Complete Letters of Fyodor Dostoyevsky Vol. 2: 1860-1867

Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, Author, David A. Lowe, Translator Ardis Publishers $35 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88233-926-9
The second installment in a projected five-volume series of Dostoevsky's complete correspondence affords a marvelous self-portrait of the Russian novelist teetering between farce and tragedy as he staved off blood-thirsty creditors while seeking literary inspiration and fame. In 172 letters written between 1860 and 1867, we watch as Dostoevsky works on Notes from Underground while his first wife is slowly dying; we share his overwhelming sense of loss upon her death, followed almost immediately by the death of his much-loved brother; we stand by as intensifying bouts of ``falling sickness,'' or epilepsy, drive him into periods of despair that last for weeks at a stretch. With undaunted energy, Dostoevsky debates literary matters with Turgenev, helps launch journals, writes Crime and Punishment and expounds his increasingly anti-radical and anti-Western views. No sooner does love blossom anew with his second wife than he is off to Germany to lose his shirt at the gambling tables. Lowe's remarkable translation, as in the first volume, captures the feverish, impressionable quality of a mind as taut as a bow. Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
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