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By Joseph Frank

This 5th and ultimate quantity of Joseph Frank's justly celebrated literary and cultural biography of Dostoevsky renders with an extraordinary intelligence and style the decade of the writer's lifestyles, the years during which he wrote A uncooked adolescence, Diary of a Writer, and his crowning triumph: The Brothers Karamazov.

Dostoevsky's ultimate years finally received him the common approval towards which he had regularly aspired. whereas describing his idiosyncratic courting to the Russian nation, Frank additionally information Doestoevsky's carrying on with rivalries with Turgenev and Tolstoy. Dostoevsky's visual appeal on the Pushkin competition in June 1880, which preceded his dying via 12 months, marked the apotheosis of his career--and of his existence as a spokesman for the Russian spirit. There he added his recognized speech on Pushkin prior to an viewers stirred to a feverish emotional pitch: "Ours is universality attained now not via the sword, yet by way of the strength of brotherhood and of our brotherly striving towards the reunification of mankind." this is often the Dostoevsky who has entered the patrimony of global literature, even though he was once now not constantly in a position to dwelling as much as such exalted ideals.

The writer's loss of life in St. Petersburg in January of 1881 concludes this unheard of literary biography--one really helpful of Dostoevsky's genius and of the outstanding time and position within which he lived.

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The "new play" that is the subject of this article is Dimitry Kishensky's Strong Drink Every Day Keeps Fortune Away, which, as already mentioned, ran in three issues of The Citizen. It had won first prize in a competition sponsored by the People's Theatre in Moscow, but was considered too inflammatory for the censorship to allow it to be staged. Kishensky depicts the breakdown of moral standards in a village whose peasants have left the land to work in a nearby factory. There they have succumbed to the lure of vodka, dispensed with a liberal hand by the wily factory owner so as to keep them in submission.

N. Ge, about which, as we know from the comments of Varvara Timofeyeva, the radicals were enthusiastic because Christ and his disciples were portrayed as average Russian men and women of the 1860s (21: 76). A satirical thrust against this painting had been made long ago in Notes from Underground, and here he attacks it again in a much more thoroughgoing fashion. "There sits Christ," he writes, "—but is that Christ? It may be a very good young man, deeply hurt by his quarrel with Judas, the latter standing there getting dressed to go off and denounce him, but this is not the Christ we know...

Dostoevsky was eager to free himself not only from the cloud hanging over his name because of The Crocodile. It was also necessary to do so as regards The Devils; and one of the most arresting articles in the Diary was aimed at accomplishing this much more difficult task. If read with our present knowledge, this article, "One of Today's Falsehoods," comes quite close to disclosing the secret he kept hidden all through his life— that he had taken part in a genuine revolutionary conspiracy during the 1840s.

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