Author: Gennady Yu. Karpenko
Information about the author:

DSc in Philology, Professor of the Department of Russian and Foreign Literature and Public Relations, S.P. Korolev Samara National Research University, Moskovskoe Shosse 34, 443086 Samara, Russia.

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For citation:

Karpenko, G.Yu. “‘Nature Made Us This Way…’: Crime without Punishment? (Fyodor Dostoevsky and Ivan Bunin).” Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal, no. 1 (25), 2024, pp. 134–167. (In Russ.)

Received: 19 Oct. 2023
Published: 25 Mar. 2024
Issue: 2024 no. 1 (25)
Pages: 134-167

UDK: 821.161.1.0+23/28
BBK: 83.3
Keywords: Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, Bunin, “Loopy Ears,” “the law of nature” in Cain and in Christ.
Abstract: The article substantiates the need to conceptualize the “dark” nature of man, as presented in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment and Ivan Bunin’s short story “Loopy Ears.” Asserting the truth in God, the writers also reveal the “dark” in man. Dostoevsky employs Raskolnikov’s words about the right of the “extraordinary” “according to the law of nature” to murder, while Bunin, through a detailed description of the “born criminal,” outlines another — not biblical — image of the “crown of Creation.” The subject of the first article is Raskolnikov’s words about the right to commit a crime. They are considered in the light of philosophical and religious sources: it is shown how stable prerequisites for the emergence of “schismatic” views were formed in European science; the plot motives of the “sixth day” of creation, the “second” creation from “nothing,” the “return” of Cain are comprehended in conjunction with this. Dostoevsky, remaining “with Christ” in the explanation of man, does not simplify his understanding of the anthropological problem: there are not only “people” who fill history with atrocities, but also Cain who always returns in the “wickedness” of the “wicked tribe” and returns, perhaps, to “ourselves.” Dostoevsky leads the reader to the “sixth” day of Creation (“apophaticism backwards”), illuminating his path both with the love of Christ and with his experience and knowledge of humanity. For Dostoevsky, the anthropological question remains open: not because of faith (“I would rather stay with Christ”), but because of historical facts and the modern understanding of man, where he appeared as “split,” as described in Raskolnikov’s article. The actualization of the ontological and anthropological problems of the novel reveals the opportunity to evaluate Crime and Punishment in the words of the Apostle Paul: “ written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.”


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