This volume contains two concise works by the innovative twentieth-century literary critic Janko Lavrin, offering accessible and thoughtful introductions to the two greatest Russian novelists. It provides a perfect point of access into the often bewildering world of Russian literature, and the troubled geniuses which created it.
Tolstoy: An Approach, first published in 1944, is an attempt to interpret Tolstoy as an artist and thinker in light of the twentieth-century experience: specifically, it seeks to discern the relationship between Tolstoy the novelist and Tolstoy the religious pseudo-prophet, thereby articulating the contours of his most essential ethical and psychological insights.
In Dostoevsky: A Study, published first in 1943, Lavrin suggests a wide range of valuable observations and intriguing possibilities, exploring the enigmatic and perennially fascinating Dostoevsky in terms of the inter-connections between his life, his thought, his relationships, his writing, and the socio-cultural circumstances in which he found himself.
Table of Contents
Tolstoy: An Approach
Note. 1. Some General Remarks 2. The Art of Tolstoy (I) 3. The Art of Tolstoy (II) 4. Tolstoy’s Dilemma 5. Culture and Nature 6. The ‘Dragon of Death’ 7. Tolstoy and Religion 8. The Millennium 9. A Puritan’s Progress 10. The Last Act 11. Tolstoy and the Revolution 12. Tolstoy and Nietzsche. Conclusion
Dostoevsky: A Study
A Prefatory Note 1. Some Notes on Dostoevsky’s Life 2. Dostoevsky as Artist 3. Dostoevsky as Psychologist 4. The Quest of Values 5. The ‘Underworld’ Spirit 6. The Bankruptcy of the Superman 7. A Russian Don Quixote 8. Stavrogin’s Fate 9. A Raw Youth 10. ‘The Two Kinds of Truth’ 11. Christ and His Double 12. Towards a Synthesis 13. The ‘Russian Idea’, Revolution and Religion. Conclusion