The Ridiculous Jew: The Exploitation and Transformation of a Stereotype in Gogol, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky

By Gary Rosenshield | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Notes from the House of the Dead
Dostoevsky's Ridiculous Jew and the Critics

Many commentators have argued that in Notes from the House of the Dead Dostoevsky seemed content merely to replicate a commonplace Jewish stereo type so that at best Isay Fomich is a comic caricature.1 Others, while conceding the derogatory aspects of Dostoevsky's portrait, have seen the portrait of Isay Fomich as relatively good-humored or at least lacking in hostility.2 Robert Louis Jackson concedes that Isay Fomich at prayer is intended by the author to be a demeaning and comic portrait. “Dostoevskij … did not lift even a corner of the comic curtain that concealed the tragic life of the Jew Isaj Fomič Bumstein.”3 But he also views Isay Fomich as a lost literary opportunity given that in The Village of Stepanchikovo Dostoevsky treated Foma Opiskin, in many ways similar to Isay Fomich, seriously and problematically. Since The Village of Stepanchikovo was written approximately at the same time as Notes from the House of the Dead, Dostoevsky was, so to speak, not only not taking advantage of the work that he himself had done two decades earlier in Poor Folk and The Double but also not exploiting the potential of a character that he had just recently created. Fillipp Ingold, who has written the longest analysis of Isay Fomich, concedes in the end that Isay Fomich is a ridiculous character (eine lächerliche Figur), lacking stature and voice,4 but not before attempting to find at least some redeeming traits in Isay Fomich's literary function, if not his portrait, suggesting similarities

-163-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Ridiculous Jew: The Exploitation and Transformation of a Stereotype in Gogol, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 254

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.