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Dostoevsky's Greatest Characters: A New Approach to ''Notes from the Underground,'' Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamozov

Overview

Addressed to all readers of Dostoevsky, as well as to teachers, students, and specialists, this lucidly-written study approaches the underground man, Raskolnikov, and Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov as imagined human beings whose feelings, behaviors, and ideas are expressions of their personalities and experience. While asserting the autonomy of Dostoevsky's characters, Paris shows that there is a tension between them and the author's rheotric and demonstrates that the characters often escape their illustrative roles....
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Dostoevsky's Greatest Characters: A New Approach to ''Notes from the Underground,'' Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamozov

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Overview

Addressed to all readers of Dostoevsky, as well as to teachers, students, and specialists, this lucidly-written study approaches the underground man, Raskolnikov, and Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov as imagined human beings whose feelings, behaviors, and ideas are expressions of their personalities and experience. While asserting the autonomy of Dostoevsky's characters, Paris shows that there is a tension between them and the author's rheotric and demonstrates that the characters often escape their illustrative roles. By paying close attention to mimetic detail, this book seeks to recover Dostoevsky's psychological intuitions and fully appreciate his brilliance in characterization.

About the Author:
Bernard J. Paris is Emeritus Professor of English, University of Florida and former Director of the Institute for Psychological Study of the Arts

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Dostoevsky’s fictional characters – qua characters – have not received the attention they deserve from Bakhtinian Slavists and other critics. Bernard Paris aims to correct this situation by looking at the underground man, Raskolnikov, and two of the Karamazov brothers through a post-Freudian psychoanalytic lens. The result is a savvy and very readable study which helps us to appreciate both the profound humanity of individual Dostoevskian characters as well as Dostoevsky’s extraordinary talent for mimetic portrayal."—Daniel Rancour-Laferriere, Emeritus Professor of Russian, University of California, Davis

“I know of no other book that comes even close to this one in explaining the intricacies of Dostoevsky's major characters. Having taught Dostoevsky's novels for over twenty years, I count myself lucky to have come upon this outstanding study. . . . To me, this is the best book in English on Dostoevsky's major characters. . . . Paris writes clearly and without jargon. Undergraduates and other non-specialists could follow his paragraphs without difficulty. Psychologists, philosophers, and teachers of literature and creative writing will profit greatly from his work.”—Joe E. Barnhart, Emeritus Philosophy and Religion Studies, University of North Texas and editor of Dostoevsky’s Polyphonic Talent

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230602939
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 2/5/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard J. Paris is Emeritus Professor of English, University of Florida and former Director of the Institute for Psychological Study of the Arts. His previous monographs include Experiments in Life: George Eliot’s Quest for Values, Conrad's Charlie Marlow, and Karen Horney: A Psychoanalyst’s Search for Self-Understanding (a New York Times Notable Book for 1994), among others.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
"Notes from Underground"
History and Personality     3
My Approach versus Frank's and Bakhtin's     3
Oppression and Suffering     6
Inner Conflicts     9
A Spiteful Official     13
Zverkov and Liza     17
Daydreams, the Visit to Simonov, and the Dinner for Zeverkov     17
Liza in the Brothel     23
Liza's Visit     27
The Diarist     33
Introduction     33
Why Can't He Act?     35
"That Strange Enjoyment"     38
The Most Advantageous Advantage     42
Crime and Punishment
Rhetoric in Crime and Punishment     51
Introduction     51
My Approach versus Bakhtin's     52
Dostoevsky's Rhetorical Techniques     56
Fashionable Modern Unbelief     58
The Right-minded Characters     63
Dostoevsky's Perspective     71
History and Inner Conflicts     73
Introduction     73
Raskolnikov and His Family     74
Inner Conflicts     82
An Extraordinary Man     86
After the Murder     89
Sonya, Svidrigaylov, andRaskolnikov's Conversion     95
Introduction     95
Raskolnikov and Sonya     96
Raskolnikov and Svidrigaylov     105
Raskolnikov's Conversion     108
The Happy Ending of Crime and Punishment     112
The Brothers Karamazov
Thematic Analysis of The Brothers Karamazov     117
Introduction     117
Ivan's Challenge     119
Contradiction in Ivan's Position     124
Responses to Ivan     126
Seeds That Bear Much Fruit     128
We Are Responsible for All     131
Freedom versus Happiness     133
Ivan: Character Structure and Beliefs     135
Introduction     135
Detachment     136
Anger and Aggression     139
Search for Glory     143
The Grand Inquisitor     146
Ivan: Before the Murder     155
The Emergence of Ivan's Inner Conflicts     155
Ivan and Smerdyakov     159
Temptation and Fall     163
Ivan: After the Murder     169
Introduction     169
The First Meeting with Smerdyakov     170
The Second Interview     173
The Final Visit to Smerdyakov     176
Continued Inner Conflicts     180
Alyosha: History, Personality, and Relationship with Zossima     189
Introduction     189
Alyosha and His Mother     192
Alyosha's Defenses     194
Alyosha and Father Zossima     199
Zossima's Teachings     201
Alyosha: Trials and Resolutions     207
Alyosha in the World     207
Comforts and Complications     212
Rebellion: The Death of Zossima     216
Raised from the Depths     218
One of the Elect     220
Conclusion     222
References     225
Index     229
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