Keywords: F. M. Dostoevsky, M. M. Bakhtin, “The Karamazov Brothers,” “Idiot,” religion, Christianity, narrative structure, deconstructivism, apophatic theology.
For citation:

Smyslova, O. N. “ʽThe Crucible of Doubts’ of F. M. Dostoevsky and His Heroes.” Dva veka russkoi klassiki, vol. 5, no. 1, 2023, pp. 204–221. (In Russ.)

Author: Olga N. Smyslova
Information about the author:

Olga N. Smyslova, PhD in Philology, Moscow Pedagogical State University, Malaya Pirogovskaya St., 1, 119991 Moscow, Russia.


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Received: December 06, 2022
Approved after reviewing: January 17, 2023
Published: March 25, 2023
Issue: 2023 Volume 5 No. 1
Department: Scientific Life
Pages: 204–221

UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"


The review is dedicated to the book by the honorary professor of the University of Nottingham, the famous Russist and dostoevist Malcolm Jones “Dostoevsky and the Dynamics of Religious Experience” (trans. from English by T. Grosheva). The author of the review concentrates on the structure, style and original research methodology consisting in the synthesis of the ideas of M. M. Bakhtin, deconstructivism and “the model of Epstein.” The book by M. Jones offers his own concept of the evolution of Dostoevsky’s and his heroes’ “religious experience,” genetically determined in the tradition of apophatic theology and ascending through doubts and tossing between unconditional faith and nihilistic atheism to a new form of religious consciousness, called “minimal religion” (Epstein’s term). The book under review reveals non-trivial, bold conclusions, sometimes unexpected for Russian literary criticism, about the nature of Dostoevsky’s religious searches, their genesis, evolution and artistic embodiment in later novels.


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