Complete Letters: 1868-1871

Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, Author, David A. Lowe, Editor Ardis Publishers $35 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88233-542-1
Dostoevsky (1821-1881) lived and wrote with feverish intensity, as these letters from his self-exile in Western Europe attest. As he struggles to work his way out of debt, sues his ``scoundrel'' publisher for nonpayment, mourns the death of his infant daughter and hops with his wife from Geneva to Milan, Florence and Dresden, we get intriguing comments about his breakneck work on The Idiot , The Possessed and his novella The Eternal Husband. The third installment in a projected five-volume series traces the Russian novelist's increasingly reactionary, anti-Western, Russophile outlook. No saint, Dostoevsky is big-hearted one minute, niggardly the next; he hits the gaming tables, then renounces gambling. The closing letters find the couple back in St. Petersburg, joyful over the birth of a son. The remarkable translation by Lowe, an associate professor of Slavic languages and literature at Vanderbilt University, is so expert that one forgets Dostoevsky wrote in Russian. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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