Dostoevsky and the Riddle of the Self

E-book – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3571-0

Cloth Text – $120.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-3570-3

Paper Text – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3569-7
Publication Date
October 2017
Page Count
248 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Dostoevsky and the Riddle of the Self

Yuri Corrigan

Dostoevsky and the Riddle of the Self explores Dostoevsky’s literary career as an extended meditation on the question of “what is a human being?” Presenting new readings of such works as The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, The Adolescent, and The Insulted and Injured, it resolves what appear to be mutually exclusive interpretations of the self in Dostoevsky’s work by previous scholars.

Dostoevsky was hostile to the notion of individual autonomy, and yet throughout his life and work he vigorously championed the freedom and inviolability of the self. This ambivalence animates his diverse and often self-contradictory legacy as a theorist of selfhood: as precursor of psychoanalysis, forefather of existentialism, postmodernist avant la lettre, religious traditionalist, and Romantic mystic.

Dostoevsky and the Riddle of the Self charts a unifying path through Dostoevsky's artistic journey to reconcile the individual and the collective. Yuri Corrigan tells the story of Dostoevsky’s career-long attempt to overcome the pathology of collectivism by discovering a passage into the wounded, embattled, forbidding, and revelatory landscape of the psyche.

?Corrigan’s argument offers a fundamental shift in theories about Dostoevsky's work and will be of great interest to scholars of Russian literature, as well as to readers interested in the prehistory of psychoanalysis and trauma studies and in theories of selfhood and their cultural sources.
About the Author

YURI CORRIGAN is an assistant professor of Russian and comparative literature at Boston University.

"This highly original book examines Dostoevsky’s complex, multifaceted, and self-contradictory representations of selfhood as he tried to strike a balance between a fully autonomous, isolated self, and a self that is wholly dependent upon others."—Kate Holland, author of The Novel in the Age of Disintegration: Dostoevsky and the Problem of Genre after the Great Reforms

"Strikingly original and marvelously written, Dostoevsky and the Riddle of the Self  not only solves the riddle of Dostoevsky’s conception of the self, but also provides a wealth of new insights into his works. Corrigan’s study is likely to become an event in the field. What is more, it has the potential to be read beyond the circle of Dostoevsky scholars: students and general readers will find the book accessible, provoking, and inspiring. This is a major achievement in Dostoevsky scholarship." —Irina Paperno, author of Suicide as a Cultural Institution in Dostoevsky's Russia and “Who, What Am I?”: Tolstoy Struggles to Narrate the Self