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Author: Denis A. Zhernokleyev
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PhD, Senior Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA.

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Zernokleyev D.A. Nastasya’s Revolt: Metaphysical Significance of Contrariness in Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky and World Culture. 2019. No 1(5). Pp. 104-115

Issue: 2019 № 1(5)
Department: POETICS. CONTEXT
Pages: 104-115
DOI: 10.22455/2619-0311-2019-1-104-115
UDK: 82+821.161.1+2-1
BBK: 83+83.3(2=411.2)+86.2
Keywords: Dostoevsky, The Idiot, Nastasya Filippovna, Myshkin, Lebedev, Rousseau, Romanticism, Sentimentalism, revolt, contrariness, perversity, apophasis, apocalypticism, negation, death, resurrection, Holbein, Christ.

Abstract: This article explores the concept of perversity (contrariness) in Dostoevsky, concluding that it should be understood as a religious notion as opposed to merely ethical. In fact, perversity in Dostoevsky facilitates the conflict between the ethical and the religious. At its most intense contrariness in his novels is always apocalyptic — which is to say utterly destructive. Nastasya’s tragic embrace of death in The Idiot is the prime example in this paper of contrariness refusing to negotiate any “ethical” solutions and deliberately pushing moral discourse into the nihilistic register. However, nihilism in Dostoevsky does not exist for its own sake. Its purpose is to create a critical boundary between the ethical and the religious, where for the religious metaphysic to become manifest, the ethical metaphysic has to be actively and continuously renounced.

 

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