Dostoevsky's Greatest Characters: A New Approach to ''Notes by B. Paris

By B. Paris

Addressed to all readers of Dostoevsky, in addition to to lecturers, scholars, and experts, this lucidly-written examine methods the underground guy, Raskolnikov, and Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov as imagined humans whose emotions, behaviors, and concepts are expressions in their personalities and experience.  whereas saying the autonomy of Dostoevsky’s characters, Paris exhibits that there's a stress among them and the author’s rhetoric and demonstrates that the characters usually get away their illustrative roles.  via paying shut realization to mimetic element, this ebook seeks to get well Dostoevsky’s mental intuitions and completely to understand his brilliance in characterization.

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

Example text

He does not believe in the justice of his cause, but surrounding himself with a “fatal brew” of doubts and questions,” he creeps ignominiously into his “mouse hole” to brood on his injury (I, iii). ” He cannot believe in his right to vengeance because he can discover no basic principles on which to judge and act. All science can tell him is that everything is determined and no one is responsible. If he ignores questions of justice and virtue and acts simply out of spite, he finds that he has “not even spite”: “In consequence again of those accursed laws of consciousness, anger in me is subject to chemical disintegration” (I, v).

He may be a cripple, but he is better than those he imagines despising him. Here, as elsewhere in his notes, the emergence of self-hatred is accompanied by efforts to cope with it. He sees himself as confronting his own nature more courageously than others and as having greater self-awareness and selfunderstanding. Unlike them, he does not deceive himself. There is disagreement among critics as to the degree of the underground man’s honesty and self-comprehension. According to Mikhail Bakhtin, “there is literally nothing we can say about the hero of ‘Notes from Underground’ that he does not already know” (1984, 52).

A “masochistic way of lulling psychic pains,” observes Horney, “is to intensify them and wholly surrender to them” (1939, 272). ” Having to realize his shortcomings is unbearable for the underground man; when he exaggerates his pain and loses himself “in a general feeling of misery or unworthiness, the aggravating experience loses some of its THE DIARIST 41 reality, the sting of the special pain is lulled” (Horney 1936, 265). Through an orgy of self-degradation, he converts the agony of selfreproach into the pleasure of self-pity.

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