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by Joseph Frank

Download Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time eBook
ISBN:
0691155992
Author:
Joseph Frank
Category:
History & Criticism
Language:
English
Publisher:
Princeton University Press; Revised ed. edition (August 26, 2012)
Pages:
984 pages
EPUB book:
1425 kb
FB2 book:
1376 kb
DJVU:
1902 kb
Other formats
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Rating:
4.2
Votes:
753


Awards for Frank's Dostoevsky Volumes: National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 1984 - Los Angeles Times .

Awards for Frank's Dostoevsky Volumes: National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 1984 - Los Angeles Times Book Prize - 2 James Russell Lowell Prizes - 2 Christian Gauss Awards". A monumental achievement. Here are some of the reasons to read DOSTOEVSKY: A WRITER IN HIS TIME, despite its formidable length: Because it itself is an abridgement of the five separate volumes (averaging 500 pages each) of the magisterial biography Joseph Frank wrote over a 25-year period. Because Fyodor Dostoevsky was one of the world's greatest authors and, intellectually (as well as spiritually?), one of the most complex of the world's great writers.

Now Frank's monumental, 2500-page work has been skillfully abridged and condensed in this single, highly readable volume with a new preface by the author.

Frank, Joseph, 1918–. Dostoevsky : a writer in his time, Joseph Frank. p. cm. Abridged ed. of author’s work in 5 . Dostoevsky.

DOSTOEVSKY A Writer in His time. Frank, Joseph, 1918–. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-691-12819-1 (acid-free paper) 1. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 1821–1881.

Joseph Frank's award-winning, five-volume Dostoevsky is widely recognized as the best biography of the writer in any .

Home Browse Books Book details, Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time

Home Browse Books Book details, Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time. Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time. By Joseph Frank, Mary Petrusewicz. Now Frank's monumental, 2500-page work has been skillfully abridged and condensed in this single, highly readable volume with a new preface by the author.

Joseph Frank, whose magisterial, five-volume life of Fyodor Dostoevsky .

Joseph Frank's award-winning, five-volume Dostoevsky is widely recognized as the best biography of the writer in any language--and one of the greatest literary biographies of the past half-century. Now Frank's monumental, 2500-page work has been skillfully abridged and condensed in this single, highly readable volume with a new preface by the author. Carefully preserving the original work's acclaimed narrative style and combination of biography, intellectual history, and literary criticism, Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time illuminates the writer's works--from his first novel Poor Folk to Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov--by setting them in their personal, historical, and above all ideological context. More than a biography in the usual sense, this is a cultural history of nineteenth-century Russia, providing both a rich picture of the world in which Dostoevsky lived and a major reinterpretation of his life and work.

  • Dilkree
I am an English teacher and lover of Dostoevsky for over 10 years.

This biography is the best biography of Dostoevsky and easily one of the greatest biographies of all time. I have no issues with the scholarship of the impeccable Joseph Frank or the readable style of his wonderful prose.

I simply want to warn potential buyers that this book has a few important faults:

1. It's size is gargantuan and hard to hold. Literally, your arms will tire trying to read this. The size puts unnecessary strain on the spine. It takes a solid month of heavy reading to finish it, so your arms will get a workout and the spine/covers will wear out. The individual five volumes are much more manageable in your arms and feel better as you read.

2. You miss a lot of great details by not reading the extensive five volume edition. I tried reading volume one side-by-side with this book and was surprised to see many important stories, illustrations, and interesting tidbits that were left out of this edition. I completely understand the rationale behind this: if they kept it all in it would be even bigger and more unwieldy (see problem #1).

In summary, if you have enough time and interest to read this 1,000 page biography of Dostoevsky you'd probably have enough time and interest to read the complete story, the way it was originally intended by Joseph Frank. Buy the hardcover (they're clothbound and ready to be read over and over for years to come)! Hope this review was helpful.
  • Hasirri
Here are some of the reasons to read DOSTOEVSKY: A WRITER IN HIS TIME, despite its formidable length: Because it itself is an abridgement of the five separate volumes (averaging 500 pages each) of the magisterial biography Joseph Frank wrote over a 25-year period. Because Fyodor Dostoevsky was one of the world's greatest authors and, intellectually (as well as spiritually?), one of the most complex of the world's great writers. Because with Dostoevsky, knowledge of his life and times is more helpful in understanding his literary work than is true for many authors. And because Frank's biography - both in its original five volumes and in this one-volume abridgement - is the definitive study of Dostoevsky's life and work, at least in English (and is likely to remain so for decades to come).

