Author: Vera V. Serdechnai
Information about the author:

Ph.D. in Philology, academic editor, Analitika Rodis Publishing House (Krasnodar).

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For citation:

Serdechnaia V.V. William Blake and F. M. Dostoevsky: a History of Comparison. Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal, 2020, No. 3(11). Pp. 158-168.

Issue: 2020 no. 3 (11)
Pages: 158-168
UDK: 821.161.1+821.111+82.091
BBK: 83+83.3(2РОС=РУС)1+ 83.3(4)
Keywords: William Blake, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Four Zoa, The Brothers Karamazov, modernism, demiurge and Christ, the problem of freedom, history of criticism.
Abstract: The article is devoted to the history of comparing the works of William Blake and Fyodor Dostoevsky. The author starts with the lectures of Andre Gide in the 1920s, in which he used quotes from Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell to clarify Dostoevsky. Gide believed that both authors were united by the devil theme and the fascination with evil and started the tradition of comparing Blake with Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, reflected in the works of Jean Wahl and Georges Bataille. American scholar Melvin Rader united Blake and Dostoevsky in rethinking the structure of the Christian Trinity and the image of the demiurge. Colin Wilson also compared Blake, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche in their attitude to Christianity, confirming the tradition of attributing Blake to the literature of modernism. Czesław Miłosz in the 1970s unites Blake and Dostoevsky as visionaries at the end of the Christian stage of history: both of them passionately note the terrifying fall of mankind into the abyss of the material world and the inability to survive there in its former guise. The Swedish-English researcher D. Gustafsson in his articles of the 2010s defended the idea of an inner unity between the writings of Blake and Dostoevsky: the fiery Orc of Blake has the same nature as the young revolutionaries of Dostoevsky, and goes the same way from rebel to tyrant. In the opera of Alexander Belousov in Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in Moscow, “The Book of Seraphim” (2020), Dostoyevsky’s Stavrogin and Blake's Thel are combined. The director interprets the desire of Thel and Stavrogin to get out of innocence into experience, and the dance of Stavrogin with Thel-Matryosha is not an act of violence, but an act of young passion. Thus, the English romanticist Blake and the Russian realist Dostoevsky have a serious and interesting history of comparison.  


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