Literature and Politics the Impact of Dostoevsky

9582 WordsJan 13, 201239 Pages
LITERATURE AND POLITICS: THE IMPACT OF FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY Dostoevsky and the Legend of the Grand Inquisitor, by Vasily Rozanov. Translated and with an Afterword by Spencer E. Roberts. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1972. Pp. xi. 232. $12.50. Political Apocalypse. A Study of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, by Ellis Sandoz. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971, Pp. xviii. 263. $13.50.* ostoevsky's great novels have spawned a vast library of critical 1/literature, a library which extends well beyond traditional literary criticism to cover the range of disciplines dealing with the human condition: philosophy, theology, psychology and sociology in particular. In this effusion of comment the real Dostoevsky…show more content…
A Study of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor. In style, approach, and viewpoint, these two works stand in contrast. Rozanov's is a frankly personal interpretation, with an approach more impressionistic than scholarly, while Sandoz offers a thorough, scholarly, highly technical analysis, from the perspective of a Western political scientist familiar with twentieth-century events and recent currents in political theory. But with all their differences—in date of composition, stylistic approach, and nationality and philosophical background of the authors—the two studies agree regarding many salient elements of Dostoevsky's philosophy Both Rozanov and Sandoz utilize the "Legend of the Grand Inquisitor" and its prologue entitled "Rebellion" (Book Five, Chapters IV and V of The Brothers Karamazov) as the text most accurately reflecting Dostoevsky's mature philosophy. Their choice is justified, since The Brothers Karamazov is the most philosophical of Dostoevsky's great works, was completed shortly before his death (thus presumably represents his final views), and within it the "Legend of the Grand Inquisitor" encapsulates, in poetic form, a profound religious, philosophical, and political view of mankind.' Readers will recall that Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov, who had been reared separately for most of their lives, meet in a tavern to "get well: at least they would lack all their

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