The Novel in the Age of Disintegration

Cloth Text – $45.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-2926-9
Publication Date
October 2013
Page Count
266 pages
Trim Size
6.125 x 9.25

The Novel in the Age of Disintegration

Dostoevsky and the Problem of Genre in the 1870s
Kate Holland

Scholars have long been fascinated by the creative struggles with genre manifested throughout Dostoevsky’s career. In The Novel in the Age of Disintegration, Kate Holland brings historical context to bear, showing that Dostoevsky wanted to use the form of the novel as a means of depicting disintegration brought on by various crises in Russian society in the 1860s. This required him to reinvent the genre. At the same time he sought to infuse his novels with the capacity to inspire belief in social and spiritual reintegration, so he returned to some older conventions of a society that was already becoming outmoded. In thoughtful readings of Demons, The Adolescent, A Writer’s Diary, and The Brothers Karamazov, Holland delineates Dostoevsky’s struggle to adapt a genre to the reality of the present, with all its upheavals, while maintaining a utopian vision of Russia’s future mission.
About the Author

Kate Holland is an assistant professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto.

"Holland’s book is a must for Dostoevsky scholars as well as those with a general interest in Russian life and letters at the end of the nineteenth century." —Forum for Modern Language Studies

"Holland’s treatment of tightly interconnected discourse types in Dostoevskii’s literary utopias conforms to Northrop Frye’s typology of genres. But rather than discussing macrostructures and their archetypal genesis, she undertakes a detailed analysis of semantic and even grammatical microstructures that characterized both Dostoevskii’s own writings and the cultural jargon of the two decades that followed the publication of the Tsar’s Emancipation Manifesto in 1861."
—Nina Perlina in Slavic Review

"This book is distinguished from other studies of Dostoevskii in two ways: first, it offers an in-depth analysis of two rarely examined texts: The Adolescent and A Writer’s Diary. Second, the book examines Dostoevskii’s poetics of the 1870s with detailed references to historical, literary and religious documents, arguing that his work is a conscious response to social disintegrations and an expression of his wish for unities... To argue that Dostoevskii’s world is pluralistic is far from a novel point of view. Holland manages to reiterate this point by looking at the subtle shifts of genres within the Diary and individual novels, which are experimental and yet reasonable responses in face of the age of disintegration." —Slavic and East European Review