Chapter 1 looks at imagery arising through characters’ daydreams, while the author’s recurrent theme of childhood memories is also analysed as a type of nostalgic daydream.


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This thesis examines imagery of the
Mikhailovich Dostoevskii and how it can be used to analyse the psychology of his
characters and the author himself. While
studies exist on the role of, for example,
dreams in Dostoevskii’s works, this thes
is aims to comprehensively examine the
phenomena as a whole, and their most
important role in his texts: their effe
ct on the characters who experience them.
In each chapter, one form of this imagery in Dostoevskii’s works is explained and
analysed with respect to individual charac
ters or themes, and then Dostoevskii’s own
at imagery arising through characters’ daydr
eams, while the author’s recurrent theme
of childhood memories is also analysed as
a type of nostalgic daydream. Chapter 2
examines the ‘greyer’ area of dreamlike realit
2
DECLARATION


Confused reality
Raskol’nikov
Raskol’nikov
Ivan Karamazov
Goliadkin
Raskol’nikov
Raskol’nikov
Raskol’nikov
Alesha Karamazov
Dmitrii Karamazov
3
Versilov
Daydreams
Hallucinations
Split personality
Epilepsy in other characters

281
APPENDIX – RUSSIAN DREAMS
4
I declare that my thesis title embodies the
results of my own special work, that it has
been composed by myself, and that it does not
include work forming part of a thesis
presented successfully for a degree
5





for Clare,
for my parents,
for everything
6
ogist can add that th
7
This thesis intends to examine a certain type
of imagery and the way it can be used to
analyse the aspect of character in
Dostoevskii’s works. ‘Imagery of the
subconscious’ is a term chosen to encaps
ulate images created within or projected
from the subconscious of a character.
phrase can be rather ambivalent, so the use of the terms ‘imagery’ and
J. A. Cuddon.
A Dictionary of Literary Terms
, Blackwell, Oxford, 1998, p. 251
Chris Baldick.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms
, Oxford University Press, New
York, 2001, pp. 121-22
Cuddon, p. 251
Andrew M. Colman.
A Dictionary of Psychology
, Oxford University Press, New York, 2001, p. 356
8
this description pertains to mental images
that are formed during consciousness, it
nomena explored in this thesis that are
oducts of imagination and
memory. This very definition of ‘image’
Arthur S. and Emily S. Reber.
The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology
, Penguin, London, 2001,
p. 341
Colman, p. 714
Reber and Reber, pp. 773-74
9
direct examination … The operation of repr
ession prevents the contents of the
unconscious from entering either consciousne
Colman, p. 766
Ibid., pp. 574-75
Reber and Reber, p. 719
Colman, p. 714
10
Weston La Barre refers to a similarly
fluid psychic model that he dubs the
and hallucination in dream, vision,
delusion, and trance show manifestly infi
sense-nourished contact with “reality”.
less structured and more akin to a fluid re
alm of psychic activity that differed in
intensity. It is such unstructured models th
at Dostoevskii (a keen reader of medical
literature) would take a cue from, and so it
seems appropriate to base this study of his
om exploratory scientists such as Carus
psychological realism and, indeed, he said
from an early age that he wanted to e
xplore the depths of what it means to be
Weston La Barre, ‘Anthropological perspectives on hallucination and hallucinogens’, in R. K.
Siegel and L. J. West (eds.),
Hallucinations – Behavior, Experience, and Theory
, John Wiley & Sons,
New York, 1975, p. 20.
See James L. Rice,
Dostoevsky and the Healing Art: An Es
say in Literary and Medical History
Ardis, Ann Arbor, 1985, for an overview of the psychological theories of Carus and others, and
Dostoevskii’s interest in them.
11
human
. What this thesis intends to argue is
that imagery of the subconscious lies at
the root of this realism, and in fact
Dostoevskii’s fiction where such imagery occu
ity of the text is
called into question, while, simultaneously,
character’s fundamental drives: for example,
their irrational fears, desires or motives.
Therefore, imagery of the subconsci
ous can perhaps provide a means to
character to their creator.
Some of Dostoevskii’s own
phenomena may have found their way into hi
degree of his own subconscious may lie
in his characters. By tracing such
connections back from character to author
Dostoevskii’s imagery of the subconscious
can tell us about Dostoevskii himself.
Perhaps his mind can be ‘unlocked’ too.
The method of working ‘backwards’ as it we
re, from the author’s works to his life
, is employed essentially because the
basis of this thesis lies in a
device of fiction: imagery. It
is therefore in the ficti
on that the aut
images can be found, which can then be
Moreover, this fictional imagery lends a fu
ller picture of the author’s interests,
In a letter to his brother Mikhail on August 16, 1839, Dostoevskii writes: ‘
что
», –
этом
довольно
успеваю
…Человек
тайна
разгадать
разгадывать
говори
потерял
время
занимаюсь
этой
тайной
хочу
.’ (28/1:63)
André Gide,
Dostoevsky
12
rded episodes of his life, insights into the
13
14
display the power of imagery of the
being a case in point on both counts. Even th
e least attentive read
er of his works will
recognise the many episodes of imagery of th
across his 35 years of output, as well as a general uncanniness of atmosphere that is
rticular brand of realism.
This derives from a certain
gothic literary influence and, more signifi
15
unconscious,’ Whyte adds, ‘for it links the in
in humankind that lies the imaginative
imagery that becomes manifest when the reader is
acter. Here we can glimpse these very
‘springs of human nature’. Perhaps this
imagery, then, is the very expression of
Dostoevskii’s aim to discover ‘
значит
человек
Ibid., p. 69
16
While being at the most ‘conscious’ pol
e on the scale of this thesis, simple
daydreams (
Dostoevskii’s subconscious imagery. Despite
their seemingly innocuous nature, the
author sees such minor daydreams as no le
ss a powerful and influential phenomenon
than ‘deeper’ modes of this imagery. Th
ey can become an obsessive addiction,
removing the respective character from their
cking them into a
See appendix for a discussion on the different Russian words for ‘dream’.
Mark R. Rosenzweig, S. Marc Breedlove, Arnold L. Leiman.
Biological Psychology: An
introduction to behavioral, cognitive, and clinical neuroscience
(3rd edition), Sinauer Associates,
Sunderland, Mass., 2005, p. 432
17
as to the time of day. These cues, then,
imagery’ of daydreaming experienced by Dostoevskii’s
мечтатели
wider social sense, could certainly be seen
as ‘poorly motivated’ and far from alert
ntific level that daydreams can become as obsessive as
Dostoevskii describes them:
Some fantasies are obsessive and continue even when the subject tries to
terminate them. … Even normal daydreams are largely involuntary. The
open eyes. The images seem to flow on by their own laws. It is true that
the subject can terminate or modify th
e reverie in the se
rouse himself; but this is control of
from the control he has over his perceptions.
It seems relatively easy for the brain to b
ecome ‘locked in’ to an overriding fantasy
moments of ‘inspirational illumination’
powerful, more immediate impressi
focus or to a culmination. Such striking
of inspiration is by no means a recent
phenomenon in human development; and, as
C. Wade Savage, ‘The Continuity of Perceptual and Cognitive Experiences’, in
Hallucinations –
Behavior, Experience, and Theory
, R. K. Siegel and L.J. West (e
ds.) John Wiley & Sons, New York,
1975, p. 272
The term is my own.
18
It is Dostoevskii’s early peri
od that provides us with the richest source material from
eamer, with the frequent appearances of
Dalton, p. 48
Ibid., p. 54
19
петербургский
таинственная
угрюмая
катастрофами
…Мечтатель
потому
…В службе
[…]
чувствуют
глубокое
…Селятся
частию
глубоком
уединении
неприступным
углам
будто
…Они угрюмы
домашними
углублены
созерцательное
действующее
нежно
возбуждающее
ощущения
страницы
удовлетворились
летучая
уже
возбуждена
пленительнейшими
нибудь
преступлениями
вдруг
мечтателя
пространство
время
останавливается
минуту
Иногда
…Он бросается на постель почти без памяти и, засыпая, еще долго
ощущение
Минуты
ужасны
несчастный
выносит
увеличенных
музыкальный
нибудь
…и яд готов, и снова фантазия ярко, роскошно раскидывается по узорчатой и прихотливой канве тихого, таинственного мечтания. На улице
окружающих
тут
обыкновенная
мелочь
пустое
обыденное
колорит
фантастическое
…&#x/MCI; 1 ;&#x/MCI; 1 ;Воображение настроено; тотчас рождается
уголок
часто
чуждаться
притупляться
наслаждения
своевольной
Наконец
чутье
способен
оценить
красоту
упускает
моменты
20
ужас
карикатура
иле
менее
the shape of its narrator.
who himself attempts a
21
bours many of the negative aspects of
…Я создаю в мечтах целые романы.’ (2:107) Such idealism can only mean he is
him back to the security of seeking out
new dreams, new ways of attaining this
’; and so a vicious circle of delusion is activated. Every turn away from reality
back into dreams, every surrender to this deluded world, reinforces this circle. It is no
surprise that he describes his dreams as
физическое
ощущение
вдруг
блеснула
утонченного
сладострастного
…Посмотрите
прихотливо
волшебной
одушевленной
…Посмотрите
восторженных
With such an evidently narcotic eff
ect, it is little surprise that the
Бахтин
Проблемы
поэтики
Достоевского
Художественная
литература
Москва
1972,
p. 171
22
an identity or corporeal existence when, in
on using the third person when describing himself.
23
This sensation of time standing still is
a powerful moment
of reality for the
moment of great awareness of the pow
er of real emotion, an overwhelming
affirmation that reality
. As a result of this emotion,
his real connection to another human, time
seems to have stopped. We could almost
love; not just with
with real life. He is, all of a sudden, for the first time, totally absorbed.
The element of music adds another factor. For whereas his
24
увидел
where is the dreamer now? He has evidently
has to look back on are his dreams,
refers to himself as a
мечтатель
he is unable to describe himself any othe
r way. Perhaps a ‘cure’ for his daydreaming
was never really possible, and he is forever stuck in a decaying limbo. In this
eeling pessimistic for his outcome when Victor Terras
the existence of a romantic dreamer
proves to be an extremely precarious
one. It does not withstand the test of a brief realization of his dream
The dreamer… is perched on the
existence, in the sense of an agonizing solipsism and a total absence of
any meaning, goal, or distinctive content.
мечтатель
of the 1840s
would evolve into the bitter man from
underground of the 1860s, a view already
expounded by some critics. Konstantin Mochul’skii, for example, describes
Victor Terras.
The Young Dostoevsky (1846-1849) – A Critical Study
, Mouton, The Hague, 1969,
pp. 74
25
Белые
no life story, no history. He simply lives
dreams to replace the old ones – the only r
ecognisable history he has – which fade
quickly from memory. The
, then, is only embodied
in the present, and
for the future leave him
isolated in time, just as he
Достоевский
творчество
, YMCA-Press, Paris, 1980, p. 202. This
statement must be qualified by the fact that ther
e are a great many ‘last Romantic dreamers’ in
Mochul’skii’s study; namely Vasia (
Дядюшкин
сон
26
Dostoevskii’s other daydreamers, howev
er, have a place in time and become
embodied in a plot. In these cases we see
how the dreamer is created and how such a
character develops – although this must
be qualified by the fact that most of
Dostoevskii’s daydreamers seem to be born in
to a dreamlike state. This is certainly
true of the eponymous heroine of
27
уме
моем
чутье
28
предчувствовал
всɺ
вдруг
упрямо
первый
ударила
вдруг
The power of music, again so nebulous and
Efimov that his life has been a lie. It is
Terras,
The Young Dostoevsky
, p. 75
29
30
dreams. It is also perhaps a subconscious
expression of developing maturity, an
indication that it is time for her to move on,
– the aim of which already displays more
maturity – is realised when she and Katia
become firm friends. However, this is soon
Jacques Catteau,
Dostoyevsky and the proc
ess of literary creation
(trans. Audrey Littlewood),
Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 429
31
прошлую
жизнь
Действительно
будто
будто
уже
seems ever more dreamlike to
32
проснулась
наутро
чистый
призрак
только
друг
друга
пустякам
y, childhood memories as another
33
запомнил
отворенное
лучи
солнца
…в комнате в углу
зажженную
лампадку
рыдающую
взвизгиваниями
вскрикиваниями
схватившую
руки
…протягивающую
руками
Such an emotionally and spiritually char
ged early memory may have even defined
ith the church, as other early memories
confirm: ‘
младенчества
подгородном
монастыре
куда
Indeed, Diane Oenning Thompson believes Alesha’s memory-image itself is
iconographic, ‘reminiscent of iconographi
c images of the divine Mother and
, and, furthermore, that this memory ‘has become an icon
venerated image which can be evoked th
founding hagiographic episode of his “life story”.’&#x/MCI; 4 ;&#x/MCI; 4 ;35 &#x/MCI; 5 ;&#x/MCI; 5 ; In this way, these powerful, dreamlike memory images, experienced as daydreams –
‘epiphanic moments of grace that can
occur unexpectedly in human life’
memories, in the way they shape our psyc
hology, are in many instances the ones we
remember and
ry small in scale, they may,
like seeds, become large and powerful in thei
r long-range effects. Points of light may
burst into radiant effulgence, a little corner may expand into a full fledged image.’
