Reading Dostoevsky by Victor Terras
“A substantial contribution both to Dostoevsky scholarship and to scholarship on the novel. . . . The first book in quite a while to address itself to all of Dostoevsky’s opus, certainly a bold move that only someone of Terras’s stature could pull off.”Gary Rosenshield, University of Madison-Wisconsin
Admirers have praised Fedor Dostoevsky as the Russian Shakespeare, while his critics have slighted his novels as merely cheap amusements. In this stimulating critical introduction to Dostoevsky’s fiction, literary scholar Victor Terras asks readers to draw their own conclusions about the nineteenth-century Russian writer. Discussing psychological, political, mythical, and philosophical approaches, Terras deftly guides readers through the range of diverse and even contradictory interpretations of Dostoevsky's rich novels.
Moving through the novelist's career, Terras presents a general analysis of the novel at issue, each chapter focusing on a particular aspect of Dostoevsky's art. He probes the form and style of Crime and Punishment, and explores the ambiguity of The Brothers Karamazov. Terras emphasizes the "markedness," of Dostoevsky's novels, their wealth of literary devices such as irony, literary allusions, scenic effects, puns, and witticisms.
Terras conveys the vital contradictions and ambiguities of the novels. In this informative, engaging literary study, Terras brings Dostoevsky and his art to life.