Author: Inna D. Gazheva
Information about the author:

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Illarion Sventsitskiy Department of Slavic Philology, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Universytetska St. 1, 79000 Lviv, Ukraine.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For citation:

Gazheva, I.D. “‘I Don’t Like Sunsets’: The Semantics of the Symbol of the Sunset in Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent”. Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal, no. 3 (15), 2021, pp. 53-75. (In Russ.)

Received: 06 Mar. 2021
Published: 25 Sep. 2021
Issue: 2021 no. 3 (15)
Pages: 53-75
UDK: 821.161.1.0
BBK: 83.3(2РОС=РУС)
Keywords: symbol, ambivalence, narrator, “slanting rays of the setting sun”
Abstract: The article is the continuation of a study on the symbols of sunset in Dostoevsky’s works. Developing the idea of the ambivalence of the Unfading Light, the author shows how this idea is revealed in the novel The Adolescent. The originality of its disclosure is determined by the diegetic form of narration and the age-related psychology of the character-narrator, which is unique for Dostoevsky’s novels. Inclined to attach an exaggerated importance to his own thoughts and feelings, the adolescent captures and analyzes in detail his reactions to the light of the setting sun. This makes it possible to trace their dynamics, which corresponds to the dynamics of his growing up. It is noted that the semantics of the symbols of sunset is explicated not only in monologic episodes but also in the scenes that are seen through the eyes of Arkady. In these episodes, the semantics of the symbol is revealed indirectly: being hidden for the characters themselves (including the diegetic narrator), it is revealed to the reader through the description of their external actions and reactions. At the same time, the reader is prepared to comprehend the symbolic meaning of the image through reflections of Arkady, who definitely does not like the sunset in the first part of the novel and is able to joyfully react to it after the encounter with Makar. The appearance of this character in the novel significantly increases its “luminosity”: all scenes and monologic episodes, which reveal the ambivalence of the symbols of sunset, are concentrated in the third part of the novel and prepare that major chord of universal reconciliation and incipient transformation that sounds in the finale.


1. “Akafist sviatomu Arkhangelu Mikhailu” [“Akathist to Saint Michael the Archangel”]. Akafistnik na vsiakuiu potrebu [Akathisnik for Every Need], Moscow, Uchrezhdenie kul’tury, iskusstva, nauki i obrazovaniia “Dukhovnoe preobrazhenie” Publ., 2010, pp. 382-400. (In Russ.)

2. Belnep, R. Struktura “Brat’ev Karamazovykh” [The structure of The Brothers Karamazov]. St. Petersburg, Akademicheskii proekt Publ., 1997, 144 p. (In Russ.)

3. Gazheva, I.D. “‘…egda zahozhdashe solnte’: svet vechernii v proizvedeniiakh F.M. Dostoevskogo i Andreia Belogo” [“‘…While the Sun Was Setting’: the Evening Light in the Works of F.M. Dostoevsky and Andrei Bely”]. Dostoevskii i mirovaia kul’tura. Filologicheskii zhurnal, no. 1 (9), 2020, pp. 51-82. (In Russ.)

4. Gachev, G.D. “Kosmos Dostoevskogo” [“Dostoevsky’s Cosmos”]. Natsional’nyi obraz mira [The National Image of the World], Moscow, Sovetskii pisatel’ Publ., 1988, pp. 379-396. (In Russ.)

5. Gerigk, Kh.-Iu. Literaturnoe masterstvo Dostoevskogo v razvitii. Ot “Zapisok iz Mertvogo doma” do “Brat’ev Karamazovykh” [The Development of Dostoevsky’s Literary Skills. From Memoirs from the House of the Dead to The Brothers Karamazov]. Translated by K.Iu. Lappo-Danilevsky, St. Petersburg, Pushkin House; Nestor-Istoriia Publ., 2016. 320 p. (In Russ.)

6. Gogol’, N.V. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii: v 14 tomakh [Complete Works: in 14 vols]. Moscow-Leningrad, AN SSSR Publ., 1937-1952. (In Russ.)

7. Dostoevskii, F.M. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii: v 30 tomakh [Complete Works: in 30 vols]. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1972–1990. (In Russ.)

8. Durylin, S. “Ob odnom simvole u Dostoevskogo” [“About One Symbol in Dostoevsky”]. Dostoevskii [Dostoevsky], Moscow, GAKhN Publ., 1928, pp.163-198. (In Russ.)

9. Zykhovskaia, N.L. “Simvol” [“Symbol”]. Dostoevskii: Estetika i poetika: Slovar’-spravochnik [Dostoevsky: Aesthetics and Poetics: Reference Dictionary], Cheliabinsk, Metall Publ., 1997, pp. 214-215. (In Russ.)

