In Dostoevsky’s Dialectics and the Problem of Sin, Ksana Blank borrows from ancient Greek, Chinese, and Christian dialectical traditions to formulate a dynamic image of Dostoevsky’s dialectics—distinct from Hegelian dialectics—as a philosophy of “compatible contradictions.” Expanding on the classical triad of Goodness, Beauty, and Truth, Blank guides us through Dostoevsky’s most difficult paradoxes: goodness that begets evil, beautiful personalities that bring about grief, and criminality that brings about salvation.
Dostoevsky’s philosophy of contradictions, this book demonstrates, contributes to the development of antinomian thought in the writings of early twentieth-century Russian religious thinkers and to the development of Bakhtin’s dialogism. Dostoevsky’s Dialectics and the Problem of Sin marks an important and original intervention into the enduring debate over Dostoevsky’s spiritual philosophy.
Note on the Transliteration and Sources Acknowledgments Introduction
Part I: The Dialectic of Goodness Chapter One. "If You Don't Sin, You Can't Repent; If You Don't Repent, You Can't Achieve Salvation" Chapter Two. A Ray of Light in the Abyss Chapter Three. "The Devil Begins with Froth on the Lips of an Angel"
Part II: The Dialectic of Beauty Chapter Four. The Corridor of Mirrors in The Idiot Chapter Five. A Grain of Eros in the Madonna, a Spark of Beauty in Sodom
Part III: The Dialectic of Truth Chapter Six. Dostoevsky's Case for Contradictions Chapter Seven. Antinomic Truth (Istina)
Concluding Notes Notes Selected Bibliography Index
Ksana Blank is a senior lecturer in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University.
“The fundamental idea that shapes Blank’s interpretation is both sound and fruitful. Her conceptualization of the problem Dostoevsky’s works present is lucid and useful, and the distinction she draws between the author’s fiction and his journalistic writings well grounded.” —The Russian Review
“[Blank’s] is a study that should prove most rewarding and valuable, not only for the specialist in Dostoevskii and Russian literature, but for the general reader as well.” —Slavic Review
"Ksana Blank's interesting and suggestive study seeks to reconcile the different approaches to the religious interpretations that have developed since the earliest days of Dostoevsky studies, by conceptualizing and exploring the author's antinomic thinking." —Russian Review
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