Confronting Dostoevsky's Demons: Anarchism and the Specter by Dostoyevsky, Fyodor; Goodwin, James; Bakunin, Mikhail

By Dostoyevsky, Fyodor; Goodwin, James; Bakunin, Mikhail Aleksandrovich

Even if criticized at one time for its hugely tendentious spirit, Dostoevsky’s Demons (1871-1872) has confirmed to be a unique of serious polemical energy. initially encouraged via a minor conspiratorial episode of the overdue 1860s, good after Dostoevsky’s demise (1881) the paintings persevered to earn either acclaim and contempt for its scathing cartoon of revolutionists pushed by way of damaging, anarchic goals. The textual content of Demons assumed new which means in Russian literary tradition following the Bolshevik triumph of 1917, while the reestablishment and enlargement of centralized country strength necessarily revived curiosity within the radical populist traits of Russia’s earlier, particularly the anarchist considered Dostoevsky’s mythical modern, Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876).
Confronting Dostoevsky’s ‘Demons’ is the 1st publication to discover the lifetime of Dostoevsky’s novel in mild of disputes and controversies over Bakunin’s troubling legacy in Russia. opposite to the conventional view, which assumes the obsolescence of Demons all through a lot of the Communist interval (1917-1991), this e-book demonstrates that the capability resurgence of Bakuninist concept truly inspired reassessments of Dostoevsky’s novel. via exploring the several rules and important concepts that inspired opposing interpretations of the unconventional in post-revolutionary Russia, Confronting Dostoevsky’s ‘Demons’ unearths how the aptitude resurrection of Bakunin’s anti-authoritarian ethos fostered the go back of a politically reactionary novel to the canon of Russian classics

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Extra info for Confronting Dostoevsky's Demons: Anarchism and the Specter of Bakunin in Twentieth-Century Russia

Sample text

As the Nechaev affair plainly demonstrated, official intolerance of dissent fostered conspiracy among the nihilists, but conspiracy inevitably discouraged the autonomous thought and action that distinguished the model nihilist of the early 1860s. Similarly, Dostoevsky’s revolutionists differ notably from Chernyshevsky’s “new people” by their lack of any communal impulse. In Demons, nihilist opposition to backward ways no longer leads to mutual support and collective labor; on the contrary, the farcical quarreling among activists at Virginsky’s, together with Verkhovensky’s tyranny over his followers, mocks the very notion of common cause and action.

As a possible source of radical ideas and activity in the narrator’s town, however, Herzen and his writings prove to be too innocuous. 8: 303). 6: 283). 9: 328). 9: 330–331). 2: 395), both originate in ideas significantly more incendiary than those of Herzen. ” 25 activists cited in the text belong essentially to an earlier period or, like Herzen himself, are no longer alive. There appears to be little or no explicit textual evidence that Dostoevsky aimed his critique at any specific revolutionist other than Nechaev.

Thus revolutionary thought and activity over “there,” beyond the world of the narrator’s town, functions in Demons not merely as a mythical source of authority. Notwithstanding his deliberate distortion of his connections abroad, by implication Verkhovensky’s plans to “shake up” Russia enjoy the approval of revolutionists beyond Russia’s borders. As in many other respects, here Verkhovensky clearly recalls Nechaev, who also sought the support of revolutionists abroad, a fact which the domestic Russian press was eager to publicize.

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