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A Writer's Diary Volume 2


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Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (Russian: ; IPA: [ f odar m I xajlav Itc dasta jefsk Ij] ; 11 November 1821 - 9 February 1881 ) sometimes spelled Dostoevsky, was a Russian writer of novels, short stories and essays. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russian society. Although Dostoyevsky began writing books in the mid-1850s, his best remembered work was done in his last years, including Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. He wrote eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels and three essays and is often acknowledged by critics as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature. Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born and raised within the grounds of the Mariinsky hospital in Moscow, in Russia.


This concluding volume of Dostoevsky's experimental one-man journal (he was its editor, publisher and sole contributor until his death in 1881) is a melange of political commentary, observations on current events, reportage of sensational murders, philosophical musings and literary criticism on Tolstoy, Turgenev and Pushkin. Dostoevsky's idealized vision of the Russian people as a nascent fellowship of Christ who reject the values of the godless, materialistic West is a recurrent theme. Offering a ringside seat to the growth of German nationalism under Bismarck, the Russo-Turkish War, political instability in France's Third Republic and the cauldron of Eastern European nationalisms, these voluble outpourings are also of interest for their sketches of ideas developed more fully in The Brothers Karamazov. Dostoevsky's vicious, poisonous tirades against Jews reveal the depth of his anti-Semitic prejudice. Also included is the story ``The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,'' which reflects his search for life's meaning and longing for redemption. Lantz is professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Toronto. (June)

Volume 1 of this new translation, published last year, contains Gary Saul Morson's 117-page "Introductory Study," which means that Volume 2 is rather an orphan on its own. A Writer's Diary began in 1873 as a column in a periodical. From 1876 until his death in 1881, Dostoevsky-editor, publisher, and sole contributor-brought it out monthly as an independent publication. The Diary is a grab bag that includes autobiography, semifictional sketches, journalism, and a few short stories. It offers a valuable perspective on Russian cultural history and is also an important sourcebook for The Brothers Karamazov. The diversity of the Diary provides part of its fascination, though it recommends itself primarily to scholars of Russian literature. Dostoevsky's notion that he was creating a new literary genre is farfetched. The only previously available English translation is incomplete, lacks scholarly authority, and is long out of print. For specialists.-Keith Cushman, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro

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