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By Joseph Frank

". . . a story of such compelling precision, thoroughness and perception as to offer the reader a feeling not only of acquaintanceship, yet of whole id with Dostoevsky, of searching through his eyes and knowing along with his mind."--Helen Muchnic, Boston Globe "This is definitely the easiest account now we have of Dostoevsky in his time."--Donald Fanger, the hot Republic ". . . will rightly be one of the best achievements of yankee literary scholarship."--Ren Wellek, Washington put up

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Extra resources for Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865

Sample text

Four years later, arguing this time against Chernyshevsky, Dostoevsky will dramatize these reflections as a split in the psyche of the underground man. For although the underground man accepts Chernyshevsky's ideas as the very latest word of modern "science," he cannot humanly live with their consequences; it turns out to be impossible for him "to hate what is his own nature" and entirely to suppress his moral awareness. Even in springing to the defense of the radicals, as we thus clearly see, Dostoevsky always does so from his own position and never conceals his disagreement with their theories.

Dobrolyubov was then in Italy struggling against the last stages of the tuberculosis that killed him a year later; Chernyshevsky was devoting all his literary energies to social questions; and Dostoevsky had, after all, stressed his agreement with the radical image of the liberty-loving Russian people. Most of the other journals, also engaged in arguments with The Contemporary, commented favorably on Dostoevsky's article; even a committed progressive like Aleksey Pleshcheev, a personal friend of Dobrolyubov, greeted it with approval.

Frankly baffled by Ivan Petrovich's unpretentious little tale of a poor copying clerk and a dishonored maiden, he instinctively responds, all the same, to the emotional appeal of its call for sympathy with the suffering and downtrodden: "There it is, it's simply a little story but it wrings your heart. . " Natasha also is moved to tears: "all at once she snatched my hand, kissed it, and ran out of the room"(3: 188-189). Shortly afterwards, she and Ivan Petrovich become engaged to be married.

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