This second book in a three-volume work on the young Fyodor Dostoevsky is a diary-portrait of his early years drawn from letters, memoirs, and criticism of the writer, as well as from the testimony and witness of family and friends, readers and reviewers, and observers and participants in his life.
The result of an exhaustive search of published materials on Dostoevsky, this volume sheds crucial light on the many unexplored corners of Dostoevsky's life in the time between the success of his first novel, Poor Folk, and the failure of his next four works. Thomas Gaiton Marullo lets the original writers speak for themselves—the good and the bad, the truth and the lies—and adds extensive notes with correctives, counterarguments, and other pertinent information.
Marullo looks closely at Dostoevsky's increasingly tense ties with Vissarion Belinsky, Nikolai Nekrasov, Ivan Turgenev, and other figures of the Russian literary world. He then turns to the individuals who afforded Dostoevsky security and peace amid the often negative reception from fellow writers and readers of his early fiction. Finally, Marullo shows us Dostoevsky's break with the Belinsky circle; his struggle to stay afloat emotionally and financially; and his determination to succeed as a writer while staying true to his vision, most notably, his insights into human psychology that would become a hallmark of his later fiction.
This clear and comprehensive portrait of one of the world's greatest writers provides a window into his younger years in a way no other biography has to date.
I. Pride before the Fall: Belinsky and the Aftermath of Poor Folk
II. Havens from the Storms: The Vielgorskys, Beketovs, and Maykovs
III. The Psycho-Spiritual Turn: The Double, "Mr. Prokharchin," "The Landlady," and "A Novel in Nine Letters"