The Gift of Active Empathy

E-book – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3338-9

Cloth Text – $120.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-3337-2

Paper Text – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3336-5
Publication Date
June 2016
Page Count
344 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

The Gift of Active Empathy

Scheler, Bakhtin, and Dostoevsky
Alina Wyman

This innovative study brings the early writings of Mikhail Bakhtin into conversation with Max Scheler and Fyodor Dostoevsky to explore the question of what makes emotional co-experiencing ethically and spiritually productive. In Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, Bakhtin's well-known concept of the dialogical partner expresses what he sees as the potential of human relationships in Dostoevsky's work. But his earlier reflections on the ethical and aesthetic uses of empathy, in part inspired by Scheler's philosophy, suggest a still more fundamental form of communication that operates as a basis for human togetherness in Dostoevsky. Applying this rich and previously neglected theoretical apparatus in a literary analysis, Wyman examines the obstacles to active empathy in Dostoevsky's fictional world, considers the limitations and excesses of empathy, addresses the problem of frustrated love in The Idiot and Notes from Underground, and provides a fresh interpretation of two of Dostoevsky's most iconic characters, Prince Myshkin and Alyosha Karamazov.
About the Author

ALINA WYMAN is an assistant professor of Russian at New College of Florida.