Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky: The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871-1881

The concluding book of Joseph Frank’s magisterial five-volume Dostoevsky biography picks up where the last left off: Dostoevsky has returned to Russia from extended European travels, designed to give him temporary relief from his financial obligations. He has published three […]

Rowan Williams’ Dostoevsky: Language, Faith & Fiction

Rowan Williams is the former Archbishop of Canterbury, whose tenure from December 2002 to December 2012 saw him presiding over royal weddings and various controversies involving the Church of England’s position on gay marriage or the ordination of female priests. […]

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov

Dostoevsky’s final novel and undisputed masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov, was completed in late 1880, less than half a year before his own death. It could not have been otherwise. This one book is a summa of his entire life’s investigation […]

Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871

With this fourth book in Joseph Frank’s five-volume biography of Dostoevsky, we approach the apex of Dostoevsky’s career as a writer, for in the five-year period between 1865 and 1871, he will write three masterpieces in rapid succession: Crime and […]

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime And Punishment

I see by the inscription inside my copy that it has been nearly ten years to the month since my last reading of Crime And Punishment. I perfectly remember where I was when I first sat down to read it, […]

Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865

The third volume of the late Princeton professor Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky pentalogy begins on the heels of the second, with Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky returned from his exile in a Siberian labour camp and released from the subsequent mandatory military service […]

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes From A Dead House

Prison memoirs, fictionalized or not, are now so numerous that they almost constitute a genre unto themselves, but Dostoevsky’s semi-autobiographical Notes From A Dead House, sometimes translated as The House Of The Dead, was one of the earliest and most […]

Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky: The Years Of Ordeal, 1850-1859

When we last left off, after the first volume of Joseph Frank’s multi-volume account of the life and times of Fyodor Dostoevsky, our author was on the verge of arrest by the tsar’s secret police for his involvement in an […]

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot

My Dostoevsky infatuation continues, this time with the second of his major novels, written while he was on the run from creditors, living in Switzerland with his second wife. The Idiot is the only one of Dostoevsky’s novels written while […]

Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky: The Seeds of Revolt, 1821-1849

My introduction to Joseph Frank and his monumental five-volume biography of Fyodor Dostoevsky came more than a decade ago, in a review included in David Foster Wallace’s Consider The Lobster, and the man and his life’s work have been on […]

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Demons

In university and in the many years since my graduation, I have had the repeated and uncomfortable experience of encountering human beings incapable of uttering an original thought. Otherwise intelligent, rational people, once confronted with a given political or philosophical […]

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground

In 1849, when Fyodor Dostoevsky was approximately my age as I write this, he was arrested as a political subversive and dragged before a firing squad. The late arrival of a letter from Tsar Nicholas I interrupted the execution and commuted […]