First chapters

5 September 2011 § Leave a comment

For my kind and helpful friends who have offered to read things for me, I am posting my first two chapters on here. I have a few more written, but these two were tidied up for Someone Important who has agreed to have a look at it. I won’t be putting everything on here, unless it ends up being the only home for it all!

I must emphasise again that I’m not trying to do any proper literary criticism; rather I’m endeavouring to set out some of the background to Dostoevsky’s work, to put things in context for anyone who has read his novels and wanted to find out a bit more. The great thing about Dostoevsky is that you can read and enjoy his books without knowing anything about Russia, or 19th century politics and philosophy, or Orthodox Christianity, or Dostoevsky himself, but once you do delve behind the narratives a little, all sorts of interesting things come to light, and that’s what I’m trying to share with my readers. I’m also trying very hard not to spoil any plots; I would hate to ruin some of the the twists and turns and surprises, and I do want to enthuse people who may have read just one or two of the novels to go back and read more.

My plan is to group each chapters around themes loosely linked to one of Dostoevsky’s characters, and bringing in other characters to illustrate the development of his ideas and themes: the other finished chapters are on Prince Myshkin, Nastasya Filippovna and Nikolai Stavrogin. I’ve done some work too on Ivan Karamazov, but he’s big and scary: scary to write about because so much has been said, and scary to think about because he makes me challenge so much of what I thought I believed. So I’m going to leave him for a bit and have some fun with the characters who I have mentally grouped together under the title of “the wild boys”.

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