Father Zosima, too, holds influential memories
close to his heart, for example, those
nced his path in life:
вошел
него
ясный
комнату
лучом
увидав
руками
умиленно
сказал
минуту
Diane Oenning Thompson,
34
уже
слезами
In Zosima’s case, memory is the art form of experience, which allows him to
illustrate his teachings with examples from real life – even after his death, as
itself, written from Alesha’s memory of
Zosima’s lectures and conversations) prove
s. Zosima’s other memories, of pleading
his simple joy of studying the Bible, are ju
st as instructive lessons in humility, hope
and faith. In disseminating them, Zosima tu
rns powerful memories into instructive
tools that can be passed on to others thr
ough his teaching, and they become ‘a human
. This aspect of memory can even be ta
ken as the basis of Christian teaching:
the memory, cultural, collective and indivi
method is held in texts, canonical, folkloric, apocryphal, and in communal traditions
This ‘link’ of memory provides the whol
e novel with its structure, according to
Thompson, who comments on how Dostoevskii
himself singled out four passages as
‘the most essential “culminating points” in his novel’
Руский
Похороны
’. Intense memory is central to
profoundly involved with memo
35
Of these ‘culminating points’, the ultimate confirmation of Dostoevskii’s belief in
the power of childhood memories lies at the end of
Alesha gathers round Iliusha’s memorial
character is founded on happy memories, such as
the memories of Iliusha that Alesha
Memories and the very words used to
express them beco
me, literally, the
… He forges here a unit of memory
that is simultaneously a recoll
recollection, and which will operate for them in the future as an even
penultimate novel. It is therefore no surpri
se that memories of his childhood play a
period, and it again shows the importance of the
Arkadii shares many of the at
Worlds of the Novel
Panichas, pp. 175-76
36
, Arkadii’s daydreams as a child seem to initially unite not into one
image (such as the house with red curtains)
37
with Versilov is made patently clear: ‘
мечтал
…Каждая мечта
результате
and mutual respect with his father be
comes Arkadii’s idealised daydream-image.
Subsequently, as the novel progresses, many more of Arkadii’s actions are informed
an overwhelming preoccupation that Dostoevskii founds
his fundamental messages of the implications of the broken family unit. Katerina
Akhmakova, who becomes the focus of another of Arkadii’s
мальчик
…оставленном
уединенных
мечтах
душа
Dostoevskii summed up his aim for th
the author, Arkadii seems to have alrea
dy passed the stage of moral help, having
been born and grown up a bastard child from an ‘accidental family’ (‘
случайное
тут
уже
дерзко
ступить
душу
безгрешную
уже
загаженную
случайность
уже
допускает
уже
бурных
разумение
выкидыши
случайные
случайных
Accordingly, as Arkadii’s dream of his ‘
’ becomes all-consuming, he starts to
increasingly lose touch with reality. ‘
мечтал
’ (13:72), he admits, and adds, ‘
удаляешься
пустыню
случается
вскользь
38
отговорку
This obsessive character trait of the
dreamer’s experience of realit
всегда
that his single-mindedness means he could b
ecome a danger to others and himself in
Although Arkadii is ultimately
saved from the life of the
novel’s end there is little mention of
s on the dilemmas of his family and a
blackmail plot involving Katerina Akhmakova
– he is made aware that trying to
also the
мечты
is teeming with
. The theories ruminated over by Kraft, for
example, seem to occupy him more than realit
y, and ultimately lead to his suicide. It
takes effort to remove him from his thoughts: ‘
опомнился
сконфузился
ov, one of Lambert’s
stoevskii’s old romantic dreamers who has immersed
himself in
мечтаю
одну
мечту
tendant images of a
39
случиться
мелькнуло
вдруг
двухлетнее
?’ (13:387) – and
ilov saves Katerina Akhmakova from
Lambert, bears out this delusion. Powerful
cannot be simply dispersed, such
is the embodiment of intense obsessions within the mind.
40
лгу
живу
мечтательном
мире
действительного
Насилует
насилует
тут
единственное
бегу
уши
мечтами
Despite his ‘
his ears with dreams’. He then increasingl
y denies reality by creating a dream from
41
in particular is its maximum
gonist falls back on th
seems to recognise that he is no entreprene
ur, nor is he remarkably intelligent. ‘
утешает
later spelled out even more distinctly: ‘
, with even the dreamer’s dreams warn
чуть
возвратился
отцу
чуть
опять
слабело
смешивалось
входил
общую
стало
уму
иначе
This passage seems to indicate the dange
r of the isolation of dreams, and the
42
nd using the people he loves
– but all in a peculiarly
The aspect of daydreams in Dostoevskii’s
fiction is most tightly focused on the
43
. Here we can see clear inspiration for the pseudo-narcotic fantasies of the
ночи
nd the romantic visions of youth depicted in this passage
that also signal a caution in treating some
of its events too seriously. At times, the
article’s usefulness as a factual document co
mes into question, particularly when the
настоящая
with whom he shares a room (amongst
others) and reads literature. The whole
episode is highly fanciful, with mo
. Indeed, no other mention of this
claims her real name is) is made by th
But such a fabrication does again succeed
in displaying the heightened states of
the young Dostoevskii may have occasionally found himself in
fact, never seemed to leave him. As he
kingly frank admission
later on in the article:
никак
могу
отказаться
называли
одну
щелочку
Теперь
разумеется
фантазером
The author himself admits that dreaminess,
, is inherent within
him; and by extension his works, from his very
first to his very last – evident in the
in his works from Devushkin to Kalganov.
’ lies in his time as a convict in
one of the main reasons the
writer managed to survive the whole expe
rience. By allowing his mind to make
es and scenarios – mostly inspired by memories – he was
able to block out the horrors of the prison camp, as well as keep his artistic mind
active in the four-year absence of pen and paper. These daydreams are effectively
, p. 276
44
Мужик
нибудь
цельную
нибудь
уже
беспрерывно
This explains why Dostoevskii describes convicts as dreamers in
: it is an assumption that every pr
isoner had to dream to some degree
each one yearns for is freedom, a desire convicts
found difficult to contain within their subcons
cious. In many prisoners, this desire for
freedom, for space, for self-expression, woul
d erupt into violence for no good cause,
Dostoevskii writes:
между
человеке
которого
судорожное
личности
желание
заявить
приниженную
вдруг
появляющееся
омрачения
Other isolated mentions of lesser daydreams abound in Dostoevskii’s
his homeland again during his period of self-
imposed exile in Europe.
There is also one mention
that the author pursued to a similar intensity as
the Arkadii/Versilov character ma
Although Dostoevskii would have by no means killed himself for this
мечта
-mired journal. He admits as much in a
45
лучше
серьезно
anation for Dostoevskii’s gambling addiction. It shows that
could become, and the dangers of
gambling only made his financial burdens worse.
ve in to powerful spells of infatuation.
The most prominent case, of his desire for
Apollinariia Suslova, led him to travel
Mariia Dmitrievna, was similarly intense,
involving long journeys to the remote
Siberian town where her first husband had
his worth to her. Both of these cases of
extreme infatuation led to failure, even in Mariia Dmitrievna’s case, for their
marriage quickly degenerated into mutual
tolerance and ultimately estrangement.
This experience perhaps informs the ultimate failure of Arkadii’s naive
мечта
possessing Katerina Akhmakova.
for practically his whole life, it is
46
this campaign,’ writes Frank. ‘High-flow
n Romantic ideals and attitudes are
litating withdrawal from th
Joseph Frank,
Dostoevsky – The Seeds
of Revolt, 1821-1849
47
e development of the function of the
ed that the author himself succumbed to
significance that he assigns to the type in
was himself a
This becomes even more apparent when we
stands as perhaps the most vivid example we
inspirational illumination. It is best to quote the passage in full, to give an impression
iter lends to this moment.
спешил
минутку
дымную
мутную
вдруг
заалевшую
пурпуром
зари
небосклоне
вспухшая
бесконечными
мириадами
градусов
Мерзлый
усталых
лошадей
бегущих
воздух
дрожал
звука
словно
великаны
подымались
сплетаясь
складывался
воздухе
слабыми
сумеречный
фантастическую
волшебную
который
искурится
вдруг
вздрогнул
будто
вдруг
могущественного
доселе
Frank,
The Seeds of Revolt
, p. 236
48
незнакомого
будто
эту
минуту
будто
слухам
минуты
существование
тут
ощущение
благополучно
Although the fantastic imagery and romantic
sweep of the passage may suggest that
it suffers from the embellishments of the article as a whole, such dwelling on a single
moment suggests strongly that Dostoevsk
sensations. What we do know from Dostoevskii’
s life is that at some point in his first
Dostoevskii wrote to his brother at the turn of 1840: ‘
вызубрил
говорил
бредил
…имя же Шиллера стало
родным
каким
звуком
вызывающим
’ (28/1:69).
49
ощущение
мной
случаться
вдруг
увидел
чудные
фигуры
прозаические
мною
фантастическую
пружинки
куколки
другая
история
каких
углах
начальству
грустная
глубоко
вся
It is clear from this pass
first time to the fantastic nature of reality. The Romantic figures of Schiller are
councillors, the twists a
nd turns of whose lives are
perhaps just as fantastic; and the ‘
история
’ he imagines clearly refers to
Бедные
50
in his works, the power that such imagery holds for
Dostoevskii. Each episode is a moment of
Each character in each of these visions, including Dostoevskii himself in
, seems to be moved to a higher, objective standpoint
which brings the chaos around them into
ranscendental experience’:
Henry Buchanan,
Dostoevsky’s
Crime and Punishment
51
seems no less real. It is a charade that has
fooled Arkadii until this point, when he
seems to awaken to the real
experiences, the moment he ‘
’ is a realisation that man has
This is all brought home to Arkadii upon looki
ng at a panorama of
the winter dusk seems to threaten to dissi
pate into the freezing air. So it was for
Dostoevskii, who, witnessing the same panorama from the Nikolaevskii Bridge,
suddenly acknowledged that the naïve roma
nticism he had grown up with would
always be dashed in reality. As a consequence, the
portray must make the choice to face up
to reality or be destroyed by it.
Fittingly, the remainder of
ced many moments of inspirational
illumination while composing his works. The notebooks for his later novels in
rtuous changes his masterpieces
final version was written, and also rev
eal flashes of corresponding inspiration.
, in particular, went through multiple different plans before even the basic
52
душе
меня
чувствовать
художественных
нужно
вдруг
уже
получив
приступить
художественному
Тут
уже
можно
by some occasions when he seemed to reel
off captivating stories extemporaneously
ce of his first epileptic fit, told to his
niece Sof’ia Kovalevskaia, is one example: fo
r a start, its factual value is extremely
limited; but he was seized by such inspir
might have an attack ther
another witness to Dostoevskii’s ability to conjure up apparently off-the-cuff pictures
and stories for other people’s, and, indeed, his own amusement:
нибудь
удивительные
потом
слушатель
трусиха
Федор
грядущий
такие
Александровна
могла
заснуть
It seems that Dostoevskii was also oc
casionally seized by inspiration in his
Тюнькин
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 2,
Художественная
Москва
, 1990, p. 53
53
Сделаю
отступление
значительное
сущности
создателя
часть
творец
могучая
сущность
жизни
сущий
совокупляющий
силу
многоразличии
создания
творец
самому
поэту
потому
слишком
вдруг
души
душа
рудник
алмазы
уже
глубокое
таинственное
художника
получив
алмаз
Тут
представляя
нашею
русским
русскую
отмечая
пункты
вдруг
пунктов
даже
чуть
пункты
каждому
как
простую
сердечную
поэму
пункт
его
мукою
наивно
любовь
била
ключом
He ends with an almost
тут
Such a grandiose scheme would undoubtedly have been the ultimate summation of
54
camp, a result of his constant daydreaming which conjured up the memories of his
мужик
Marei from a hidden corner of hi
s psyche. This daydream, perhaps
modified by the ‘new touches’ Dostoevskii admitted he applied to such mental
wanderings, became the inspiration for his new philosophy of life, of seeing the
The moment of this conv
In
Литературное
наследство
, 83:
Неизданный
Достоевский
Записные
книжки
тетради
1860-1881
(eds.
Зильберштейн
Розенблюм
Наука
, 1971, p. 411
55
prison; and by the time of the writer’s
these embellishments may have become ‘fact’. However, it is clear that even the
essence of the memory had a profound infl
Jackson,
The Art of Dostoevsky
Ibid.
Жернакова
, ‘«
Марей
Достоевского
Dostoevsky Studies
, Volume 9, 1989,
pp. 101-106
56
peasant] from the alluvial barbarism,” and
“to discover diamonds in this filth”.’
ecollection’ of Marei
bears all the earmarks of a genuine
conversion experience; and it also
faith. But it is not faith in God or
it is a faith in the Russian common
people as, in some sense, the human image of Christ.
