Fyodor Dostoevsky—In the Beginning (1821–1845)
A Life in Letters, Memoirs, and Criticism
NIU Series in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Published by: Cornell University Press
370 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm
- ISBN: 9781501764592
- Published: August 2022
More than a century after his death in 1881, Fyodor Dostoevsky continues to fascinate readers and reviewers. Countless studies of his writing have been published—more than a dozen in the past few years alone. In this important new work, Thomas Marullo provides a diary-portrait of Dostoevsky's early years drawn from the 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. Marullo's exhaustive search of published materials on Dostoevsky sheds light on many unexplored corners of Dostoevsky's childhood, adolescence, and youth. Speakers of excerpts are given maximum freedom: Anything they said about the writer—the good and the bad, the truth and the lies—are included, with extensive footnotes providing correctives, counter-arguments, and other pertinent information.
The first part of this volume, "All in the Family," focuses on Dostoevsky's early formation and schooling, i.e., his time in city and country, and his ties to his family, particularly his parents. The second section, "To Petersburg!," features Dostoevsky's early days in Russia's imperial city, his years at the Main Engineering Academy, and the death of his father. The third part, "Darkness before Dawn," deals with the writer's youthful struggles and strivings, culminating in the success of his work, Poor Folk. This clear and comprehensive portrait of one of the world's greatest writers will appeal to students, teachers, and scholars of Dostoevsky's early life, as well as general readers interested in Dostoevsky, literature, and history.
"[This book] gives a fascinating insight into Dostoevskii's early development as a writerMarullo's selection is very revealing of Dostoevskii's creative process and his personality."~Slavonic & East European Review
"Young Dostoevsky emerges from these pages as a complex individual, similar to the most fascinating and captivating characters of his mature fiction-embracing contradictions, reconciling conflicts, and resisting definitions. Any Dostoevsky admirer, whether a reader or a scholar, will find the book to be a valuable addition to extant Dostoevsky scholarship."~The Russian Review
"Assembling the thrilling facts and legends about Dostoevsky, Marullo has invented a new genre of biography, 'a portrait of the writer in a new and seminal way.' Readers can not only form their own opinions about disputed events but also trace the origins of various legends."~New York Review of Books
"[Marullo's] exhaustive research into every aspect of Dostoevsky's life over this period results in a vivid account of the writer's recurring patterns. Readers can look forward to how volume three projects these patterns across the period of Dostoevsky's greatest works, which were yet to come. Highly recommended."