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Author: Karen A. Stepanyan
Information about the author:

Researcher of F.M. Dostoyevsky’s works, Leading Research Associate of IWL, editorial board member of “Znamya”, Vice-president of Dostoyevsky Russian Society, founder and the editor-in-chief of the almanac and then the journal “Dostoyevsky and the World Culture”, DLitt.

For citation:

Stepanyan, K.A. "The Author's Biography as the Source of Commentary to F.M. Dostoyevsky's Novel 'The Brothers Karamazov'". Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal, no. 3, 2018, pp. 119-142. In Russ.

Issue: 2018 no. 3
Department: BIOGRAPHY
Pages: 119-142
DOI: 10.22455/2619-0311-2018-3-119-142
UDK: 821.161.1 + 8.82.0
BBK: 83.3(2РОС=РУС)1
Keywords: creative method, personal experience, reinterpretation, authorial idea, Schiller, reality.
Abstract: The article proves that Dostoevsky’s creative method warranted a strong connection between his biography and the underlying meaning of his works. Unless this connection is taken into account, our understanding of Dostoevsky’s works may be incomplete or even mistaken. If we only consider the way Dostoevsky’s works reflect a staggering variety of external stimuli (literary, artistic, Biblical, philosophical, etc.) usually listed in the commentaries, we may think that Dostoevsky either took an utterly pluralistic stance or engaged in constant self-objections, since he always strove to present every worldview to the fullest possible extent. Yet the personal experiences of the writer who traveled the life path of each of his characters cement the entire work into a unified conceptual statement. However, Dostoevsky never transposed his personal experiences into his works directly and he never entrusted them directly to a particular character. His experiences were always reinterpreted, and it is the stance the author took on a particular experience while writing a novel that allows us to elucidate the authorial idea of the entire work or to properly understand its particular fragment. It applies both to Dostoevsky’s reallife experiences and to his experiences he gained by reading and interpreting those authors who were of crucial importance for him and whose works became elements of his biography (for instance, Belinsky’s correspondence with Gogol and Schiller’s works). This feature of Dostoevsky’s creative method was particularly apparent in his final work, The Brothers Karamazov.

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