The inspirational illumination of ‘
’ also classifies this episode as one
of Dostoevskii’s most powerful childhood me
mories. It is already obvious from his
fiction that the author placed great value
in these recollections of youth. One passage
of non-fiction that makes this even more strikingly clear is an
Joseph Frank,
Dostoevsky – The Years of Ordeal 1850-1859
57
have had a great impact on his life and, cons
such memory is based, somewhat fitt
brother Andrei remembers witnessing the s
red in each one of them a reverential
awe for the teachings of Christianity. Mo
reover, one of Dostoevskii’s earliest
memories was of a dove flying across the cupo
his mother.
a have long been a revered symbol
well-known in the devout Dostoevskii
As such, it is a memory load
ed with religious symbolism.
ess of God’s omnipotence never left
Dostoevskii, despite straying from the Christ
ian path in the years before his arrest;
seamlessly into Arkadii Dolgoruki
i’s own childhood memories in
Alesha Karamazov, too, reca
lls childhood visits to church. The world must have
seemed to have been suffused with the devout essence of Christ from his very first
impressions of consciousness:
For a thoughtful and imaginative child it results in a kind of supernatural
humanism quite unique in its char
acter. The world, human history, the
life of mankind are bathed in a light th
at nothing henceforth avails to dim
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
1, p. 77
Frank,
The Seeds of Revolt
, p. 43.
Ibid.
58
or to extinguish. The presence of God, everywhere active, all-powerful,
reigns over all things, animate and inanimate.
on the dreamlike nature of reality that
Dostoevskii lent some of his novels.
The omnipotence and glory of Russian Or
thodoxy also found itself firmly ensconced
in the young Dostoevskii via Karamzin’s co
This history of the Russian land until 1612, told with charm and energy,
villains, princes as it happened; the intervention of supernatural elements,
which play the part of the dream, comets, and other prodigies of nature
of the State built on suffering, moral condemnation of egotism and
child’s Manichaean soul. … The book inspired in Dostoevsky that
his country, which was a constant of
s earlier, Gothic tales.
time from his adolescence,
is his memory of the courier at a posting
Ibid., p. 43n
Catteau, p. 65
Frank,
The Seeds of Revolt
, p. 49
As were the novels of Ann Radcliffe. Dostoevskii recalls, ‘
долгие
грамоте
слушал
разиня
рот
замирая
восторга
родители
грядущий
романы
которых
потом
бредил
лихорадке
.’ (5:46)
59
60
Тут
душа
…сообщившейся ей в доме отца еще
…всему она, чему научена
умерла
скуки
душно
вроде
воздуху
Душа
Gary Saul Morson summarises: ‘when he repo
them to childhood homes infected with ma
terialism and fashionable scepticism,
homes incapable of producing the go
od memories necessary for later life’
such as in the diary’s story ‘
думать
ates the great theme of
‘each is guilty for all’. This guilt is mani
fest in the subconscious of the nation, and
dreams among the populace. The cure for this
Gary Saul Morson, ‘Introductory Study: Dostoevsky’s Great Experiment’, in Fyodor Dostoevsky,
Writer’s Diary, Volume One 1873-1876
61
2. DREAMLIKE REALITY
This is the biggest ‘grey area’ categor
y of imagery of the subconscious in
La Barre, ‘Anthropological perspectives on hallucination and hallucinogens’, in Siegel and West
(eds.),
Hallucinations
, p. 20. In the same volume, C. Wade Savage even cites Descartes and Locke as
two very different believers in the continuity hypo
thesis (‘The continuity of perceptual and cognitive
experiences’, p. 260).
62
more free-flowing model and therefore, like
There is a case for the artist having a
special ability to provide access to this
‘preconscious stream’, to consciously create
forms) that trigger a previously unknown re
be self-accessed: ‘Dream mentation can
ho uses dream-like mentation when he is
awake. Surprising relationships which artist
s are able to discover often appear to
laymen only in their dreams.’
This may, indeed, be the very definition of artistic
In Dostoevskii’s works, dreamlike reality due
to a character’s confused state arises
almost always due to some form of illness. This common ailment is, however,
difficult to define. We can only be certain
that its symptoms include insomnia, loss
E. C. Barksdale,
Daggers of the Mind – Structuralism and Neuropsychology in an Exploration of
the Russian Literary Imagination
, Coronado Press, 1979, p. 48
‘Some early REM-deprivation studies reported that subjects could begin to hallucinate and display
other abnormalities in behaviour, but these reports have not been confirmed.’ (Bryan Kolb & Ian Q.
Whishaw,
An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
, Worth, New York, 2006, p. 467)
63
least, that they operate in reality. However, a pervading dream logic imbues them
with qualities of imagery of the subconsci
confused dreamlike reality is Ordynov, the
n with dreamlike imagery and, if
may in fact be exclusively a product of
Ordynov’s delirium.
Bem’s analysis, however, seems too simplistic in its division
the former to the latter, or
’. While a definite reality exists
in this text, there appears to be
of dreamlike reality through
Bem, in fact, is closer to
uity’ in a later essay which
уничтожает
между
между
небытием
больной
действующее
чувствует
. It is this dismantling
lishing where they once lay and where they
lie in the present of the text, that is a
acterological feature
бреда
Хозяйка
Достоевского
)’, in
(ed.),
сборник
статей
Прага
1929, pp. 77-124
Pointed out by Edward Wasiolek (
Dostoevsky – The Major Fiction
, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1964,
p. 13).
Снотворчество
’, in
Достоевский
Психоаналитическые
этюды
Прага
, 1938, p. 35
64
ity at the start of the text when he is
stems from his obsessive
fers to this simply as ‘
наука
самая
глубокая
ненасытимая
существам
Ордынов
угла
другой
, the narrator adds: ‘
обращенным
’ that always seems to elude meaning. This
path to an enlightenment just beyond co
mprehension is in itself a very dreamlike
выживалась
годами
душе
новую
просветленную
эта
души
эту
душу
…Но срок воплощения
далек
может
, is tied to the city of
65
грустно
ожидания
Here life is simple, uncomplicated, ruled by
the laws of nature, not man. There is no
here. The novel sensation Ordynov feels seems to be
Ágnes Dukkon, ‘Conception of the Dream and the Vision in Dostoevskij’s Early Novels’, in
Studia
Slavica
, 42 (3-4), 1997, pp. 245-53
66
подавленное
чувство
physical and mental exhaustion,
угол
’ of the church seems to symbolise a dark corner of Ordynov’s mind,
from which these two ‘mythic’ character
s emanate. We will later see the Murin
господин
такого
отчаяния
был
истерзан
так
того
изнемог
опал
того
духа
что
позабыл
обо
всем
[…]
всем
телом
невольно
отскочил
шага
два
сторону
.’ (1:139)
67
idea that Katerina and Murin are mythical
сказка
apartment has strong sym
потусторонний
confusion and dreamlike imagery. Secondly, Murin comes to symbolise the guard of
Волшебная
сказка
Достоевского
Хозяйка
Slavica
, XXVIII, 1997,
75-84
Ibid.
68
Ordynov seems to be externally aware of the
confused reality he is currently experi
encing, as if an isolated part of his
осужден
каком
69
of the old man, but this time the ‘
’ is hidden from Ordynov. Then, ‘
сказка
…сказка воплощалась перед ним в лица и формы
…&#x/MCI; 4 ;&#x/MCI; 4 ;Он видел, как всɺ, начиная с детских
жизнию
уже
одушевлялось
кругом
…наконец, теперь, вокруг
бесплотная
созданиями
…и как вся эта жизнь, своею мятежною независимостью, давит, гнетет его и преследует
бесконечной
слышал
умирает
разрушается
хотел
угла
вселенной
укрыть
Michael Katz believes this passage is th
e origin of one of Dostoevskii’s ‘most
s and figurative dreams have
See appendix.
70
own, that once conceived, they become personified or embodied in forms and
images, and that they can turn against their
him to distraction.’
The dream, then, is a symbolic represen
tation of Ordynov’s mental state. ‘Ordynov
comprehends the power of his own former figurative dreams (
experiential dream (
. For the first time, he sees objectively where his
is leading him. Notably, ‘
выжил
’ seems to
dominance of ideas in his lif
e that will ultimately lead
to his lonely end, his ultimate ostracisa
tion from reality which began with his
he is still living in the world of imagin
ation. His dream tells him that ‘he has to
. His ultimate ‘
система
’ that seems so ‘
Michael R. Katz,
Dreams and the Unconscious in Nineteenth-Century Russian Fiction
, University
Press of New England, 1984, pp. 93-94
Dukkon, ‘Conception of the Dream and the Vision in Dostoevskij’s Early Novels’, p. 251
Much in the same way as the clerk Vasia Shumkin in ‘
Слабое
сердце
’ goes mad because he feels
he does not deserve happiness.
71
kiss that it seems to induce pain, ‘
будто
ножом
ударили
замирающая
сумерки
72
remains mired in obscurity: ‘
рассвет
After Ordynov’s dreams, ‘
чувствовал
болезненным
лицу
будто
l ill, and he has been dreaming – but
73
удавалось
сознание
…Жест его, взгляд, непроизвольные движения дрожавших посинелых губ
помешательство
deeper illness and does not recover for three months – and although he seems to
recover physically, he grows more de
tached mentally. By the end of ‘
suffers even more from the isolation of
мечтательность
than before. Ultimately, it
is a combination of his illness and la
наука
that have made Ordynov susceptib
le to a mentally debilitating
finds himself in such dreamlike confusion
cate the true nature of reality in many
on composites of earlier ones, and it is f
itting, then, that Joseph Frank has drawn a
similarity between Raskol’ni
теория
elusive ‘
The ‘dreamer’ of the 1840s, lost in so
litary reverie, had become alienated
from ordinary human life and lived in
a world of Romantic fantasy; but
he also wished to make contact with
‘reality’, and even to transform the
world and bring it more into conform
, the dismal failure of the main character to accomplish
such a feat anticipates Raskolnikov’s final acceptance of Sonia’s faith …
This edifying conclusion is an admi
ky – his potential female saviour, Katerina,
dreamlike world. However, the dreamlike
Волшебная
Достоевского
Хозяйка
»’, p. 77
Frank,
The Stir of Liberation
, pp. 98-99
74
situations that Raskol’nikov finds himself
similarities to those of Ordynov.
Reality always seems clouded for Raskol’nikov, who, from the novel’s beginning,
75
взять
куда
ввергнутым
обнаруживает
ужасный
уже
бред
страданье
утерянное
уже
The worlds of dream and reality are meshed
symbolism of the colour yellow in the
intertwining of dreams and reality
. It appears in
s and Sonia’s room, the yellow wood of
Porfirii Petrovich’s office, the yellowness of
Касаткин
Касаткина
Тайна
Своеобразие
реализма
Достоевского
педагогический
Москва
, 1994, p. 163
Johae, ‘Expressive symbols in Dostoevsky’s
Crime and Punishment
Ibid., p. 18
Ibid., p. 19
76
mechanically discharging the ener
accumulates in him; it is one of the few coordinates in time and space
where he can break free from the oppre
ssiveness of the modern city and
Buchanan, p. 9
Leslie A. Johnson,
The Experience of Time in
Crime and Punishment, Slavica, Columbus, 1984,
pp. 73-75
77
глубине
чуть
улетал
куда
detailed in Arkadii
Ivanovich’s ‘vision’, part of the city’s self
-righteous charade; but worse still, he has
isolation his theory has inflicted on him. He
alone is above everyone else; but he is al
so alone in his slowly consuming guilt.
, p. 61
78
Dreamlike intensity forms the basis of Dostoevskii’s employment of his self-
confessed technique of ‘fantastic realism’ –
his view of reality as the wildest fantasy,
and the consequent dreamlike nature
of reality at these moments: ‘
знаете
художественном
’ (23:144), he wrote in his
Дневник
of October 1876.
Dostoevskii’s extensive use of momentous
events in characters’ lives painted in
dreamlike images is evidence of this. These are the ‘
powerful scenes of emotion, derangement or
, pp. 255-56
79
nsity is most often refracted through the
‘At the heart of the myth of
Fanger, pp. 104-05
80
исследования
душу
человека
Петербурге
административный
’ and theories – and perhaps even cites him as a typical example
Fanger, p. 194
Malcolm V. Jones,
Dostoyevsky – The Novel of Discord
, Paul Elek, London, 1976, p. 21
81
утро
петербургское
утренним
самому
случалось
утрам
минувшие
поступки
built is so flat, and the height
of its buildings relatively low, th
and, at the same time, particularly
In this oppressive atmosphere, the administrative clerks whom Dostoevskii often
city’s inhabitants live on a
s this is the most intense
This is the melting pot of despair, destit
ution and dreams that Dostoevskii finds so
Alex de Jonge,
Dostoevsky and The Age of Intensity
, Secker & Warburg, London, 1975, pp. 55-56
Ibid., pp. 60-61
82
Fanger, p. 206
Catteau, p. 154
de Jonge, pp. 215-16
83
intent, sovereign will, itself the product
of the Emperor’s
fiat
, and from which the Empire is governed; it is also
the dream-capital, the city of represse
of poor clerks, impoverished students and ambitious dreamers. Both the
writes: ‘
Петербург
туман
внутренних
are echoed in the
symbolism of
Sidney Monas, ‘Across the threshold:
The Idiot
84
This is also the main reason why, while
Преступление
may in many
, we recall, appears to be a t
ype unique to the dark corners
conclude that certain characters could consequently have come to be associated with certain locations
of the city. Fanger later turns this on its head wh
en he says Dostoevskii’s characters are exclusively
85
The reader is made immediately awar
e of Ivan’s ailment from the opening
утра
чувствовал
закату
устал
.’ (3:169) Ivan never seems to fully recuperate
condition is apparently terminal and he is
writing his reminisces from his hospital
86
ощущение
Then, following the encounter with Smit in the
A dreamlike scenario is therefore the instig
the death of Smit –
an intensely unreal moment, charged with
presentiment and the blurred impressions
of Ivan’s illness – draws Smit’s granddaughter Nelli to Ivan. Writing almost a year
later in hospital, Ivan’s recollection of ev
ents naturally seems even more dreamlike.
