Between Religion and Rationality: Essays in Russian Literature and Culture

Overview

In this book, acclaimed Dostoevsky biographer Joseph Frank explores some of the most important aspects of nineteenth and twentieth century Russian culture, literature, and history. Delving into the distinctions of the Russian novel as well as the conflicts between the religious peasant world and the educated Russian elite, Between Religion and Rationality displays the cogent reflections of one of the most distinguished and versatile critics in the field.

Frank's essays provide a...

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Between Religion and Rationality: Essays in Russian Literature and Culture

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Overview

In this book, acclaimed Dostoevsky biographer Joseph Frank explores some of the most important aspects of nineteenth and twentieth century Russian culture, literature, and history. Delving into the distinctions of the Russian novel as well as the conflicts between the religious peasant world and the educated Russian elite, Between Religion and Rationality displays the cogent reflections of one of the most distinguished and versatile critics in the field.

Frank's essays provide a discriminating look at four of Dostoevsky's most famous novels, discuss the debate between the novelists J. M. Coetzee and Mario Vargas Llosa on the issue of Dostoevsky and evil, and confront Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism. The collection also examines such topics as Orlando Figes's sweeping survey of the history of Russian culture, the life of Pushkin, and Oblomov's influence on Samuel Beckett. Investigating the omnipresent religious theme that runs throughout Russian culture, even in the antireligious Chekhov, Frank argues that no other major European literature was as much preoccupied as the Russian with the tensions between religion and rationality. Between Religion and Rationality highlights this unique quality of Russian literature and culture, offering insights for newcomers and experts alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Russian Review
While the work will undoubtedly appeal to general readers, specialists will also find it valuable, particularly in the context of their teaching. Frank is able to masterfully distill large and complex themes into a few central points in a few pages, making his short essays a crucial resource for teachers short on time to prepare classes.
— Kate Holland
Slavic and East European Journal
This reconsideration of Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism illustrates Frank's chief qualities: profoundly knowledgeable, humanistic in his concerns, sympathetic to all sides, and, after all these decades of engagement, able to stand back and reflect about the large picture. If much of what he explores in these pages will be familiar to Slavists, his thoughtful commentary and sharp insights impart genuine pleasure and make this a book to enjoy.
— Barry P Scherr
Russian Review - Kate Holland
While the work will undoubtedly appeal to general readers, specialists will also find it valuable, particularly in the context of their teaching. Frank is able to masterfully distill large and complex themes into a few central points in a few pages, making his short essays a crucial resource for teachers short on time to prepare classes.
Slavic and East European Journal - Barry P. Scherr
This reconsideration of Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism illustrates Frank's chief qualities: profoundly knowledgeable, humanistic in his concerns, sympathetic to all sides, and, after all these decades of engagement, able to stand back and reflect about the large picture. If much of what he explores in these pages will be familiar to Slavists, his thoughtful commentary and sharp insights impart genuine pleasure and make this a book to enjoy.
Slavic and East European Journal - Barry P Scherr
This reconsideration of Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism illustrates Frank's chief qualities: profoundly knowledgeable, humanistic in his concerns, sympathetic to all sides, and, after all these decades of engagement, able to stand back and reflect about the large picture. If much of what he explores in these pages will be familiar to Slavists, his thoughtful commentary and sharp insights impart genuine pleasure and make this a book to enjoy.
Clio
An unsurpassed master of making history familiar and close by vividly and scrupulously representing people swept up by the ideas of their age, Frank's new book is yet another testament to his standing reputation as one of the very best literary biographers of our time and one of the finest biographers of all times.
From the Publisher
"While the work will undoubtedly appeal to general readers, specialists will also find it valuable, particularly in the context of their teaching. Frank is able to masterfully distill large and complex themes into a few central points in a few pages, making his short essays a crucial resource for teachers short on time to prepare classes."—Kate Holland, Russian Review

"This reconsideration of Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism illustrates Frank's chief qualities: profoundly knowledgeable, humanistic in his concerns, sympathetic to all sides, and, after all these decades of engagement, able to stand back and reflect about the large picture. If much of what he explores in these pages will be familiar to Slavists, his thoughtful commentary and sharp insights impart genuine pleasure and make this a book to enjoy."—Barry P Scherr, Slavic and East European Journal

"An unsurpassed master of making history familiar and close by vividly and scrupulously representing people swept up by the ideas of their age, Frank's new book is yet another testament to his standing reputation as one of the very best literary biographers of our time and one of the finest biographers of all times."—Clio

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691145662
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2010
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Frank is professor emeritus of Slavic and comparative literature at Stanford and Princeton. The five volumes of his Dostoevsky biography, published between 1976 and 2002, won a National Book Critics Circle Award, a "Los Angeles Times" book prize, two James Russell Lowell Prizes, two Christian Gauss Awards, and other honors. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies awarded Frank its highest honor.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I Classics

1 Pour Folk and House of the Dead 9

2 The Idiot 29

3 Demons 46

4 War and Peace 64

Part II The Russian Tradition

5 Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia 87

6 A Life of Pushkin 107

7 Oblomov and Goncharov 118

8 On Psychological Prose Lydia Ginzburg 129

9 Russian Conservatism and Its Critics Richard Pipes 143

Part III The Dostoevskian Orbit

10 Dostoevsky and Anti-Semitism 159

11 In Search of Dostoevsky 173

12 Arkady Kovner 185

13 The Master of Petersburg J. M. Coetzee 196

14 Dostoevsky and Evil 204

Part IV Twentieth-Century Issues

15 Anton Chekhov 219

16 The Triumph of Abram Tertz 230

17 D. S. Mirsky 249

18 Vladimir Nabokov: Lectures on Literature 261

Index 287

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