Author: Tatiana A. Boborykina
Information about the author:

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Senior Lecturer, St. Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya Emb. 7-9, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia.

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For citation:

Boborykina, T.A. “No Longer an Adolescent, Not Yet a Prince”. Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal, no. 4 (16), 2021, pp. 88–122. (In Russ.)

Received: 18 June 2021
Published: 25 Dec. 2021
Issue: 2021 no. 4 (16)
Pages: 88-122
UDK: 821.16.1.0
BBK: 83.3(2=411.2)
Keywords: Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Dickens, Shakespeare, adolescent, visual metaphor, “Prince-Christ”, A Christmas Carol, The Beggar Boy at Christ’s Christmas Tree, “Hamlet-Christian”.
Abstract: The essay explores some of the numerous questions which the readers of The Adolescent — one of the most enigmatic novels by Dostoevsky — face. What is the hidden meaning of the various allusions to Pushkin, Dickens, Shakespeare, which are spread all over the text? What is the encoded meaning of the novel’s specific style, its “cinematographic” visuality, and finally — what is the meaning of the very title, and why it is constantly repeated that the adolescent with a “princely” name is not a “Prince”? The path of the hero and his idea of “becoming Rothschild” is traced. The reasons for such an idea are discovered through parallels to A Christmas Carol by Dickens. The Biblical parable about the rich man and Lazarus is defined as the source of both Dickens’s story and part of Dostoevsky’s novel. The point of transformation of the adolescent’s “idea” is compared with Dostoevsky’s Christmas story The Beggar Boy at Christ’s Christmas Tree. Special attention is paid to such elements of style as the “stream of consciousness”, “internal monologue” etc., which foreshadow revelations of modernism. Cinematographic devices like “close-ups” and materialized metaphors are also in the focus of attention, as most of them visualize the leitmotifs of the novel. The analysis of the adolescent’s spiritual portrait discovers an important role of not only his “two fathers”, but also his school friend Lambert, whose grotesque and almost mythological figure is interpreted in various ways. The structure of the essay leads to the decoding of the laconic formula “Hamlet-Christian” with which Dostoevsky opens his outline and notes to the novel. The maxim is interpreted as some transcendental goal to which the author is leading his hero from the very first line of the novel’s plan. In the context of the theme “No longer an adolescent, not yet a Prince” the essay explores the metaphorical content of such notions as “adolescent” and “prince”. The research highlights that the metaphysical realm of the novel is enormous and embraces not only the path of its young hero but also the possible ways of the historical development of both Russia and Europe.


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