This is the first book in any language to examine the friendship and the interrelated thought of two giants of Russian culture: Fedor Dostoevsky (1821-1881), one of Russia’s greatest novelists, and Vladimir Soloviev (1853-1900), Russia’s most influential philosopher. Marina Kostalevsky provides biographical details and a wide-ranging comparative analysis of their principal works from philosophical, literary, historical, and religious perspectives.
For Soloviev and, even more, Dostoevsky, the tasks of literature and philosophy so converged that their writings marked a significantly new level of unity in these fields, argues Kostalevsky. This unity became the source of a vital and continuing current in Russian philosophical and artistic thought, seen today in the uneasy post-Soviet process of restoring the cultural tradition of the pre-Soviet past. Kostalevsky discusses the intricate inter-action between Dostoevsky and Soloviev, focusing on their philosophical and novelistic treatments of the themes of Godmanhood, theocracy, and ethics. She contends that Soloviev’s vision of the world—a vision grounded in the Christian religion and built on the general idea of Godmanhood—is paralleled in Dostoevsky’s major works. Further, she finds that Soloviev’s own interpretation of Dostoevsky inaugurated a Russian tradition of Dostoevsky criticism that culminates in the work of Mikhail Bakhtin.
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