Complete Letters: 1878-1881

Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, Author, David A. Lowe, Editor Ardis Publishers $35 (350p) ISBN 978-0-88233-544-5
Of principal interest in this, the fifth and final volume of Dostoevsky's letters are his tender, passionate missives to his second wife, Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina, whose practicality gave him ballast, and his shoptalk on The Brothers Karamazov , the writing of which consumed his energies. In other letters the preeminent Russian novelist (1821-1881) discusses his chauvinistic, right-wing ideology extolling ``the Russian people.'' He sets forth a crude philosophical rationalization of his rabid anti-Semitism, which taints even the love letters. He agonizes over the burning issues of the day, which are amplified by myriad footnotes, and soaks up the adulation of fans while sinking into desperate loneliness. In this flat finale to a worthy, masterfully translated project, the spontaneous, kinetic voice of earlier volumes is replaced by the whine of a narrow, morbidly anxious brooder. Lowe teaches Slavic languages and literature at Vanderbilt University. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
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