Author: Tatiana A. Kasatkina
Information about the author:

DSc in Philology, Director of Research, Head of the Research Centre “Dostoevsky and World Culture”, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

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For citation:

Kasatkina, T.A. “How and Why the Author’s ‘Pointing Finger’ Is Formed in Dostoevsky’s Works: Dostoevsky’s Radical Theology in the Novel Crime and Punishment.” Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal, no. 4 (20), 2022, pp. 27–51. (In Russ.)

Received: 12 Oct. 2022
Published: 25 Dec. 2022
Issue: 2022 no. 4 (20)
Pages: 27-51

UDK: 821.161.1.0
BBK: 83.3
Keywords: writer’s theology, author’s theory of art, expressive means of the author’s position, Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, Marmeladov’s speech, biblical quotes, the concept as “grasping”, textual rhymes.
Abstract: The article is dedicated to the indirect means of expressing the author’s position and the ways for a deep theology to exist inside a literary text. Namely, the process of formation of the author’s “pointing finger” in a text counting on the reader’s individual active work is showed here. The expression “ardently raised pointing finger” belongs to Dostoevsky, and it involves simultaneously 1) the creation of trigger moments intended to engage the reader’s attention (“ardently raised”) and 2) the creation of a string of elements in the text pointing in the direction where the image of the hero gains volume and achieves its ontological core. Going in this direction, the reader’s active though (active, i.e., able to be directed to the transformation of oneself and the world) is vividly formed in the process of grasping the concept. Where only the first part of the author’s strategy worked, and the reader did not notice the string of elements pointing in the direction of a possible path of transfiguration, we get a reader convinced that Dostoevsky is a “brutal talent,” an author tormenting for no reason, that enters places, which entrance should be closed to, and raises questions that do not and should not have an answer – and, on top of that, a “bad stylist.” When both elements of the “ardently raised pointing finger” are activated, we become readers that can see the path of transfiguration before themselves and already progressed slightly on it. The article deals with the first mention of Sonia in the novel Crime and Punishment, when in the little first paragraph of her father’s speech Dostoevsky converges five quotes from the Gospel, thus forming a powerful starting point of the author’s “pointing finger.” If readers do not “grasp” it (at least subconsciously), they will not understand the “intricacies” of the plot, while if “grasping” they will find themselves at the beginning of a luminous path, as clear as day, as straight as an arrow.


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