By Robert Louis Jackson

Drawing at the prose, poetry, and feedback of a huge variety of Russian writers and critics, together with Pushkin, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Bakhtin, Gorky, Nabokov, and Solzhenitsyn, shut Encounters: Essays on Russian Literature explores subject matters of probability and destiny, freedom and accountability, attractiveness and disfiguration, and loss and separation, in addition to suggestions of feedback and the ethical objective of artwork. via shut textual research, the writer bargains a view of the harmony of shape and content material in Russian writing and of its specified skill to reveal the common within the element of human event. With an emphasis on Dostoevsky, shut Encounters foregrounds moral and non secular matters of Russian writers and stimulates the reader to pursue his or her personal serious exploration of Russian literature. This paintings may be of curiosity to educational libraries, college scholars, and experts in literature, feedback, philosophy, and esthetics, in addition to enthusiastic normal readers of Russian literature.

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Extra resources for Close Encounters: Essays on Russian Literature

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That nature has much that redeems it. Yet the very elements that redeem it, such as his permanent moral adolescence, hasten his movement as an actual adult to a tragic end. The ideal of a life without constraints or limits is emotional and moral utopia: the womb, the paradise of the child, the happy world of the playground. Here, indeed, is the “best of all possible worlds,” a world seemingly without beginning or end, outside of time, and free, at least ideally, of any perception of causality or consequences.

For purposes of analysis I have emended Magarshak’s translation. 23 24 Fate, Freedom, and Responsibility Ridel tells the story of his friend Teglyov, a limited, superstitious, insecure, but headstrong man of the 1830s who dreamed of a high Napoleonic “vocation” and ended by committing suicide out of guilt after learning of the death of a poor woman, Masha, whom he loved but had declined to marry. Ridel’s narrative focuses on the last twenty-four hours of Teglyov’s life, a time. July 20, St. Elijah’s Day, when the two ac­quaintances, by chance, camp together in a hut in the country.

The second and the third knocks, however, are no longer accidental; they are deliberate, experimental, the result of an elemental, almost scientific curiosity. “I knocked for a second time with my finger . . this time on purpose. The sound was repeated. ” At this point, Teglyov raises his head and inquires about the knocking. ” Suddenly, Ridel recalls, the “desire came over me to make fun of my fatal companion. Anyway, I could not sleep” (Vse ravno—mne ne spalos’). It is noteworthy that Ridel describes the impulse to make fun of his “fatal” comrade as something that “came over me” (mne prishla).

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