Dostoevsky was hostile to the notion of individual autonomy, and yet, throughout his life and work, he vigorously advocated the freedom and inviolability of the self. This ambivalence has animated his diverse and often self-contradictory legacy: as precursor of psychoanalysis, forefather of existentialism, postmodernist avant la lettre, religious traditionalist, and Romantic mystic. Dostoevsky and the Riddle of the Self charts a unifying path through Dostoevsky's artistic journey to solve the "mystery" of the human being. Starting from the unusual forms of intimacy shown by characters seeking to lose themselves within larger collective selves, Yuri Corrigan approaches the fictional works as a continuous experimental canvas on which Dostoevsky explored the problem of selfhood through recurring symbolic and narrative paradigms. Presenting new readings of such works as The Idiot, Demons, and The Brothers Karamazov, Corrigan tells the story of Dostoevsky's career-long journey to overcome the pathology of collectivism by discovering a passage into the wounded, embattled, forbidding, revelatory landscape of the psyche.Corrigan's argument offers a fundamental shift in theories about Dostoevsky's work and will be of great interest to scholars of Russian literature, as well as to readers interested in the prehistory of psychoanalysis and trauma studies and in theories of selfhood and their cultural sources.
Yuri Corrigan is an assistant professor of Russian and comparative literature at Boston University.
IntroductionChapter 1: On the Dangers of Intimacy (The Vasia Shumkov Paradigm)Chapter 2: Amnesia and the Collective Personality in the Early WorksChapter 3: Transparency and Trauma in The Insulted and InjuredChapter 4: Beyond the Dispersed Self in The IdiotChapter 5: On the Education of Demons and Unfinished SelvesChapter 6: The Hiding Places of the Self in The AdolescentChapter 7: The Apprenticeship of the Self in The Brothers KaramazovConclusion
This highly original book examines Dostoevsky's complex, multifaceted, and self-contradictory representations of selfhood as he tried to strike a balance between a fully autonomous, isolated self, and a self that is wholly dependent upon others." - Kate Holland, author of The Novel in the Age of Disintegration: Dostoevsky and the Problem of Genre after the Great Reforms
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