The Literature of Fyodor Dostoevsky Essay

The Literature of Fyodor Dostoevsky Essay

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The Literature of Fyodor Dostoevsky

If literature is a game, then Fyodor Dostoevsky is one of literature's most
talented and respected players. All of Dostoevsky's works are not only highly
regarded by his readers, but also scholars of literature. Sigmund Freud stated that
Dostoevsky's place in literature is "...not far behind Shakespeare" (Freud 972). The
novel most commonly referred to as his masterpiece is Crime and Punishment. This
novel is written with such genius that practically anyone could enjoy it (anyone who
would be willing to read a five hundred page novel, that is). Dostoevsky uses many
devices to keep his reader's attention. He uses the timeless intrigue of a detective
story but still produces an intellectually challenging novel. Crime and Punishment
can be read and enjoyed by the average reader, but also challenges the intellectually
superior reader by the use of psychological insights. Crime and Punishment's
characters are filled with deep psychological and spiritual questions that haunt the
reader long after the story is read.
Janko Lavrin stated that Dostoevsky tapped into "...the most hidden recesses
of man's soul and spirit, he was the first European novelist to explore the
unconscious and to annex it wholesale to modern literature..." (973-4). Victor
Terras elucidates one of the fundamental differences in the psychological
development of Dostoevsky's characters and other nineteenth-century novelists'

They are developed centrifugally rather than centripitally. As the novel
progresses, the reader keeps discovering new character traits in a
Dostoevskian hero, and some of these traits will come quite
unexpected. As a result the character in question k...

... middle of paper ... a belief in Christ. Dostoevsky also uses
his characters to describe the mental suffering and questioning that realizing the
truth of Jesus Christ caused him. Dostoevsky projected his own inner turmoil and
his doubting faith into his characters to "...achieve a kind of catharsis..." and
perhaps prevent himself from going mad (Lavrin 974).
In the game of literary composition, Fyodor Dostoevsky is still one of the
most talented and respected players. His works are still highly regarded by all
readers, including literary critics and scholars. Dostoevesky's masterpiece Crime
and Punishment is written with such propensity that anyone, from the average reader
to the superincumbent reader, can enjoy this novel. The psychological and spiritual
questions pondered by Crime and Punishment's characters will haunt any reader
long after the novel has been read.

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