Such presentiment is not an isolated occurrence in the novel. For example, Ivan experiences a
similar deja-vu type experience on his way to see his foster parents, the Ikhmenevs, and their
daughter, his childhood love Natasha. When Natasha tells Ivan she is leaving her parents to live with
her beloved Alesha, Ivan notes: ‘
предчувствовал
представлялось
тумане
может
задолго
этого
.’ (3:195)
87
осуществится
насмешку
придет
мною
факт
ужасный
безобразный
неумолимый
рассудка
минуты
большую
лишается
противодействовать
ощущениям
слушаются
бесполезен
усиливает
пугливую
тоску
боящихся
мертвецов
усиливает
мучения
. (3:208)
Such an indefinable experience can be simp
fear of mortality. By extension, and taking
мистический
ужас
may be an unconscious premonition, as his
illness worsens, of his own fate of dying in hospital. As if to comfort himself by
rm in an overwhelming certainty that he
will be visited by Smit – again, a forebodi
вдруг
установилась
уверенность
неминуемо
случится
случилось
To a degree this vision does indeed come
to pass, as Nelli, Smit’s granddaughter,
enters the room. But even her timid a
ppearance is imbued with hallmarks of
если
испугал
такой
88
Ivan’s distorted impressions are the key f
scene in a display of dreamlike intensity.
almost seems to make its physical event
89
This idea of Nelli as some sort of psyc
hic projection, a living nightmare or vision,
carries further weight when she tells Ivan
мрачный
90
It must also be noted
that the characters of
seem palely drawn, not just in comparison
to the great figures of world literature
so many of his characters of the 1840s.
Once again, while perhaps stylistically
light in weight, these almost ghostlike
novel’s dreamlike atmosphere.
character, focuses on the fantastic, dreamlike experiences that befall him. Despite
being the novel’s narrator, Ivan himself
remains a stubbornly difficult character to
discern, acting mostly as a simple witness
him as ‘only a shadow, an instrument of
character, the moments of
imagery of the subconscious that he experiences tend to be devices for moving the
less important as they mark major turning
points in the text. But the fact that this
imagery does not significantly contribute to
characterisation in this nove
suffers from its lack of
For Fanger this is a deliberate ploy by Dostoevskii to symbolise the downfall of the
оскорбленные
, in his mind, is less a nostalgic look back
at the 1840s than a damning critique of
мечтательность
. Ivan is ultimately
powerless to effectively interf
and will not yield to Ivan’s; Nelli, though
happier at the novel’s end, dies; but the
schemes of the immoral sensualist Prince Valkovskii come to full fruition. The face
a hero. … With all his feverish activity, he
loses everything that
is dear to him, and
at he is writing these memo
bed, forsaken by all whom I loved so much
Failure had always been Dostoevsky’s theme; what constitutes the
novelty of this treatment of it is
ss immoralism before which no
Fanger, p. 175
91
of the subconscious mode, in
Zosima. He says, ‘
месте
другом
eory; on a subconscious level, we find the
same water-based imagery of the ‘prec
onscious stream’. This inter-connectedness
forms a fundamental base for Zosima’s teac
hings, and prompts his instruction to his
novice Alesha Karamazov to love the earth, th
Ibid. pp. 175-77
Said or quoted by Zosima in various different forms. See 14:149, 262, 270, 275, 290. However, the
phrase most commonly used is stated by Dmitrii Karamazov: ‘
виноваты
’. (15:31)
92
However, identifying episodes of dreamlike
rather difficult, as so much of these o
ccurrences are tied up with other phenomena
of confused, dreamlike states are almost
condition, as will be discussed later. Howeve
r, some of the writer’s experiences of
different types of dreamlike reality as manife
sted in his works can be isolated from
other phenomena.
93
achieve a moment of ultimate insight into
his goal – his ‘vision on the Neva’, which
tempered his Schillerian romanticism with a tragic Gogolian reality – Ordynov seems
doomed to remain in the gloom of confus
mean he is destined for disappoint
ment and isolation in reality.
’ is therefore a stronger condemnation of the
clear why Bem was the first of several to
мечтатель
Ordynov’s greater isolation from reality
imbues him with greater tragedy: ‘
мечтатель
философии
лицом
Bem ultimately sees Dostoevskii’s own
imagery:
Достоевского
душевный
душевная
внутренний
почву
всходы
th Dostoevskii’s relationship with his own
father in Ordynov’s dream of the ‘wicked’ old man, who takes his mother away from
him forever. Tentatively, because the exact
nature of this relationship has by no
means ever been certain, and many accounts ar
reliance on a body of myths that has grown up around the Dostoevskii family history.
However, we can assume the certainty of basic facts: that the young Fedor was closer
to his mother than his father;
that his father imposed a
strict educational regime on
and that it was he who sent Fedor and Mikhail to military academy in
Драматизация
’, in
Достоевском
, p. 78
Ibid., p. 97
‘Dostoevsky always spoke of his mother with great warmth and affection,’ writes Frank (
The Seeds
of Revolt
, p. 14), in comparison with the formal a
nd often terse letters he wrote to his father.
‘They [the Dostoevsky children] learned to read almost as soon as they were out of the cradle, and
were instructed either by tutors who came to the house or by their el
der brothers or sisters; there was
94
no lengthy period of respite in their lives when they could simply indulge in the carefree pleasures and
irresponsibilities of childhood. … though their father did not terrorize them physically, his impatient
vigilance constantly hung over their heads as a threat.’ (Frank,
The Seeds of Revolt
, pp. 23-25)
Ibid., p. 37
‘The post of military engineer offered solid financial advantages … and Dr. Dostoevsky no doubt
believed he was doing the best he possibly could for his offspring. Feodor was thus compelled by
necessity to envisage a future that went deeply
against the grain of his temperament and interests’
(Ibid., p. 38) It must be borne in mind that the wage of a medical doctor at that time was only barely
sufficient to keep a family.
Драматизация
’, in
Достоевском
, p. 95
95
ambiguity than might be experienced in
Ordynov’s dreamlike confusion; here we can
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 1, p. 423
Ibid., p. 392
96
There are occasions when Dostoevskii, as
if marvelling at the
compares it to a dream: ‘
Москву
’ (28/2:8); ‘
пролетело
мечта
’ (29/2:124). Such statements
seem to be born of a feeling that was onl
y awakened within Dostoevskii after his
arrest, or, more precisely, in the moment of
the tsar’s reprieve as he faced execution.
97
чувствуемое
процессом
которую
можно
заслуживает
Тут
чувствуемое
приобретается
нужно
houghts come under the heading of ‘
ИДЕЯ
prefaced by the statement, ‘
ЕСТЬ
ПРАВОСЛАВИЕ
’. Such a philosophy on life obviously
ngs that, despite his extreme despair,
the many hardships in his own life –
some of them of his own doing, such as
poverty, humiliation, illness, and rejecti
on – he did penance for his anger.
… At the same time that he descri
ng that he was about to be reborn. He
d take him beyond his guilty, self-
Such moments gave the author an inspira
tional boost that left its imprint in the
melodramatic style his novels sometimes displayed.
One disaster he could not avoid, however,
de Jonge, p. 143
Rice, p. 65
Louis Breger,
Dostoevsky, The Author as Psychoanalyst
, New York University Press, New York
and London, 1989, p. 17
98
In
Гроссман
Семинарий
Достоевскому
99
on Semenovskii Square, where he t
to have said among company:
такую
минуту
человек
смерти
чем
мучительнее
неминуемой
другой
nse symptoms of his
epilepsy, that ‘Dostoevsky was indelibly ma
saturated moment’, writes de Jonge. ‘It
understanding which enabled him to recreat
opposite, this also which made him a compulsi
ve gambler and the literary master of
Peaks of dreamlike intensity in lif
e became the basis of his style.
was given much time to ruminate over
For a failed assassination attempt on Count M.
T. Loris-Melikov, president of the Supreme
Executive Committee fo
r state security.
In
Буданова
Фридлендер
(eds.),
Летопись
творчества
Достоевского
Академический
Проект
, 1995, vol. 3,
p. 385
de Jonge, p. 144
Frank,
The Years of Ordeal
, pp. 116-127
100
factors, dislocating the conditioned reflex
patterns of the brain, make the subject
receptive to the formation of new patterns and hence amenable to new ideas’. This
comes about through nervous exhaustion and mental collapse (‘transmarginal
inhibition’), leading to the
e establishment of new brain
patterns and new ways of thinking. While
no mental breakdown is described by
Frank,
The Years of Ordeal
, p. 119
101
убеждена
минуты
что
уже
смерть
неминуема
наяву
мучительнее
смертный
приговор
расстрелянию
когда
уже
надвинут
and it is therefore cold, hard evidence of
realism’. Dostoevskii’s review
s of news stories also enabled him to shed more light
ills. In addition, the reality of the news o
ffered day-to-day stories that belonged to
discussing the news, Dostoevskii could converse with the populace – and it
Дневник
Catteau, pp. 186-87
102
свой
искусстве
составляет
самую
моему
каждом
нумере
мудреных
занимаются
между
записывать
поминутны
пропустим
отмечать
углубляться
? …
Неужели
действительность
наших
оторванных
Dostoevskii came under much criticism for hi
s fantastic realism from devotees of
more traditionally realistic contemporaries su
ch as Turgenev and Tolstoi. But he was
tter what critical barbs stung him. In a
ruminative passage in his notebooks for
унизительное
Дурачки
тут
Criticism was particularly
contains many scenes and characters startli
ngly original for its time and, as his friend
Appolon Nikolaevich Maikov made clear in a
103
spokesman for the average Russian citizen.
His aim, he writes in this now famous
реализме
русская
преимуществу
конечно
истекает
глубины
духа
русскому
народу
теперешнему
буду
известен
будущему
зовут
высшем
глубины
души
человеческой
acks this up with a surprisingly similar
statement: ‘
далеко
души
человеческой
was always very careful to make sure
that even his most fantasti
whole career: from the basis for fantasy in mental illness in
Двойник
, to a similar
cause for the appearance of Ivan Karamaz
explanation – often grounded in the medical lit
erature that Dostoevskii fervently read
n of miracles in
is kept at a realistic distance,
those referred to having taken place many
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 1, p. 425
104
соприкоснулись
другим
злых
человечеству
духов
the capital for the first time, were
immediately struck by the c
eer scale of the city must have made it
seem almost unreal, a fairy tale, part
icularly to two impressionable youths
accustomed to the more traditional Russian
edifices of Moscow. However, this
enchantment would soon turn to despair fo
N. P. Antsiferov, quoted in Fanger, p. 104
105
сосредоточить
случаях
господ
тоскливую
свою
нибудь
подвернувшемся
поссориться
нибудь
нибудь
свет
уже
куда
нибудь
места
Ингерманландском
The impression of the city’s ‘character’ is that of a reckless, perhaps somewhat naïve
106
Another aspect of dreamlike reality, agai
n previously mentioned in referring to
107
automatons who seem to grow increasingly
isolated from reality. Their life becomes
their work and they become
slowly more introverted; a
process Dostoevskii sees as
inherently dangerous, as he remarks
de Jonge, p. 55
108
архитектурном
архитектур
постепенно
Once again assuming the role of
lives of the lowest classes. He finishes
with a striking sentiment: ‘
приходило
голову
Петербурге
угрюмый
109
oughly the same – an insular
sheltered life and Romantic
imagination, for example.
110
Vsevolod Solov’ev in 1873, recalling his illn
ess, vividly portray an almost physical
могу
ощущений
помню
умираю
уходила
This fear was to reach its culmination in Dostoevskii’s presumed end before the
firing squad on Semenovskii Square, where,
предсмертные
другой
Initially, it seems as if Dostoevskii’s reprie
of the tsar, is the
moment when he is released from its strang
lehold of fear. As the threat of immediate
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 2, pp. 204-05
Фридлендер
(eds.),
Летопись
творчества
Достоевского
, 3,
p. 385
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 2, p. 205
As well as his real life experiences, Dostoevskii cl
early drew on the influence of other writers for
the more particularly striking episodes of
Униженные
оскорбленные
. The fantastical styles of
Hoffmann and Gogol’, combined w
ith the ‘urban Gothic’ of Bal
zac and Eugène Sue are primary
111
Ultimately, many of Dostoevskii’s early symp
toms are transferred directly to Ivan
application of style in heightened, dreamlike moments of
intense, unreal reality. Part of this influence
lies in the intense detail packed into passages, a trait of Poe’s that Dostoevskii imitated: ‘
подробности
образа
или
...
