Author: Dmitrij P. Ivinskij
Information about the author:

DSc in Philology, Professor of the Philological Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow.

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For citation:

Ivinskij, D.P. "Dostoevsky's novel 'Idiot' and the almanac of Karamzin 'Aglaya'". Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal, no. 3, 2018, pp. 161-184. In Russ.

Issue: 2018 no. 3
Pages: 161-184
DOI: 10.22455/2619-0311-2018-3-161-184
UDK: 821.161.1 + 8.82.0
BBK: 83.3(2РОС=РУС)1
Keywords: Karamzin, Dostoevsky, Rousseau, Bonn, almanac, novel, Aglaya.
Abstract: The article shows that Karamzin's “Aglaya” was the first version of the literary and ideological paradigm that was crucial for Dostoevsky's novel “Idiot”. Karamzin summarized the group of ideas that created the connection between the opposition of evil and truth and the theme of salvation. Karamzin and Dostoevsky combined these problems with “Russoism”, with the concept of development as progress and regression, and the problem of “natural man” as an ideal; they assumed that it's realization was impossible, however they believed that it's presence was necessary, and in both cases these concepts were directed beyond the limits of space and time. The knowledge of secret evil was associated with the motives of spiritual “innocence” and “sickness” / “painfulness”, physical and mental, travel as a moral experience; at the core of the “fallen world” were Lebedev's formulas of “sweet dust” and “joyful morning”. However Dostoevsky's works were connected not only with “Karamzinism” but with “Gothic Romanticism” as well (it's necessary to underline that this tradition can be bind together with Karamzin's “Island of Borngolm”, first published in “Aglaya”). The theme of spiritual catastrophe was linked with the theme of the end of history, which occupied Dostoevsky so much and was first outlined by Karamzin. Karamzin wrote about the exhaustion of the moral potential of history during the French Revolution, he shaped these reflections in “Aglaya” in the form of an epistolary discussion with an open final, emphasizing the drama of the topic, and thus opened the way for other Russian writers who came into contact with the challenges of the “last questions”, including Dostoevsky.


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