Here are some of the major points discussed at some length in Frank's biography that are most germane to an understanding of Dostoevsky the author:

* Of all the great Russian writers of the nineteenth century - including Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, and Tolstoy - Dostoevksy was the only one who did not come from a family belonging to the landed gentry. On his father's side, he was descended from Lithuanian nobility, but the family had fallen to "the lowly class of non-monastic clergy." While his family was not poor, it certainly was not wealthy, and in the course of his life Dostoevsky had much greater exposure to the Russian masses than, say, his contemporaries and rivals Turgenev and Tolstoy. One result was that throughout his life Dostoevsky evinced genuine empathy for the Russian peasantry still untouched by secular Western culture.

* The core formative experience of Dostoevsky's life began in 1849, when he was twenty-seven and arrested for belonging to a group that studied and espoused certain tenets of European Liberalism that, in the unsettled circumstances of the day, were feared by the Tsar and his advisors to be revolutionary. Dostoevsky, along with others, was brought to a square in Petersburg for public execution. At the very last moment, while the first group of three stood blindfolded before the firing squad, the execution was cancelled. Instead Dostoevsky was sentenced to four years of hard labor at a prison camp in Siberia. The mock execution both steeled Dostoevsky and awakened him to the extraordinary blessing and infinite value of life itself. In exposing him to the lowest depths of society and the truly outcast and desperate, the four years in prison in Siberia gave Dostoevsky uncommon insights into human psychology.

* Dostoevsky was deeply religious (of the Russian Orthodox faith), but he also understood, as well as perhaps any author in history, the conflict between faith and reason. He resolved that conflict in inimitable fashion, albeit along the lines of Kierkegaard's "leap of faith."

* For Dostoevsky "it was a moral-psychological necessity of the human personality to experience itself as free". Consequently, he rejected all modern or "scientific" dogmas of determinism and materialism. Indeed, in all of literature he is one of the foremost spokesmen for human free will.

* He was keenly interested in the contemporary events and politics of Russia and he integrated sensational events or scandals into his fiction and he used his fiction to comment on the major social, political, and cultural issues of the day.

In addition to discussing Dostoevsky's life and the social-political and ideological context for his novels, Frank also devotes considerable attention to an explication and interpretation of each of Dostoevsky's major works. These discussions were invaluable to me as I read through all of Dostoevsky's major works over the past year. As matters developed, I did not read DOSTOEVSKY: A WRITER IN HIS TIME straight through. Rather, I read the biography up to the discussion of Dostoevsky's first major work, "The House of the Dead" (an account of his time in the Siberian prison camp), then I read the work itself, then I returned to the biography to read Frank's discussion of that work and continued on to the next major work, "Notes from the Underground", which I then read, and I continued in similar fashion through "Crime and Punishment", "The Gambler", "The Idiot", "The Devils", and "The Brothers Karamazov." It turned out to be an excellent way of making my way through Dostoevsky's oeuvre with enhanced understanding.

I should add that Frank's biography is, for such an authoritative work, surprisingly readable. Joseph Frank is Professor Emeritus of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Stanford, but his DOSTOEVSKY, thankfully, is NOT freighted with academic jargon and syntax. It is in many respects a model of literary biography.
  • fr0mTheSkY
A decent bio, but nonetheless quite overrated. Far too much time is spent on boring, pedantic, fatuous minutia pertaining to the "thinkers" of his day and how these "thinkers" affected his work. Was he a Marxist-Fourierist-Saint Simonian, or maybe more of a Fourierist-Saint Simonion-Marxist? It's not only unimportant, vacuous and academic, in the worst senses of that term, but impossible to ascertain. And it doesn't help us better understand or appreciate his life and work. Just the typical professorial claptrap. Trying to look smart by fussing over details that no one cares about. You got beat up on the playground so you obsess over pointless abstractions to suppress the awful memories... Anywho, very well researched. The Miraculous years section is excellent. The first two parts are the weakest. The last two are okay. The photos: truly shoddy. Blurry, like a bad xerox of a xerox. This is truly amateur work. All in all, a mediocre bio and not enough of one. Tell us more about his life, and much less about this lifeless nonsense. You can be critical without being obsessively boring.
  • Little Devil
Joseph Frank captures the best of Dostoyevsky (as much as is possible). This is an abridgment of the author’s massive series (2500 pages). Given my limited experience with Frank’s writing (based only on this abridged 984-page biography), I feel compelled to recommend the actual series for those really interested in Dostoyevsky. With that being said, Joseph Frank is an excellent writer and this has become one of my favorite biographies of any individual. Dostoyevsky the man was a genius with a deep understanding of the complex nature if the human condition. Short of reading Dostoyevsky’s works, this biography is the best way to become acquainted with the man himself.