Author: Joseph Frank
Date Released: 1995
Page Count: 133
Isbn10 Code: 0691043647
Isbn13 Code: 9780691043647
From Publishers Weekly This fourth installment in Frank's acclaimed, projected five-volume biography presents an astonishingly vivid, uncanny portrait of Dostoevsky's spiritual, emotional and artistic development during his crucial years abroad. Marrying his pert, reserved stenographer, Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (his first wife died in 1864), Dostoevsky fled Russia with her in 1867 to escape harassing creditors and grasping dependents. Their obscure, lonely existence in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, until their return to Russia in 1871, was punctuated by the tragic death of their first child, Sofya, who lived only two months; by the penurious writer's frequent, disabling epileptic fits; by his mania for gambling; and by a stormy meeting with liberal, pro-Western Turgenev in Baden-Baden. The miracle implied by the book's title is that during this period, Dostoevsky wrote three major novels-Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Devils-plus two novellas, The Gambler and The Eternal Husband. Frank anchors the prophetic writer in his social and cultural milieu, tracing his struggles against Russian nihilists, his expose of the pitfalls of revolutionary politics, his messianic nationalism and his vision of an authentic Russian culture rooted in Christian morality and mystical union with the soil. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal The three previous volumes of Frank's biography (The Seeds of Revolt, 1821-1849, LJ 9/1/76; The Years of Ordeal, 1850-1859, LJ 11/15/83; and The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865, LJ 3/15/87) have received high praise as well as prestigious awards, and the current volume merits similar reception. Frank has aimed to keep Dostoevsky's works "constantly in the foreground...rather than accessory to the life...to furnish the reader with a context, drawn from the writer's personal life, as well as from the social, cultural, literary, and philosophical background... that will help toward a better understanding of the work." This he has done for the period in which Dostoevsky produced three major novels (Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Devils) and two novellas that rank among his best. With admirable balance and lucidity, Frank delineates the trying personal circumstances (poverty, the death of his first child, his gambling mania) as well as the influence of currents such as Russian nihilism on the works as they developed in Dostoevsky's notebooks. A rich and worthwhile biography for scholar and general reader alike.Richard Kuczkowski, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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