Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time

By Joseph Frank; Mary Petrusewicz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 51

The Diary of a Writer, 1876–1877

The ideas promulgated in the Diary of a Writer were already familiar from Dostoevsky's earlier journalism, as well as from the ideological flights of his novels. But they are given new life and color by the constant parade of fresh examples drawn from his omnivorous reading of the current press, from his wide knowledge of history and literature both Russian and European, and, very frequently, from the events of his own life. Such autobiographical revelations were certainly one of the main attractions of the Diary; readers felt they were truly being admitted into the intimacy of one of their great men. This constant interplay between the personal and the public—the incessant shift of level between the social problems of the day, the “accursed questions” that have always plagued human life, and the glimpses into the recesses of Dostoevsky's own private life and sensibility—proved an irresistible combination that gave the Diary its unique literary cachet.

In addition, the Diary served as a stimulus not only for short stories and sketches but also, as he had anticipated, for the major novel he was planning to write. Time and again motifs appear that will soon be utilized in The Brothers Karamazov. Even if not literally a notebook, the Diary lives up to this name in the exact sense of the word. It is genuinely the working tool of a writer in the early stages of creation—a writer who searches for (and finds) the inspiration for his work as, pen in hand, he surveys the passing scene and attempts to cope with its deeper import.


I. Journalism

In the 1860s, Dostoevsky's journals had advanced a doctrine ofpochvennichestvo, advocating the return of the intelligentsia to their own native soil, to their own culture and its moral-religious roots and values. This conception of the ideal relation between the intelligentsia and the people forms the background for the treatment of this question in the Diary. The peasants were liberated with land, Dostoevsky writes in the June 1876 issue, “because we saw ourselves as Russians, with the Tsar at our head, exactly as the landowner Pushkin dreamed forty years

-738-

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
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 960

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.