событие
это
совсем
невозможно
свете
.’ (19:89)
112
3. HALLUCINATIONS
Hallucinations in Dostoevskii’s works occur when a character ‘sees’ things in a
waking state that others may not
see, or things that simply
tions that manifest themselves in a form
ination indicates a false appearance,
in sensory form, hence seemingly external, but occasioned by an internal
condition of the mind, the central suggestion of the term being its
La Barre, ‘Anthropological perspectives on hallucination and hallucinogens’, in Siegel and West,
Hallucinations
, pp. 9-10
Wallace D. Winters, ‘The Continuum of CNS Exc
itatory States and Halluci
nosis’, in Siegel and
Hallucinations
, p. 53
113
part of themselves. Therefore, as the in
posited, such ‘hallucinated phantoms’ may be ‘a projected fear of the self’
One principal feature that demarcates hallu
cinations is their intense realism, which
into the text. These are not fantastical
scenarios or epic visions; they take place in
the settings of everyday reality, and it is
this perceived proximity that make
s them even more frightening. Many
hallucinations in Dostoevskii’s works are also strikingly vivid, to the extent that the
character experiencing them feels like he
can – and in Ivan Karamazov’s case does –
interact with the s
A particularly interesting example is Ra
lieutenant Il’ia Petrovich (‘
поручик
an aural hallucination as opposed to visual – yet Dostoevskii still manages to evoke
vivid imagery of sight and touch in his description: ‘
звуков
ругательств
исступления
…драки, вопли и ругательства
Raskol’nikov ‘saw’ (‘
’) as well as heard these cries. The ‘
исступление
See Rice, p. 137. Carus’
original theory appears in
Vorlesungen über Psychologie gehalten im
Winter 1829/30 zu Dresden
(1831)
114
foreshadow his nightmarish second dream in wh
ich the murder is replayed in front of
a similar crowd.
шепоту
lies on his sofa in confused torment for
so often the emissary of ‘t
ikov’s many bouts of delirium
there was no shouting and no policeman.
momentarily shifts – Dostoevsky is “insid
).’
is not a dream (in
because, as we have seen with Ordynov, Dostoevskii can expertly utilise the
s dreamers often ‘wake up’ to what is
only the beginning of another dream. This
may be the case in this example:
диван
натянул
забылся
очнулся
ужасного
to the confusing layers of dreamlike reality in
, there is
this case I would argue that he does
principally because Nastas’ia provides third
party verification that nothing describe
d happened; and also, according to the
omniscient narrator, ‘
Раскольников] не мог
сомкнуть
until the moment Nastas’ia enters his room
, implying a state of wakefulness for at
So this is not a dream; instead, it is more
than likely a hallucination wrought from
Raskol’nikov’s mental illness – itself
of murder and his fear of bei
fear that is given prominent
form in this hallucination, for while Ras
Richard Tempest,
Russian Dreams – Pushkin, Chaadaev,
Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Mandelshtam,
, Omega Books, London, 1987, p. 18. The passage of the text reads: ‘
Посмотрев
что
она
поставила
стол
[…]’ (6:91)
115
Another striking example of a hallucination
which torments Stavrogin following his
J. Thomas Shaw, ‘Raskol’nikov’s Dreams’,
Slavic and East European Journal
, Vol. 17 (2), 1973,
131-45
Joseph Frank,
Dostoevsky – The Miracu
lous Years 1865-1871
116
нибудь
увидал
наяву
Matresha is much more than just a figmen
t of his fevered imagination, for she is a
real character, she has a real past – and
r image of childish defiance – ‘
своим
кулачонком
’ (11:22) – only emphasises this to him.
She has now become an almost real presen
вызываю
могу
вызывать
хотя
могу
жить
Stavrogin uses this hallucination to tormen
t himself, to take revenge on himself for
all of his crimes following his vision
of perfect humanity in his preceding
a blemish on this vision, the ‘
sunlight that Stavrogin equates to the sma
of Matresha’s suicide. Her appearance,
viewed as a psychic method of self-flagella
tion, a tormenting neurosis that Stavrogin
himself has created. This in itself speaks
of Stavrogin’s mental instability and his
susceptibility to hallucinations of this kind. His guilt has become manifest and will
live with him, tormenting him, every day. Th
atheist with no spiritual means with which
compounds the impossibility of securing a
release from this neurosis. ‘Stavrogin
finds this lacerating reminder of his own
evil unbearable,’ Fra
his crime, which nothing he knows or believes
driving him mad.’
In fact, the appearance of Matresha is ju
experiencing up until his confession to Bishop Tikhon. The earlier magazine version
, which was cut by Dostoevskii from th
refused to publish the chapter ‘
Тихона
regularly visited by demons in various gui
ses, and hints that they may even be
Ibid., p. 490
117
starting to overwhelm him: ‘–
ужасно
много
y displaying signs of mental
illness here. Certain ‘devils’ even foresh
adow the extended hallucination of Ivan
Karamazov: one appears as an aged seminarian, while another attempts to
ogin; while he himself admits, much as Ivan’s devil
will acknowledge: ‘
мог
маске
успокойтесь
[…]
believe in their reality.’
This omitted material reveals that Stavr
ogin’s mental instability is even more
complex: his hallucinations assume differe
These regular appearances of tormenting neur
oses in the manifestation of evil or his
evil deeds, and Stavrogin’s seeming hopele
ssness of psychic release from them,
indicate that madness a
they instil in Ippolit. His visions come to
him in the form he dreads most: that of the
ruthlessness, the imperviousness to human de
sire, the inflexibility to the point of
seeming malice of the laws of nature’
taken place while at home in a state of fe
ver and delirium, symptoms of his chronic
consumption. They are influenced by his vi
body taken down from the cross, a harshly re
the human body which suggests to Ippo
made all the more vivid to Ippolit in his ch
ronically ill state, then becomes embodied
in a horrifying form as he lies thinking about it:
Ibid., p. 487
Monas, ‘Across the threshold’, in Jones and Terry, p. 82
118
вижу
эту
бесконечную
силу
глухое
существо
помню
будто
руку
руках
какого
отвратительного
тарантула
меня
существо
моим
This is another manifestation of the existential
Ippolit later proves that it could not have
been possible for Rogozhin to gain access
to his room and leave again that night. It
must be added here th
Rogozhin never seems fully embodied in the text of
Leonard J. Kent,
The Subconscious in Gogol’ and Do
stoevskij, and its Antecedents
, Mouton, The
Hague, 1969, p. 170
119
Dalton, pp. 83-84
Ibid., p. 149
120
suicide, his very intention proves that these
hallucinations have the most profound visi
ble effect on a character of any in
Dostoevskii’s works.
Sarah Hudspith,
Dostoevsky and the Idea of Russianness – A new perspective on unity and
brotherhood
, RoutledgeCurzon, London and New York, 2004, p. 122
121
in his mind that coalesce into the psychic
Joseph Frank,
122
catching colds – ‘
белоручек
…но мало-помалу с обеднением
’ (15:70-71) – much like
Stavrogin’s prosaic devil in the omitted section of
firmly in the quotidian reality of ordinary
existence,’ writes Frank, ‘while he remains
a supernatural Satan at the same time.’
Ibid., p. 554
Victor Terras,
A Karamazov Companion – Commentary on the Genesis, Language, and Style of
Dostoevsky’s Novel
, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1981, p. 385 n.290
F. F. Seeley, ‘Ivan Karamazov’, in Jones and Terry, p. 126
‘I am Satan [instead of ‘I am a man’], nothing human is alien to me.’
123
indeed does harbour spiritual faith. Among
condemned to walk a quadrillion miles in
the afterlife, which hides Ivan’s longing
for faith when he was an impressionable 17-ye
through his ‘devil’, Dostoevskii implies th
that of the Grand Inquisitor, thus pres
enting a ‘metaphysical condemnation of his
ry own ideas naive and distasteful as
they are presented to him. The devil becomes
of Ivan’s earlier intell
that ultimate embodiment of rational humanism, the Grand Inquisitor. In
compelled to recognise all this ... But
As if to highlight the depth of Ivan’s ow
n illness, his psychic projection has serious
issues with its own existence. It is after a
ll, not a satanic figure, but instead a chaotic
composite of Ivan’s rationalism, his ‘
карамазовщина
The devil is therefore depicted as suffe
ring some sort of identity crisis: ‘
уравнении
позабыл
Ivan tries to remain resolu
his fragile mental state,
угадываю
что
…Ты моя галлюцинация. Ты воплощение меня
чувств
гадких
глупых
r later confirms: ‘
безумие
окончательно
e more Ivan starts to lose control: ‘
(15:77), he screams. The devil then teases
Ivan by telling him his own dreams, to
Terras,
A Karamazov Companion
, p. 52
W. J. Leatherbarrow,
Fyodor Dostoyevsky:
The Brothers Karamazov, Cambridge University Press,
1992, p. 56
124
make Ivan deny his existence even more, and
then relates Ivan’s ultimate theory of
Геологический
’. In this story, man rejects God a
Frank,
125
can no longer refuse to understand what he has been telling himself through the devil
torments of his moral conscience.’

Frank,
126
personification of self-criticism: ‘
судит
скупится
осуждение
исключая
болезненно
осудить
персонифицировать
This ‘objectivised’ self-criticism does provi
he goes on to convey at the trial of Dmitrii fo
дозволено
ath, all other men are equally guilty, for
enough, through their sense of hate. …
Since all men are guilty, all are
responsible for the sins of their brothers. Since all si
Another and more poignant insight lead
s from the moral point: if all men
hate, there still exists the potential fo
r love. Since all men sin, there exist
heights from which they fall.
n from Ivan’s experience – though these are
not apparent as he is led away from
the courtroom following his crazed testimony
and apparent acceptance that it was in fact
he who killed his father. Despite their
come at a steep price to his mental
health.
as the summation of Dostoevskii’s
employment of fantastic realism:
was to provide this thematic
religious-philosophical dimension by
transforming Ivan’s doubts about
Характерология
Достоевского
Типология
эмоционально
ценностных
ориентаций
Москва
, 1996, p. 64
Barksdale, pp. 146-47
Frank,
127
What is key in these moments, according to
Miller, is ‘the read
er’s hesitation about
how to categorize certain events.
… do they fit within the confines
conceive it, or are they moment
s of fantasy, of the marvellous?
Dostoevsky, like other practitioners of the fantastic, counts precisely
state of ‘fantastic realism’ – to
momentarily, one’s
sense of the nature of reality.
ss of Dostoevskii’s realism, leading the
reader alternately between belief and disbel
of Ivan Karamazov and the devil cannot
, suggests the whole episode may well have
been a dream: the towel Ivan uses as a cold compress at the beginning of his
smashed. Perhaps Ivan’s impending schizophr
his ‘primary’ hallucination of
within a hallucination as
threw the glass.
What is clear is that Ivan Karamazov’s ‘
is experiencing subconscious images while
Worlds of the Novel
128
Dostoevsky is indicating … that the
semblance of health and stability
offered by an emphasis on all that is not
spiritual, that is, the intellect and
worlds are dismembered from the whole and become tormenting instead
lative scarcity of docum
earliest account of a waking subconscious expe
at the beginning of his story ‘
Мужик
’ in the
of February 1876. He recalls that, as a boy, he was exploring the
уже
Потом
This, therefore, would not appear to be an
isolated occasion. It is difficult, however,
Hudspith, p. 124
Мочульский
, p. 512
129
e imaginary, the fear of
being caught – by the wolf (in Dostoevs
This episode is also integral to arguably
life. For it is in remembering the old Ma
rei’s kind, comforting words to him as a
a Siberian convict came to a deeper understanding of the
fundamentally loving, Christian spirit of
regenerate his ideals and beliefs and rema
in with him for the rest of his life.
Therefore, we can posit that subconsci
ous phenomena are at least perceived by
became more prevalent in the 1840s, and
were symptoms of the ‘nervous illness’
that many have regarded as a forerunning
ailment to his epilepsy. Aleksandr E
gorovich Riesenkampf, a doctor who once
кажется
будто
d the doctor Stepan Dmitrievich Ianovskii
when his illness appeared to be growing wo
rse and his hallucinations more frequent.
The doctor, who soon became a good fr
symptoms – ‘
кажется
голову
мутило
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 1, p. 183
Ibid., p. 232
130
сижу
расстроиваются
ation in Dresden’s Russian consulate on
June 16, 1867, according to Anna Grigor’evna: ‘
вдруг
вдруг
Anna virtually glosses over this almost
husband witnessing such things; and the simp
he had had an argument with a consulate
hallucination may have been a projected form
of wish fulfilment, of a desire to have
his brother near while he remained
in self-imposed exile in Europe.
Достоевская
1867
года
Наука
», 1993, pp. 105-06
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 1, p. 239
131
It was a combination of this thirst for
knowledge, an acquaintance with medical texts
realistic hallucinatory
Ivan’s ‘conversation’ with a devil. On
Русский
, Nikolai Alekseevich Liubimov,
Kolb and Whishaw, p. 476
132
Ivan may have suffered such an attack and, already sitting, did not fall over. The rest
of the episode may indeed have been a waking form of REM dream imagery from
ed his own, imagined interjections. In
In
Семинарий
Достоевскому
, p. 57
133
In introducing the aspect of split personality
(or multiple personality disorder), it is
that is most commonly associated with the concept of madness.’
