Dostoevsky's philosophy of life is unfolded in this searching analysis of his five greatest works: Notes from the Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Possessed, and The Brothers Karamazov. Predrag Cicovacki deals with a fundamental issue in Dostoevsky's opus neglected by all of his commentators: How can we affirm life and preserve a healthy optimism in the face of an increasingly troublesome reality? This work displays the vital significance of Dostoevsky's philosophy for understanding the human condition in the twenty-first century.
The main task of this insightful effort is to reconstruct and examine Dostoevsky's "aesthetically" motivated affirmation of life, based on cycles of transgression and restoration. If life has no meaning, as his central figures claim, it is absurd to affirm life and pointless to live. Since Dostoevsky's doubts concerning the meaning of life resonate so deeply in our own age of pessimism and relativism, the central question of this book, whether Dostoevsky can overcome the skepticism of his most brilliant creation, is innately relevant.
This volume includes a thorough literary analysis of Dostoevsky's texts, yet even those who have not read all of these novels will find Cicovacki's analysis interesting and enthralling. The reader will easily extrapolate Cicovacki's own philosophical interpretation of Dostoevsky's literary heritage.
Part I Life without Meaning
Introduction to Part I
1 Sorrow and Injustice: A World Delivered to Evil?
2 Notes from the Underground: Evil out of Spite?
3 Crime and Punishment: Victimizer or Victim?
4 The Possessed: Is Nothing Sacred?
Part II Recovering Life's Meaning
Introduction to Part II
5 The Idiot: The Meaning of Christ's Sacrifice
6 The Brothers Karamazov (I): The Gift of Life
7 The Brothers Karamazov (II): Meaningless Suffering
8 The Unwritten Novel: A Prodigal Son Returns