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Dostoevsky's The Idiot and the Ethical Foundations of Narrative

Dostoevsky's The Idiot and the Ethical Foundations of Narrative

Reading, Narrating, Scripting

By Sarah Young

In considering Dostoevsky's 'The Idiot', a novel less easily defined in terms of plot and ideas than his other major fictional works, Sarah Young addresses problems in the novel unresolved by previous interpretations, and in doing so fills a significant gap in Dostoevsky studies.

PDF, 226 Pages

ISBN:9780857287359

November 2004

£13.59, $22.00

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About This Book

In considering Dostoevsky's 'The Idiot', a novel less easily defined in terms of plot and ideas than his other major fictional works, Sarah Young addresses problems in the novel unresolved by previous interpretations, and in doing so fills a significant gap in Dostoevsky studies. 'Dostoevsky's The Idiot and the Ethical Foundations of Narrative' provides an innovative theoretical framework for an analysis that integrates structural and narratological considerations with thematic (religious and ethical) aspects, by focusing on the characters' interactivity as the most fundamental level on which the ethical systems of the novel are enacted. It examines the questions of what ethical bases are put forward by the novel, what faith-issues and philosophical world-views they derive from, and how, in terms of structuring and narration rather than simply thematically, they are presented in the novel. For the first time, through the concept of scripting, the author shows how the ethical becomes the foundation for the narratological in The Idiot. No other book on Dostoevsky has addressed the question of ethics, which is so important to the study of Dostoevsky, particularly in the light of recent work on the religious dimension of his novels, within the context of narrative and Bakhtinian dialogue. This substantial new work will appeal to academics, postgraduates and undergraduates working on Dostoevsky and the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian novel in general; as well as scholars in the fields of literary theory, including Bakhtin studies, narratology, literature and ethics.

Reviews

'Original, well argued, convincing and attractively written throughout.' —Malcolm Jones, Professor Emeritus, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, University of Nottingham


'A truly outstanding and original piece of work.' —Robin Feuer Miller, Edytha Macy Gross Professor of Humanities, Brandeis University

Author Information

Sarah Young is a Leverhulme Special Research Fellow in the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Series

Anthem Series on Russian

East European and Eurasian Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; A Note on Transliterations and Translations; Introduction; I. Reading The Idiot: The Hero and Other Problems; II. Interactive Narrating in the Idiot: The Scripting Impulse; 1. The Disappearing Heroine; I. Creating the Heroine: Rogozhin's Story; II. Nastas'ia Filippovnas's Lie: The Struggle Against Objectification; III. The Heroine Appears: Two Skandaly; IV. The Heroine Disappears: Control and Interpretation; V. Confrontation and Reverberation; VI. Freedom and Necessity: The Ideological Heroine; 2. Compassionate Realism and the Principles of Saintly Scripting; 1. The Foundations of Myshkin's Script in Narrative; II. The Foundations of Myshkin's Script in Action; III. The Foundations of Myshkin's Script in Experience; IV. Rocking the Foundations; 3. Self and other in Dostoevsky's Aesthetic Activity; I. Ippolit and the Other; II. Time, Narration and the Other; III. The Narrator's Novel; IV: Challenging the Narrator's Novel; Conclusion; Abbreviations; Notes; Bibliography

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