10. Izmest’eva, N.S. “Ob odnom evangel’skom siuzhete u F.M. Dostoevskogo” [“About an Evangelic Storyline in Fyodor Dostoevsky”]. Vestnik Udmurtskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriia Istoriia i filologiia, no. 1, 2006, pp. 35-46. (In Russ.)

11. Kasatkina, T.A. O tvoriashchei prirode slova. Ontologichnost’ slova v tvorchestve F.M. Dostoevskogo kak osnova “realizma v vyschem smysle” [On the Poietic Nature the Word. The Ontology of the Word in the Work of F.M. Dostoevsky as the Fundament of “Realism in a Higher Sense”]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2004. 480 p. (In Russ.)

12. “Kruglyi stol. Problema ‘realizma v vysshem smysle’ v tvorchestve Dostoevskogo” [“Round Table. The Problem of ‘Realism in the Highest Sense’ in Dostoevsky’s Work”]. Dostoevskii i mirovaia kul’tura. Al’manakh, no. 20, 2004, pp.43-96. (In Russ.)

13. Lunde, I. “Ot idei k idealu – ob odnom simvole v romane Dostoevskogo ‘Podrostok’” [“From Idea to Ideal. On a Symbol in Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent”]. Problemy istoricheskoi poetiki, no. 5, 1998, pp. 416-423. (In Russ.)

14. Medvedev, A.A. “Simvolika kosykh luchei v tvorchestve F. M. Dostoevskogo i pravoslavnaia liturgicheskaia i bogoslovskaia traditsiia” [“The Symbolism of Oblique Rays in the Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky and the Orthodox Liturgical and Theological Tradition”]. Kontekst-2008: Istoriko-literaturnye i teoreticheskie issledovaniia [Context-2008: Research on History of Literature and Theory], Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2009, pp. 18-46. (In Russ.) 15. Okhotsimskii, A.D. “Ogon’ v Biblii” [“Fire in the Bible”]. Ogon’ i svet v sakral’nom prostranstve. Materialy Mezhdunarodnogo simpoziuma [Fire and Light in the Sacred Space. Materials from the International Symposium], Moscow, Indrik Publ., 2011, pp.168-190. (In Russ.)

16. Pankratova, M.N. “‘Svetovaia’ Leksika i prostranstvo ugla v tvorchestve F.M. Dostoevskogo” [“The Vocabulary of ‘Light’ and the Space of the Angle in Dostoevsky’s Work”]. Novyi filologicheskii vestnik, no. 1 (4), 2007, pp. 174-172. (In Russ.)

17. “Primechaniia A.G. Dostoevskoy k sochineniyam F.M. Dostoevskogo” [“Anna Dostoevskaya’s Notes to Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Writings”]. Grossman, L.P. Seminariy po Dostoevskomu. Materialy, bibliografiya i kommentarii [Seminaries on Dostoevsky. Materials, Bibliography, and Comments], Moscow-Petrograd, Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo Publ., 1923, pp. 54–70. (In Russ.)

18. Sedakova, O.A. Tserkovnoslaviano-russkie paronimy: Materialy k slovariu [Church Slavonic-Russian Paronyms: Materials for a Dictionary]. Moscow, Greko-latinskii kabinet Iu.A. Shichalina Publ., 2005. 432 p. (In Russ.)

19. Sedakova, O.A. “‘Da veseliatsia nebesnaia…’: tropar’ – pesn’ pobedy” [“‘Let the Heaven Rejoice…’: The Troparion, a Song of Victory”]. Neskuchnyi sad, 26.05.2013, Accessed 15 Feb. 2021 (In Russ.)

20. Stepanian, K.A. Iavlenie i dialog v romanakh F.M. Dostoevskogo [Phenomenon and Dialogue in Dostoevsky’s Novels]. St. Petersburg, Kriga Publ., 2010. 400 p. (In Russ.)

21. Syrovatko, L.V. “Fotodosiia u Dostoevskogo. Svetopis’ ‘Velikogo Piatiknizhiia’. Obshchii ocherk” [“Photodosia in Dostoevsky’s Works. Painting of Lights in the Five Great Novels. A General Outline”]. Dostoevskii: Filosofskoe myshlenie, vzgliad pisatelia [Dostoevsky: Philosophical Thinking, the View of a Writer], St. Petersburg, Dmitrii Bulanin Publ., 2012, рр. 363-397. (In Russ.)

22. Tarasova, N.A. “Obraz zakhodiashchego solntsa v romane ‘Podrostok’: Dostoevskii i Dikkens” [“The Image of the Setting Sun in the Novel The Adolescent: Dostoevsky and Dickens”]. Russkaia literatura, no. 1, 2012, pp. 124-132. (In Russ.)

23. Fudel’, S.I. Sobranie sochinenii: v 3 tomakh [Collected Works: in 3 vols], vol. 3. Moscow, Russkii put’ Publ., 2005. 456 p. (In Russ.)