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From the Publisher"Scanlan studies Dostoevsky's nationalism, opposition to rational egotism, and beliefs about our eternal souls, moral agency, and aesthetic needs. Of course, Dostoevsky's philosophy was framed within a Christian world view, and Scanlan does excellent work discussing Dostoevsky's ideas in terms of his religious faith. Readers wanting to learn more about the thought of one of Russia's great writers will find this work essential."—Library Journal, May 2002
"The strength of Dostoevsky the Thinker is that it gives a clear exposure of a subject that has sometimes inspired what one can only call enthusiastic rambling."—Catriona Kelly, Times Literary Supplement, July 26, 2002
"This is a thoughtful, clearly written and well-researched study, full of excellent points, and finely wrought arguments. It will be essential reading for all those concerned with Dostoevskii's philosophical, religious views and the history of ideas in Russia."—Diane Oenning Thompson, University of Cambridge, Slavonic and East European Review, April 2003
"Scanlan . . . teases out logical arguments from both the literary and nonliterary works of his subject, the latter of which provide rich and previously little-known source material. . . . One of the premier scholars of Russian philosophy in the US, Scanlan has a general approach that is sober and urbane; he makes a spirited and convincing defense of Dostoevsky as an innovative thinker. The section of Dostoevsky's arguments for the existence of God is by itself worth the purchase price. Recommended for undergraduates."—D.C. Shaw, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. Choice Magazine, Dec. 2002.
"Scanlan's goals in Dostoevsky the Thinker are to show that Dostoevsky's discourse, in both private and published writings, is more consistent and reasoned that is often assumed. These goals are achieved in full awareness of the secondary place that Dostoevsky accords to logic and reason in his overall design of human access to knowledge and truth. The comparison and contrast of Dostoevsky's thought with other philosophical treatments are very welcome. . . . Much has been achieved in Dostoevsky the Thinker. We now have a consistent, careful account of what Dostoevsky the man thought on a number of philosophical issues in the context of Western and Russian thought. Scanlan has given us a stimulating book that will certainly revitalize debate about Dostoevsky's system of values."—Edith W. Clowes, University of Kansas. Russian Review, 62:1, January 2003.
"Through this valuable/precious book . . . , Professor Scanlan makes it clear to us that Dostoevsky's fundamental philosophical concern was Man and the destiny of humanity."—Bayan al-Kitab, October 2002.
"Dostoevsky the Thinker is beautifully written and thoroughly researched and organized so that the edifice of Dostoevsky's thought grows organically from chapter to chapter. Scanlan takes his subject seriously as a systematic thinker and a literary creator of genius. At the end we simply see the living Dostoevsky at the door."—Caryl Emerson, Princeton University
"Dostoevsky the Thinker offers a fresh and persuasive view of Dostoevsky's thought, which it treats with deserved respect and critical distance, neglecting neither Dostoevsky's coherence and seriousness, nor his 'intellectual untidiness.' Organized around an elegant set of categories, its argument is clear, accessible, and well-grounded in the extensive scholarship on Dostoevsky's thought. It merits the attention of any reader of Dostoevsky."—William Todd, Harvard University
"Dostoevsky was not only a novelist of ideas but an extremely influential and important journalistic commentator as well who wrote hundreds of pages expressing his ideas directly. James P. Scanlan does an admirable job of putting them together coherently, occasionally referring to the novels as well, even though justifiably critical of many of Dostoevsky's views. No one has accomplished such a task before, and the book is a major contribution to Dostoevsky studies as well as indispensable to all devotees of the writer."—Joseph Frank, Stanford University