While many of
the symptoms are similar – such as speaki
ng to oneself, abnormal sleeping patterns,
and the blurring of imagination and per
ception – ultimately, schizophrenics assume
identities
, whereas in multiple personality di
own
is assumed. The former often takes cues from other
individuals, whereas, in the latter, characte
r traits that are often latent or more
normally suppressed are made manifest.
However, the conditions are similar and, to
become a secondary condition to the other.
Hallucinations are a common symptom in
both. Of multiple/split personality, Weston la Barre writes:
In this dissociative state, two or
more distinct, ind
eed contrastive,
personalities seem alternately to ‘t
ake possession’ of the conscious mind.
… ‘possession’ is not so much inva
overwhelming of conscious ego function by ego-alien primary process
mentation, a sort of stylized REM-
The multiple or split personality sufferer, then, is prey to his subconscious desires
uppressed. These come to the
fore and the character changes. In extrem
e cases, as is the case with Goliadkin in
to be part of himself:
The late eminent psychologist R. D.
John P. J. Pinel,
Biopsychology
, Allyn & Bacon, Boston, 2003, p. 462
James W. Kalat,
Biological Psychology
, Brooks/Cole, 1998, p. 430
La Barre, ‘Anthropological perspectives’, in Siegel and West, p. 17
134
two, producing a disembodied self and a
at, regarding it at times as though it
world. The total body and also many
‘mental’ processes are severed from
the self, which may continue to
operate in a very restricted enclav
R. D. Laing,
The Divided Self – An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness
, Penguin, 1990, p. 162
Ibid., p. 69
Ibid., p. 74
135
becomes evident when the impersonation begins to turn
caricature
Ibid., pp. 100-01
Ibid., p. 77
Ibid., pp. 161-62
L. Kohlberg, ‘Psychological Analysis and Literary Form: A Study of the Doubles in Dostoevsky’,
Daedalus
, 1963, vol 92, 345-62
136
may, instead, be purely due to literary insp
iration, as some of his favourite authors
onsequently used the motif of the double in
The motif in fact
stretches back into antiquity (Plautus’s
, c.220BC) and has made not
scious power of witnessing, and even
communicating with, a perfect double. Wh
ile the psychological arguments are
convincing, the manifestation of the
in the extreme split personality
ity. A double may already exist
within the mind of each of us
onstrued in two principal ways with respect to imagery
er a self-contained dream text
, or it details Goliadkin’s
multiple personality disorder and the gradual degeneration of his mind and grip on
manifestation of Goliadkin’s subconscious
See Malcolm V. Jones,
Dostoyevsky after Bakhtin – Readings in
Dostoyevsky’s Fantastic Realism
Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 39-40
137
extent to which he reveals the fundamental
, p. 368
138
The manner in which Goliadkin junior re
139
easily, wins possession of some important
documents to be taken to the office of
the department head Andrei Filippovich,
essly, making no attempt to win them back,
or at least demand an expl
месту
руках
будто
приготовляясь
This inability to act, to stand up for himsel
ry rarely does he try to amend matters, and
even when he does so it seems clear that
caught. On one of the rare occasions when he confronts Goliadkin junior, the latter
Шалишь
Петрович
будем
Петрович
.’ (1:167) This is a rare di
undermine Goliadkin while eluding him. The
psychic projection of his disembodied
self is always one step ahead of him, and is
Half-heartedness is indeed a major r
140
Ultimately, Goliadkin cannot grasp the psycholo
gical magnitude of the appearance of
e’s position. Whenever he begins to
approach understanding he gives up, either
because he is unconsciously too scared of
the truth or because he doesn’t have the
will to pursue that train of thought. This
inability to communicate with this other,
projected personality ultimately means that
a reconciliation of the two personalities on a
This is fully confirmed in the two Goliadk
a final attempt at reconcilia
tion. This ends not just in failure, but humiliation. In their
communicate effectively with his double
s of his character. He stumbles over his
words, is naïve, gullible and submissive
is brought to a fitting end when Goliadkin
junior abruptly insults the other and
leaves. Goliadkin follows him onto his drozhk
another struggle for the mind, wh
Голядкин
как
нибудь
протестовать
случаю
было
делом
from the drozhki.
Goliadkin’s descent into insanity then increa
singly gathers pace, as he flees aimlessly
141
, pp. 179-81
142
His fear that he will not be recognis
ed as a human being, that people will
ambitious failures of his day also descende
Kravchenko, p. 32
Ibid.
143
Frank,
144
impossibility of asserting himself as an individual without violating the morality that
has been bred into his bones and which keeps him in submission.’
The motif of the double as a symbol of so
Frank,
The Seeds of Revolt
, p. 307
Валериан
Майков
опыты
(1845-1847)
Литературы
Петербург
, 1891, p. 327
145
his superiors. The question which Dostoevsky is posing here seems to be,
What is reality? Is it their idea of
himself?
Quite rightly, Pachmuss concludes that ‘“real
reality” lies in the
Golyadkin’s mind’, and not in the ac
Pachmuss, pp. 24-25
Ibid., p. 25. Nevertheless, Pachmuss, perhap
s simplistically, regards most of the action of
as a dream.
R. D. Laing,
Self and Others
, Tavistock, 1969, p. 115
146
ented on. On Goliadkin’s influence on later
characters, Frank writes that
Frank,
The Seeds of Revolt
, p. 311
Ibid.
Frank,
The Stir of Liberation
, p. 70
147
eventually found its way into his works of the time, including
. With the help of his double, Goliadkin was to have
joined a revolutionary circle, similar to
the one Dostoevskii had been a part of. A
Мечты
русского
Либерализм
bears striking similarities to Raskol’nikov’s apocalyptic
голову
существа
будет
упраздено
друга
улице
Обеспечивают
копейку
Karamazov – both of which display a form
verging on a split personality. Although Ivan’s ‘devil’ has been defined as a
hallucination, it is still a product of the char
acter’s mental instability; and while the
devil may not be an exact
of Ivan, it does display and ultimately
represent, like Goliadkin junior, many
The only mention of a mental illness in th
e author similar to Goliadkin’s can be
148
149
to these events to grasp their meani
Rice, p. 20
Ibid., p. 146
150
suf’evna. It is in the gulf
Frank,
The Seeds of Revolt
, p. 301
Ibid.
151
Because the fantasy or inner-self has ex
isted in an isolated state it has not
been tempered by reality testing. It
is often heroic, grandiose, and
possessed of great powers; destructive fantasies run to extremes. While
such a divided state of existence evol
equilibrium in two ways. First, people
attachment to others; wit
hdrawal into a fantasy world eventually leads to
e our rather amazing capacity for
we are also motivated
individual is impelled both to maintain his split existence and to heal it
Even though Dostoevskii’s ambitions for litera
ry success mark out his desire to also
become an ‘all-conquering hero’ like Goliadki
n, his timidity persis
following the resounding success of
Бедные
Dostoevskii found that fame did not automatically mean he became a ‘hero’; in fact,
Breger, p. 113
Ibid., p. 114
152
to act in the world go awry, he
becomes more defensive. Instead of
learning from his mistakes he is
more threatened and blames
sed, so did the cynicism of his supposed
peers’ manipulative put-downs. The author’s
long-cherished dream rapidly turned
into a nightmare as his uncontrollable inner
rage made him the object of even greater
ridicule. Belinskii’s ultimate denunciation of
Ibid., p. 124
Frank,
The Seeds of Revolt
, p. 298
153
Furthermore, the episode ends happily for Devushkin, who in private receives a
substantial gift fr
om his superior.
There is also the case of Dostoevskii’s curi
154
transformed into understandable
public communications. This was a
himself into contact with
extreme and ridiculous aspects of
Golyadkin, he gained some distance
and objectivity – some insight – into his own related difficulties.
Particular mention must also be made
al memoirs were reviewed in
Отечественные
around the same time Dostoevskii was drafting
падучая
’, claimed that his double had appeared to him
regularly in his youth until the age of 22. S
hortly after the journa
of the memoirs (written by someone Dostoe
m,’ Rice writes. Perhaps Dostoevskii
-invented him in the ch
Breger, p. 126
Rice, pp. 247-251
155
While in reality opinions on dreams (
156
These messages from the subconscious are therefore presented to the reader ‘loaded’
Dalton, p. 8
Fanger, p. 220
O’Flaherty, p. 222
157
iological substrate of memory,
thought, imagination, and fantasy. …
influence on memory traces is
flow of information, both new and
patterns whereby sensory engrams are
woven into images, fantasies, dreams,
hallucinations, and also emotions
associated with these patterns. Thus we
and psychodynamic factors would be of
Louis Jolyon West, ‘A Clinical
and Theoretical Overview of Hallu
cinatory Phenomena’, in Siegel
and West, pp. 299-300
158
Of all the dreams to be found in Dostoevski
i’s works, perhaps the most famous, and
certainly the most dissected by
болезненный
beaten mare in
. It has been extensively analysed for a
rm one of the strongest, most memorable
Dostoevskii himself highlights the signifi
cance of the dream by deliberately framing
subconscious. One method of framing he uses
gives the dream a directness and immediac
y. More obviously, the passage is prefaced
eams such as Raskol’nikov’s, and in doing
so prepares the reader for what is about to come.
Jackson,
The Art of Dostoevsky
, p. 198
Ibid.
159
становится
The dream, then, also charts Ra
Such vivid dreams seem to have a life of
their own, acting like a parasite or a
possessing spirit towards the host organism,
the dreamer, who has li
ttle control over
is moment, on the threshold of crime,
such a dream can have a similarly powerful
ual account would never have the same
immediacy as the dream expe
rienced first-hand, the dream of the beaten mare is
is all the more awful for Raskol’nikov
meanings consciously, obviously harbours
Katz, p. 95
Jackson,
The Art of Dostoevsky
, p. 200
Nathalie Babel Brown,
Hugo & Dostoevsky
, Ardis, Ann Arbor, 1978, p. 97
160
Breger, p. 31
Ruth Mortimer, ‘Dostoevski and the Dream,’ in
Modern Philology
, vol. 54 (1956-1957),
University of Chicago
Press, Chicago, 106-16
Иванов
Достоевский
трагедия
мистика
’, in
Собрание
сочинений
Брюссель
, 1987, p. 537
161
would be killing himself too’
Raskol’nikov comes to recognise
during his confession to Sonia: ‘
старушонку
убил
убил
старушонку
Тут
ухлопал
!’ (6:322) The horse, adds Ivanov, also symbolises the downtrodden and
stoevskii’s universe – such as Sonia and her family, the
Philip Rahv, ‘Dostoevsky in
Crime and Punishment
’, in Rene Wellek (ed.),
Dostoevsky – A
Collection of Critical Essays
, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1962, p. 18
Jackson,
The Art of Dostoevsky
, p. 202
Robert Louis Jackson, ‘ Philosophical Pro and Contra in Part One of
Crime and Punishment
’, in
Robert Louis Jackson (ed.),
162
and particularly Ivan Karamazov show, r
eal psychological damage can occur when
the ‘moral absolute’ is always demanded.
Raskol’nikov’s second prominent
a masterful subconscious expression of the
murderer’s guilt. It displays a very different technique from the dream of the beaten
mare: where that was definitively framed
by the reality of the text, here dream and
reality seamlessly merge into a decidedly di
Shaw, ‘Raskol’nikov’s Dreams’, pp. 137-38
163
Raskol’nikov’s guilt is symbolised in vari
ous ways in the dream. The first to be
portrayed is the dense, almost palpable atmosphere: ‘
Сумерки
сгущались
…особенно душно было в воздухе
…пахло известью, пылью, стоячею водой.’ (6:212) The effect, combined w
mirroring the rising suffocation of Raskol’ni
kov’s guilt in his increasingly untenable
position which must naturally lead
This atmosphere is intensified by a number
of accusing witnesses to his deed in the
Antony Johae has pointed out how this ‘respiratory constriction’ may also reveal a lung complaint
in the dreamer. This, in turn, may echo Dostoevskii’
s own encroaching, ultimately fatal, emphysema.
