Dostoevsky and the Catholic Underground

Paper Text – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3984-8

Cloth Text – $99.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-2957-3
Publication Date
April 2014
Page Count
312 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Dostoevsky and the Catholic Underground

Elizabeth A. Blake

While Dostoevsky’s relation to religion is well-trod ground, there exists no comprehensive study of Dostoevsky and Catholicism. Elizabeth Blake’s ambitious and learned Dostoevsky and the Catholic Underground fills this glaring omission in the scholarship. Previous commentators have traced a wide-ranging hostility in Dostoevsky’s understanding of Catholicism to his Slavophilism. Blake depicts a far more nuanced picture. Her close reading demonstrates that he is repelled and fascinated by Catholicism in all its medieval, Reformation, and modern manifestations. Dostoevsky saw in Catholicism not just an inspirational source for the Grand Inquisitor but a political force, an ideological wellspring, a unique mode of intellectual inquiry, and a source of cultural production. Blake’s insightful textual analysis is accompanied by an equally penetrating analysis of nineteenth-century European revolutionary history, from Paris to Siberia, that undoubtedly influenced the evolution of Dostoevsky’s thought.
About the Author

ELIZABETH A. BLAKE is an assistant professor of Russian in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at Saint Louis University.


“We have to acknowledge that Elizabeth Blake’s monograph is an extraordinary achievement. Through its rhetoric and erudition it draws the reader into new ways of close-reading Dovstoevskii’s novels.” —Slavonic and East European Review

“Any reader of Joseph Frank’s magisterial biography of Fedor Dostoevskii (1976–2002), especially its final volume, is well aware of the Russian author’s virulent hatred of Catholicism. But Elizabeth Blake’s study, more than any I know, helps its reader to understand the roots of his prejudice.” —Slavic Review

“Blake’s detailed monograph represents a welcome contribution to Dostoevsky studies. Readers will find the book a helpful resource in understanding Dostoevsky’s critical assessment of what he viewed as the ideology and threat of Catholicism.”
Slavic and East European Journal

"Blake has done Dosteovsky scholarship a great service in this book… this fine, meticulously researched book has definitely reset the terms of any discussion of Dostoevsky's relationship with the Roman religion. She has contributed not only nuance but a sense of the rich history that underlies this relationship." —Dosteovsky Studies