, and more. Each chapter analyzes a key theme or aspect of Dostoevsky's writing that showcases his profound insights into human nature and society: doubling, freedom, shame, social justice, scandal, aesthetics, ethics, faith, and the eternal questions. Martinsen also demonstrates how Dostoevsky's novels remain relevant today as they address pressing questions about freedom, morality, and meaning in a complex world.


List of illustrations
Note on translation, citation, dates

1:Dostoevsky's dramatic life and writing: Notes from the Dead House and The Diary of a Writer
2:Duality and doubles: The Double
3:Freedom and polyphony: Notes from Underground
4:Space, social justice, and scandal: Crime and Punishment
5:Aesthetics and ethics: The Idiot and Demons
6:Eternal questions: The Brothers Karamazov

Further reading

About the author: 

Deborah Martinsen, Associate Dean of Alumni Education, Columbia College, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
Deborah Martinsen, a distinguished scholar and teacher of Slavic literature at Columbia University, specialized in Dostoevsky. She wrote and edited groundbreaking books and articles on narrative theory and on Dostoevsky's works, including Dostoevsky in Context, Surprised by Shame, Literary Journals in Imperial Russia, and Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment": A Reader's Guide. She served as President of the International Dostoevsky Society.

Product details

ISBN : 9780198864332

Deborah Martinsen
160 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Mar 2024
Very Short Introductions
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Dostoevsky: A Very Short Introduction [#747]

Dostoevsky: A Very Short Introduction [#747]

Dostoevsky: A Very Short Introduction [#747]