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Christian Apatheia in Dostoevsky’s ‘Dream of a Ridiculous Man’
Department of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Gustavus Adolphus College.
2012 (English)In: Slovo : Journal of Slavic Languages and Literatures, ISSN 0348-744X, no 53, 45-57 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dostoevsky's “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man” has been viewed variously as a story of the realization of the inner self's evil or goodness, of redemption or of perdition. The paper shows that Dostoevsky's familiarity with the Greek Patristic writings informed his narrative and that he infused his narrator's monologue with discernible Patristic concepts. Verbal, ideological and contextual references in the Ridiculous Man's narrative make it clear that the protagonist has embarked on a path to understanding, however confused and imperfect his main purpose might initially be. The narrator's uncertainty of action is expressed in his frequent repetition of “nothing mattered” (все равно), echoing the Patristic exhortations to embrace apatheia. To the Greek Fathers the ability to remain unstirred by superfluous earthly emotions was the beginning of the acceptance of agape, the ideal of Christian love. The Ridiculous Man's eventual realization that the only commandment that matters is “To love thy neighbor,” clearly shows that the he embraces the doctrines of the Patristic conception of Christian charity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. no 53, 45-57 p.
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-188622OAI: diva2:578396
Available from: 2012-12-18 Created: 2012-12-18 Last updated: 2012-12-18Bibliographically approved

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