Joahe adds that ‘sufferers of lung diseases frequently dream of being suffocated, of being trapped in a
crowd and fleeing’, and this is certainly evident in
the dream’s end, when Raskol’nikov tries to fight
his way through an onlooking crowd. (‘Expressive symbols in Dostoevsky’s
Crime and Punishment
’,
p. 18)
Catteau, p. 406
Волшебная
Достоевского
Хозяйка
164
ions in his dream, as if to witness the
murder and judge him accordingly. Their
almost unbearable silence again speaks
volumes in the oppressive atmosphere of the dream: ‘
бросился
бежать
уже
людей
туда
ждут
молчат
Johae, paraphrasing Freud, presents a simple
, p. 290
Johae, ‘Expressive symbols in Dostoevsky’s
Crime and Punishment
’, pp. 17-18
Mortimer, ‘Dostoevski and the Dream’, p. 113
165
’, according to Bakhtin
grimly ridiculous in the very notion that
onlookers. The crowd also has an antecedent in Ordynov’s dream of ‘
’ whispering in the dark corners of his room in ‘
The ultimate effect is to highlight the
horror of Raskol’nikov’s actions and their
consequences: the dream is an active reminder of his awful guilt, and a subconscious
preventative to Raskol’nikov’s attempts to
death of the mare, this dream
displays the futility of
that theory – and its failure: ‘He had murder
become one of the “great men” w
, p. 290
Frank,
The Miraculous Years
, p. 128
, p. 290
Catteau, p. 440
Brown, p. 142
Мочульский
, p. 251
166
aims to be. According to Frank, ‘Svidriga
ilov mirrors the elemental thrust of that
egoism which, concentrated in Raskolnikov’
s monomania, had ultimately led to the
Raskolnikov as someone who has
accepted
thoroughgoing egoistic amorality which… he
[Raskol’nikov] had unwittingly been
striving to incarnate himself.’
not constrained by the fears and weaknesses of those made of flesh and
blood; Svidrigailov is meant to be su
ch a creature. He is not so much
immoral as he is amoral, he has no c
of equal value – or lack of value – to him.
of which, it seems, have resulted in deat
h. Svidrigailov affirms their similarities as
’ (6:221).
shows he has failed to fulfil his
transgression, Svidrigailov seems
Dostoevskii times the introduction of Svidri
rstly in the dream, and then
by juxtaposing Raskol’nikov
e same time as Svidrigailov shoots himself, Raskol’nikov
is himself contemplating throwing himself into the Neva.
the mare and cannot kill the
pawnbroker a second time. He may
have transgressed once, but it tears him apar
t with guilt. His conscience, manifest in
Frank,
The Miraculous Years
, p. 129
Breger, p. 43
Until, that is, the
кошмар
-filled night before his suicide, of which more later.
167
168
is, like ‘
’, an extended dream episode and/or hallucination,
драматизация
содержания
. But, as
, the absence of any established objective
reality in the text is problematic when di
scussing the impact of subconscious imagery
Dunia, and even has his own dreams. So
by the time Dostoevskii began writing
муж
, he surely realised the
echo subconscious themes, without having
Развертывание
Достоевского
)’, in
Достоевский
Психоаналитическые
этюды
, p. 59
Frank,
The Miraculous Years
, p. 386
169
лестницу
.’ (9:98) But in this instance the threat to Vel’chaninov’s life is real, as he
him with a razor. Ve
his guilt, manifest in his dreams, seems justified – for the cause of this guilt almost
kills him.
This is, then, a warning dream
threat is mirrored,
Vel’chaninov may already have a strong
imminent physical threat to himself. The
in his first dream of Trus
otskii, and being a reminder
170
Dalton, going further, believes the dream recalls the ‘primal scene’ of the child for the first time
171
ns its sense of terror by humanising its
image.
Ippolit cannot accept that life has handed him su
ch a hard lot as to afflict him with
rmenting, mocking visions of nature’s
supremacy. ‘He wants to know who has sent
the scorpion to him,’ Roger Anderson
writes, ‘just as he demands to know why natu
re has granted him so
much potential in
life, only literally to “consume” him through tuberculosis.’
are either the obliv
from his apartment, or subconscious terror,
которая
формы
унизило
тарантула
suicide is an act of rebellion against na
ture. ‘For Ippolit, the world mocks man;
humanity is placed within nature only to
therefore, that his own life in such a
world must be short and based on his own
Ippolit’s subconscious images of fear are
Anderson, p. 86
Slattery, pp. 152-53
172
thematically’
Shaw, ‘Raskol’nikov’s Dreams’, p. 140
Yury F. Karyakin, ‘Toward Regeneration’, in Jackson (ed.),
173
socially benevolent consequences. On the c
Frank,
The Miraculous Years
, pp. 145-46
Katz, pp. 104-05
Mortimer, ‘Dostoevski and the Dream’, p. 114
Katz, p. 105
174
зачем

уже
сердцах
какое
убийца
мечтать
’ is given as Raskol’nikov’s major reason
have an undeniably powerful effect on the character experiencing them.
Upon waking, the dreamer often has a sense of resolution, as if some worrying
problem has been solved by the dream, or a ne
dreamer. In turn, such dreams can mark a
significant turning
Some of these dreams are themselves warnings: Raskol’nikov’s dream of the beaten
mare, for example, displays the rejuvena
ting, healing, cathartic power of dreams:
вдруг
почувствовал
уже
душе
стало
вдруг
легко
…&#x/MCI; 12;&#x 000;&#x/MCI; 12;&#x 000;[…] Точно нарыв на сердце его, нарывавший весь месяц, вдруг
! (6:50)
The dream temporarily ‘cures’ Raskol’nikov of his
feels battered as if he himself has taken a
with the victim at this moment. This subs
equently leads him to realise the horror of
a moment of clarity which,
like the figure of the child
175
Raskol’nikov is communicated subconsci
subconscious reveals both to the dreamer and to the reader the “real” Raskolnikov –
the child who feels compassion for the victim
as well as hostility for the victimizer,
Svidrigailov’s
lead to a resolution: his suicide. While the
dignified rejection of him, his dreams offe
They are presented in a series of differe
nt layers in which reality seems to be
nother awakening. ‘Dostoevsky maintains an
Ibid., p. 98
Johnson, p. 101
176
Reference is repeatedly made to
the candle in Svidrigajlov’s room. …
This candle turns up at those moment
s when Svidrigajlov seems to have
regained consciousness. It seems to
Ibid., pp. 101-02
177
at its deepest level, forces him to take
stock of his own life with the image of th
e ultimate revelation of his
own self mirrored in the lewd smile of a five-year-old Camille.’
’ (6:389) – his dreams and reality in
sweat, but with the incessant rain which cau
молочный
густой
туман
the morning. It is in this
rising floodwater that the ‘cellar rats’ of
his past ‘swim out of his subconscious in
various dreams.’
would, ultimately, sexually objectify a young ch
ild – has now become palpable in
various forms of water, and it is ever
ywhere, surrounding and suffocating him. The
image of the child-whore presents itself
as the horrifying, ultimate summation of
the first time sensuality, his iconic
attribute, his disease, as Raskolnikov ha
s called it, occasions revulsion – from this
Upon awakening to the text’s objective reality, Svidrigailov seems more calmly
Ibid., pp. 102-03
178
turns into the corruption of
unashamed vice. With this
damnation, Svidrigailov shoots himself’
Instead of going to America – where, despit
contains more powerful dreams th
power. Father Zosima himself, who embodies
er of dreams. He says to
a woman mourning for her young son: ‘
One of the most momentous dreams in Dostoe
vskii’s fiction in terms of its effect on
character is Alesha’s vision
of Christ’s first miracle, in which the now-dead Zosima
appears. Thrown into emotional turmoil by the rapid decay of his holy mentor’s
body, Alesha faces a strong challenge to his
faith and is tempted by the wily Rakitin
луковку
какую
нибудь
только
unselfish love hidden in the human
conscience’
Frank,
The Miraculous Years
, p. 140
Frank,
179
будет
уходить
хрустальная
has been so rocked by the ‘
дух
of Zosima’s body, sees the road to salvation ahead of him, a road which he was in
danger of straying from by following Rakitin into a ‘
The scene then changes to the wedding feast at
Panichas, p. 177
180
sion in his dream seems to
Barksdale, p. 144
Путролайнен
Мотив
романе
Достоевского
Карамазовы
»,’
Studia Slavica, I, 1999, 43-49
181
Alesha soon after leaves the monastery
to experience the full spectrum of life’s
challenges, as was Zosima’s wish for him.
is truly a life-changing moment; a
and seen the salvation that
‘For Alyosha this mystical experience has
as its media vision and voice, supersensual
ing man’s finite being, his “seeing self”,
the spirit of Father Zosima has
become re-embodied within Alesha.
rarely mentioned. It is Alesha’s initial subconscious descent into deep, almost
meditative prayer that initiates the sequen
ce of events, and so, in this passage,
A similarly cathartic experience is had by
Alesha’s brother Dmitrii in his dream of
’, although it is much less romantically
See appendix.
Panichas, p. 178
Frank,
182
чувствует
умиление
плакало
…чтоб не было
минуты
…со всем безудержем
ich, in Viacheslav Ivanov’s mind, is ‘
земле
His dream then indicates, like Alesha’s, a
destined to tread with Grushen’ka, whose voice he hears in
the dream; ‘
путь
зовущему
свету
скорее
’ of Christ in Alesha’s dream, a fina
l, prosperous ideal towards which men
must strive. For Dmitrii, the first step on
this path is to accept his guilt for his
egotism, of not caring for others, of leadi
to Frank, ‘a dream crystalliz
ing the moral conversion that
has taken place within him as a result of all his “torments”.’
nge in his demeanour. As he agrees to
sign the declaration transcript he turns to
tigating his father’s
странно
Иванов
Достоевский
трагедия
’, in
Собрание
сочинений
, 4, p. 544
Ibid., p. 659
183
Потому
все
.’ (15:31) This sentiment, one of
whole, is the core of Dmitrii’s dream
Phyllis Berdt Kenevan, ‘Rebirth and the Cognitive Dream: From Dostoevski to Hermann Hesse
and C. G. Jung’, in Alexej Ugrinsky, Frank S. Lambasa and Valija K. Ozolins (eds.),
Dostoevski and
the Human Condition After a Century
, Greenwood Press, Westport, 1986, p. 184
Barksdale, p. 145
184
important turning points in the texts and
highlight many of the author’s overriding
themes for the work as a whole. As Katz
says: ‘It is always the experiential dream
emerging from the subconscious that contai
ns the truth that must eventually be
recognised and implemented in the characters’ lives.’
Barksdale agrees:
‘Dostoevsky’s realism is centrally concerne
d with the role of dreams and visions in
gaining a new orientation toward reality.’
work features a recurring
es its importance. These dreams of the
similar in imagery. This is partly becaus
e the first in the series forms part of
Stavrogin’s ‘confession’ to Bishop Ti
censors and therefore did not form part of the final text of
dream’s importance to Dostoevskii is highlight
eed to include this
dream somewhere in his published work, and
therefore a strikingly similar vision to
Stavrogin’s appears as
Versilov’s dream in
Подросток
(1874). The ultimate
Сон
смешного
well as affording insights into the respective dreamer, all three also afford varying
insights into human psychology in general, tapping into the mythical, subconscious
nkind’s collective experience.
Stavrogin’s is the most intensely personal of
the three Golden Age dreams. It is an
character and the reader. If
lished, his character remains impassive,
Katz, p. 116
Barksdale, p. 142
185
In character, Stavrogin is probably mo
st akin to Lermontov’s Pechorin in
нашего
времени
(1839).
Nancy K. Anderson,
The Perverted Ideal in Dostoevsky’s
186
Due to Stavrogin’s mask of impassiveness in reality, it seems almost logical that he
Ibid., pp. 108-09
Richard Peace,
Dostoyevsky – An Examination of the Major Novels
, Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge, 1971, p. 177
187
Only the vision of a Golden Age, symbol of man’s supreme beauty and
In Versilov’s dream, Stavrogin’s mythical
imagined future utopia, ‘
[…]
человечества
сходили
роднились
век
которую
люди
жизнь
силы
умирали
убивались
могут
Like Stavrogin’s dream, emphasis is given
to mankind’s striving for this ideal, while
ng its impossibility. Such a paradox is
profoundly human, a fact that touches Versilov
as much as it did St
awakes with tears in his eyes: ‘
счастья
from his dream. As Stavrogin saw the ti
But it is not his own; it is instead a
premonition of apocalypse: ‘
человечества
обратилось
проснулся
наяву
сонце
последнего
человечества
слышался
как
vilisation in his dream, Vers
ope before he experienced this dream in a
188
German hotel, and muses: ‘
была
…И это потому
…что один я, как русский
русскую
dream, Versilov is a voyeur of European
ambitions and values. His dream portrays
the intended ideal of those values, but hi
realisation of the
probable outcome. Instead of co-exist
ing with gods who have descended from
heaven to mingle with men (‘
contemporary European man has sought to
indeed sought to become like God and have
the intended paradise all to themselves.
rld that is the final
outcome of the inexorable European pro
be, in its own way, a Golden Age, but one stemming from profane rather than sacred
In Versilov’s view, European man’s ‘
der to Europe, he would like to perceive
himself as a guardian of this ideal – as he says, ‘
высшая
русская
’ (13:375). So he therefore become
s, in the spirit of his dream,
’ in Europe. This thinking is
llectualism and his belief in the spiritual
The dream also allows the reader to dis
a humanist, as he portrays himself. As
Frank points out, he defines himself as a ‘philosophical deist’, not an
atheist, and this
ous longing that remains an
vitally active personal relationship with the sacred.’
Panichas is most direct in his
assessment of Versilov as an agnostic humanist:
Can there be love without God? … Ve
it in the affirmative; he wants to,
but ultimately cannot, and he knows he
cannot. … His humanist creed, like his
and incertitude, by its own futile exaggeration of the human prospect. It
Frank,
189
is a ‘fantasy’, he admits, and the
humanist dilemma is immediately, and
for all time, crystallized in his admission.’
Through his dream, he comes to question the ve
life. His moral dilemma becomes more a
nd more evident in his conscious life
Подросток
, when he begins to show signs of a split personality.
The dream, which seems to cause this neuros
spirituality brings, as much as it highlights the need for
God in man in general. It
also highlights other distinct traits of universal human
psychology: mankind’s striving to the im
followed by the warping of this aim for
mankind’s own ends; the will to power;
bickering, argument, war.
