The Insulted and Injured

The Insulted and Injured

The Insulted and Injured

The Insulted and Injured

Synopsis

The Insulted and Injured, originally published in 1861, is Fyodor Dostoevsky's first major work of fiction after his Siberian exile and the first of the long novels for which he is famous. Set in nineteenth-century Petersburg, the novel depicts a group of people suffering from the cruel and selfish machinations of a dark and powerful prince. Can pure love overcome such evil?

Excerpt

James P. Scanlan

The Insulted and Injured, Dostoevsky’s first major work of fiction after his Siberian exile and the first of the long novels for which he is famous, was an immediate commercial success. a suspenseful, melodramatic tale of mystery, cruelty, and thwarted love, it was originally published serially in 1861 in the Dostoevsky brothers’ new magazine, Vremya (Time). the Russian public of the day, drawn to the book partly by its autobiographical elements, found the story moving as well as riveting. It sold briskly, both in its serial format and, later in the same year (minus some of the heroine’s fainting spells and the men’s tears), as a separate book. Further separate editions, with minor stylistic changes only, were published in 1865 and 1879. Nor was the book’s popularity confined to Russia. Upon Dostoevsky’s death in 1881, by which time his fiction was well-known in the West through translations of his later novels, translations of The Insulted and Injured began to appear as well: Swedish and French in 1881, German in 1885, Danish and Dutch in 1886, and English in 1887. Whatever else might be said of it, the book was undeniably an affecting pageturner with considerable cross-cultural appeal.

The Critical Reception

The reception of the book as literary art, however, is another matter. With a few exceptions, critics from the start have been less enthusiastic about the work than the public has, and their evaluations of it have been decidedly mixed, both in Russia and abroad. Dostoevsky’s contemporary and fellow Russian novelist Evgeniya Tur, though granting that he had . . .

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