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Old 05-01-2012, 06:27 AM View Post #1 (Link) An open letter to Julian
Georgy (Offline)
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Well, Julian, I read yesterday that fussy about who is cooler: Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, and some opinions I shared, some of them I didn't. By the way, I was amused to learn that Rogozhin was Prince Myshkin's friend and Dolokhov was the most evil "Peace and War"character. Although Rogozhin liked Myshkin, they were not friends and never could be. From Rogozhin side it was sheer internal pull of tainted person to holiness; from Myshkin's side - mercy even to the most evil, selfish and wicked creature. They were not friends with reciprocal and similar interests, ideas, views, it was a relationship in the form of Christian love and charity, something like that as Francis of Assisi kissed a leper out of compassion, something of that kind no more.
Ok, Dolokhov, rough rowdy and boozer, gently and tenderly loved his mother, so I think Tolstoy didn't aim him to be "the most evil character" of "War and Peace".
Well, as for my own preferences, I have to disappoint you: I think that this juxtaposition(Tolstoy vs Dostoevsky) is irrelevant for many reasons. These giants have implemented two powerful global trends of Literature: introverted, aimed at the person's inner world and the extroverted, which deals with the secrets of relations between these worlds (people, characters) to each other. What is more useful for us: eye microsurgery, laser surgery of the circulatory system, or space exploration? What should we love more? Similarly, the case with the subject of your question.
So, I think they both are champions of Russian literature, as some author has already said.
I read in Russian all what they had written, and I can say their styles are not so different, they differs in the way they used their genius(or rather in the way their genius were structured). I should add that Dostoevsky's characters seemed to me kinda fantastic and mysterious. I mean I never seen such people in real life, but Dostoevsky could mesmerize reader with frightening depth of his characters and make us believe that these angels and demons exist in reality.
Tolstoy's characters are more realistic and they are more cute, I often see these people around me.
Well, and what do you think about it, do you think there should be a champion and a looser in this case?
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:29 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Julian (Offline)
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You're not disappointing me or anything. In fact, I thought that the notion of them being in a competing against each other is a bit infantile, as is any other competition between two canonical authors (can I say that?).


More on this later.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:48 PM View Post #3 (Link)
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Originally Posted by Julian View Post
You're not disappointing me or anything. In fact, I thought that the notion of them being in a competing against each other is a bit infantile, as is any other competition between two canonical authors (can I say that?).


More on this later.
Oh, but competition can yield such powerful results. I mean competition in a very light sense, of course. Less about success and more about talking with one another via poetry/stories. Hart Crane is famous for writing a response to T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" with his poem "The Bridge".
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:36 PM View Post #4 (Link)
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Ok, so, now that I have free time to elaborate on this, I can only honestly say that these two authors can't actually be compared, as they represent two different facettes of Russian literature.

On one side, there is Tolstoy whose stories are of Dickensian quality. He symbolises the Russian epic. He is also very positivist, and his characters have firm moral groundings--whilst remaining relatively realistic, as you said.

On the other side, Dostoevsky tends to be more cynical and psychologically extreme. Basically all the characters on his novels are flawed. The settings are very bleak and morose, and all his protagonists try to strive for some higher goal that is elusively abstract. In other words, Earth is hell and the goal of his characters is to make Heaven on their own terms, disregarding the common society.
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:14 PM View Post #5 (Link)
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Originally Posted by Julian View Post
Ok, so, now that I have free time to elaborate on this, I can only honestly say that these two authors can't actually be compared, as they represent two different facettes of Russian literature.

On one side, there is Tolstoy whose stories are of Dickensian quality. He symbolises the Russian epic. He is also very positivist, and his characters have firm moral groundings--whilst remaining relatively realistic, as you said.

On the other side, Dostoevsky tends to be more cynical and psychologically extreme. Basically all the characters on his novels are flawed. The settings are very bleak and morose, and all his protagonists try to strive for some higher goal that is elusively abstract. In other words, Earth is hell and the goal of his characters is to make Heaven on their own terms, disregarding the common society.
Well, I should add, that Dostoevsky suffered from epilepsy and in his younger years was five minutes close from being hanged. The king suddenly abolished the death penalty and sent Dostoevsky to penal servitude. Not everyone can stay optimistic after such experiences, you know.
By the way, have you read "Wise Blood" by Flannery O'Connor? Dostoevsky in a woman's body. She was devilishly talented. She suffered from lupus and died before reaching old age.
Obviously she didn't like women: she discribed them as disgusting creatures.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:06 AM View Post #6 (Link)
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Originally Posted by Julian View Post
Ok, so, now that I have free time to elaborate on this, I can only honestly say that these two authors can't actually be compared, as they represent two different facettes of Russian literature.

On one side, there is Tolstoy whose stories are of Dickensian quality. He symbolises the Russian epic. He is also very positivist, and his characters have firm moral groundings--whilst remaining relatively realistic, as you said.

On the other side, Dostoevsky tends to be more cynical and psychologically extreme. Basically all the characters on his novels are flawed. The settings are very bleak and morose, and all his protagonists try to strive for some higher goal that is elusively abstract. In other words, Earth is hell and the goal of his characters is to make Heaven on their own terms, disregarding the common society.
I can't agree with you when you say "Tolstoy whose stories are of Dickensian quality".
If you mean Charles Dickens, his "Oliver Twist" is more gloomy than "Crime and Punishment" because it deals with child's sufferings, which(and you won't deny it) are more more more awful...
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:56 PM View Post #7 (Link)
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because it deals with child's sufferings, which(and you won't deny it) are more more more awful...
You're channeling Zossima... again.
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