These themes are built upon in ‘
’, in many ways the
ultimate conclusion of this ‘Golden Age’. Dreamed at a time when he is considering
suicide, the
sees the ‘Ridiculous Man’ actually transported to this paradise.
remain a mere voyeur but becomes an
Panichas, pp. 139-40
190
казалось
друг
другом
друг
друга
всеобщая
It is this total, uninhibited love that awakens a similar feeling in the Ridiculous Man
что
уже
предчувствовал
зовущею
предчувствовал
славу
ума
смотреть
заключалась
…()&#x/MCI; 3 ;&#x/MCI; 3 ;He has buried this love, or refused to accept it, until now, when he experiences it
fully in this dream. Dostoevskii implies here th
at this intuitive depth of feeling lies in
us all. For some it comes naturally, cons
ciously; others derive an inkling from
moments of beauty, like that
191
egoism and egoism gives rise to a world whose institutions express the
loss in reality of what man become
d been lost and the attempt to
re-create it artificially by self-conscious means.
Temira Pachmuss expresses this Fall
in terms of man’s natural dualism:
Frank,
192
As the only witness to remember the pe
Ridiculous Man attempts to become a Chri
suffers the same rejection as Christ did, his
message of a way to salvation is rejected
without these awaits every man in heave
n. Of his dream of earthly paradise, the
, p. 254. He adds that the tale takes the predominant form of menippean satire, ‘
жанра
последних
вопросов
мировоззрения
’, which are asked implicitly. ‘
развернутой
аргументации
очень
проявляется
способность
Достоевского
художественно
видеть
чувствовать
.’
193
Ridiculous Man affirms: ‘
пусть
the ultimate paradox of the Golden Age: th
at in the paradise towards which man
strives, man would no longer be man. It is a
mixture of virtues and faults that makes
humanity what it is.
From personal (Stavrogin) to Europe-wide (Versilov) to humanity-spanning (the
Ridiculous Man): these dreams offer
that the intense insight of all three of
these dreams are deeply cathartic to the dreamer. As
character who experiences an edenic visi
on emerges from the experience with an
in some way, is converted.’
xperienced after his dream, and he cries for
the first, and perhaps only time. At this
moment we see the man behind the impassive
mask. But the subsequent appearance of
guilt mechanism of his subconscious, and becomes a tormenting neurosis. It haunts
him every day, indeed he himself evokes it, a
nd it perhaps leads him to realise that he
will forever be denied happiness in life. Cons
equently, it must play a major factor in
dream, and this too is unusual for a character who is not ex
actly portrayed as
emotional. But this joy is again temper
civilisation has strayed from the ambition
of the Golden Age towards distinctly
uglier, human ideals of power.
esented as seemingly cold,
impassive characters, their language develops
Robin Feuer Miller, ‘Dostoevsky’s “The Dream
of a Ridiculous Man”: Unsealing the Generic
194
e unconscious’. Referring to Versil
Catteau, p. 324
Дмитрий
Чижевский
Достоевский
психолог
,’ in
Бем
(ed.),
Достоевском
сборник
статей
2, p. 61
Catteau, p. 377
Ibid., p. 381
195
If we are to embrace Catteau’s opinion of th
e Golden Age as a mythical aside to the
Jackson,
The Art of Dostoevsky
, p. 283
Ibid., p. 282
Frank,
196
желание
голова
emissaries directly from man’s soul.
It must also be noted that Dost
все
is also made manifest in this extended s
Man’s remorse over his dismissal of the poor gi
Jackson,
The Art of Dostoevsky
, p. 278
, p. 262
In his
писателя
of January 1876, Dostoevskii writes: ‘
счастье
счастье
лишь
достижении
скука
более
более
.’ (22:34)
197
Dostoevskii was a great believer in the
power of dreams, and often paid great
attention to their apparent message. It is
devoted much thought
to the origin of dreams, their purpose
passages where the narrator calls a halt to th
and ponder the nature of dreams. At these moments, the narrator even seems to be
One of the most notable instances of such
a narrative intrusion by the author comes
s dream of the beaten mare. As has been previously
mentioned, Dostoevskii highlights the si
framing it within the text, by using a shift to
the present tense,
Dostoevskii makes bold claims of this
literary dream, further highlighting its impor
болезненные
’, he seems to be praising his own technique of fantastic
realism, embodied in the dream
состоянии
выпуклостью
сходством
представления
такими
художественно
соответствующими
выдумать
сновидцу
будь
художник
Пушкин
уже
возбужденный
Such dreams may in fact be regarded as the pinnacle of Dostoevskii’s fantastic
realism, for, in their direct connection
something more indefinably elemental, mythical and primal. Raskol’nikov’s dream
plumbs the very depth of his psyche, dre
198
oevskii actually employs a
greater realism; a psychological realism
that invests his characters with life.
… had Dostoevsky put forward dream mate
incident of its tremendous power to
dream, the synthesis is uniquely a
a pure symbolization of his personal
dream he is about to describe; the read
into Raskol’nikov’s psyche, and becomes imme
Пушкин
Тургенев
links the form of
fantastic realism in this passage to the nove
l as a whole: ‘the fact is unmistakable:
this whole novel is like a bad dream, and th
Brown, p. 101
Fanger, p. 206
199
время
уже
существующее
существовавшее
вашем
сердце
будто
ожидаемое
вами
мучительное
заключается
it seems to jar with
en though Miller has pointed out in her extensive study of
many strata of narrative
not weave into these different modes like in
almost as if it is the author’s own testament.
He marvels at the malleability of logic in
dreams, of being at th
Robin Feuer Miller,
Dostoevsky and
The Idiot
– Author, Narrator, and Reader
, Harvard University
Press, Cambridge and London, 1981
Dalton, p. 8
200
This is again reiterated, to a lesser degree, in ‘
Ridiculous Man’s musings on the nature
of dreams before his actual dream
experience again seem to cross the narrative
201
субботы
между
упал
только
руками
закричал
прощай
тут
проснулся
случилось
субботы
успокоюсь
твоего
понедельник
мучительнице
большими
солдатскими
уже
мамочка
чуть
ума
Литературное
наследство
, 83, p. 467
202
ascertained from A
особенно
мне
значение
Мишу
особенности
несколько
спустя
наступила
смерть
тяжелый
нибудь
материальная
These dreams, of course, could be viewed as
the result, and cause, of inner torment
Достоевская
Воспоминания
Художественная
литература
Москва
, 1971, p. 75
203
Проснулся
заснул
указал
грудь
будто
какой
старуха
грудь
тут
Проснувшись
утром
часов
груди
которое
указывал
величной
чрезвычайная
щупать
больно
ушибленного
места
[presumably emphysema]
усиливаясь
Должно
минутку
припадки
In
Коншина
(ed.),
Записные
тетради
Достоевского
, Academia,
Москва
, 1935,
p. 65
Rice, pp. 102-03
204
Dostoevskii had this knowledge, its manifesta
tion in a dream is no less remarkable in
205
mania and their financial s
nd him the foreboding image of his father,
ужасном
preceding dream’s message: further gambling will lead to misery.
This time, happily, such warnings had thei
r intended effect and Dostoevskii heeded
their message. This was the last time he wa
206
делается
con amore,
изнуряла
действуя
работал
нужно
письма
горло
сутки
только
тяжело
часу
двух
It is clear that Dostoevskii’s symptoms are
See chapter 3 – ‘Dostoevskii’.
207
простудиться
208
rded experience to hold mu
premise as a genuine, prescient warn
ing dream seems decidedly unsteady.
The comparison of such warning dreams
however, is clear: many are just as vivi
209
жутко
…потом
заснул
Тарантул
другое
пренеприятное
пробуждениями
поутру
заснул
лучше
curring motif of spiders or
reptiles as a symbol of evil or despair in Do
stoevskii’s later works; indeed, it is even
used before, as early as
, to describe the monstrous
оскорбленные
, in which Prince Valkovskii is
паук
piccolo bestia
seems to be a curious real-life ech
тарантул
глухое
существо
nature’s tyranny over man.
Perhaps it is this coincidence that leads
spending a restless night in the same room as
210
Breger, p. 3
211
Dostoevskii gives such comment on this nightmarish image of
разумеется
русский
русским
кулачищем
между
жизнь
русским
фалдочки
мундира
офицерский
петербургские
душевно
духовно
мужика
может
…Ему вся Россия представлялась лишь в его начальстве, а всɺ, что кроме начальства, почти недостойно было существовать
душу
русский
уже
русский
начавший
чрезвычайно
It is clear from this passage that this
image continued to exert an influence on
nd of his life. In this passage, almost 40 years after the
scene was witnessed, he blames European va
lues as a major cause of the courier’s
he uses the image of th
contemporary maladies of the state. Despit
e the emancipation of the serfs, violence
towards and among peasants remains, as does its root causes.
забыть
многое
русском
народе
…Картинка
Тут
каждый
удар
скоту
удара
человеку
…&#x/MCI; 4 ;&#x/MCI; 4 ;[…] теперь не сорок лет назад, и курьеры не бьют народ, а народ, уже
удержав
суде
ведущих
фельдъегеря
зелено
As difficult as it may have been to admit for a believer in the Russian
God-bearing race, Dostoevskii cannot seem
to escape the notion that such brutalism
ts alike is an inherent Russian trait. Not only is this
here we can include the many ordinary
peasants-turned-murderers in
212
мое
!’ Even Dostoevskii’s embodiment of inherent
r’s muzhik Marei who appeared to him
in that moment of inspirational illumi
nation in the Siberian prison camp, is not
ality. One notebook passage from 1876, which
кормилицей
минуты
прорывается
хлестать
завязшую
кнутом
глазам
фельдъегеря
тут
Ivan Karamazov relates a similar
русизм
’ (14:219). This would seem like another example of
powerful testaments to the underlying brut
ality of contemporary Russia. In addition,
Dostoevskii seems to associate with every
character in the courier scene – even the
superior courier himself, as Dostoevskii grew up in a household with servants –
different figures in his dream.
noted in the dream of the beaten mare is the presence
laissez-faire
attitude among the witnesses to the scene, and particularly his
appearance in the dream
– the only occurrence in the novel when we are invited to ‘visualise’ him – can be
construed as a dark omen much in the same
of his own father in his own dreams.
Raskol’nikov’s dream certainly forebodes
disaster, and his father plays a central role
dragging his child away from the dead
Литературное
наследство
, 83, p. 416
213
Raskol’nikov’s demands for an explanation
of the peasants’ actions. Perhaps there is
русизм
’; but not even an attempt is made to placate the child.
Again, similarities can be drawn to Dostoe
vskii’s own position. The author may have
s father was forcing him and his brother
death, he, as the new head of the family, is
Раскольникова
упованием
судеб
тот
жертвуют
что
This, then,
consequently informs Raskol’nikov’s belief
‘Napoleon’, a god, because to a cert
ain degree he already is one.
Ibid., p. 62
Ibid., pp. 83-84
214
It must also be noted that th
e episode of the beaten mare
Arkadii Dolgorukii’s dreams of Versilov are the only other examples, and these are only mentioned
in passing.
215
Rice, p. 71. Rice adds: ‘On the most obvious level it bespeaks the self-exalting integration of an
ego threatened and fragment
ed by fear (of chronic epileptic seizures)’ – but this is far from ‘obvious’
in my mind.
Достоевская
Воспоминания
, p. 75
216
This would seem like a relatively straight
a dream, were it not
for the immediate circumstances: following
eam, the writer then
marriage proposal into the story, which A
Dostoevskii’s apartment later that
куда
жизнь
This last statement confirms one of two th
ings: that either Dostoevskii’s dream was
symbolically urging him to find this ‘
Ibid., p. 80
217
Charles Fourier. Although he ultimately
denounced these ideas as impractical, he
maintained they were, at heart, peaceful a
In
Бельчиков
Достоевский
петрашевцев
Наука
Москва
, 1971, p. 91
However, in his ‘explanation’, Dostoevskii wrote: ‘
политической
фурьеризм
реформа
экономическая
посягает
правительство
собственность
, p. 91) – making clear that Fourierism
was no threat to the tsarist system.
218
счастлив
знал
чувствовал
кругом
Пусть
день
думал
умру
останутся
останутся
так
друг
друга
Пусть
умру
прейдут
настанут
другие
спустя
будут
люди
пусть
потухнет
нибудь
man with or without religion and so too,
In
Долинин
(ed.),
Литературное
, 77,
Достоевский
работе
романом
Подросток
Наука
Москва
, 1965, p. 432-33
Ibid., p. 433
219
But it is interesting to note from these pa
ambiguity comes from an acquaintance,
the writer L. Kh. Simonova-Khokhriakova,
Versilov’s vision of a humani
stic Golden Age, was met
перегрызут
друг
друга
больше
In
Тюнькин
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 2, p. 345
Frank,
220
ous Russia with its Slavic
предназначение
’ by bringing peace
не бросится на Европу
мечом
ней
России
[…]
захватим
усилимся
…тем самым и получим
меча
собою
уже
международного
всеединения
бескорыстия
миру
достигнуть
преуспеяния
видим
самостоятельнейшем
других
другою
особенности
уделяя
сообщаясь
духом
уча
собою
…Да, мы тут
идею
мировое
’, would, in other words, usher in a Golden Age
of humanity. Such open assimilation, sh
ges later in the same issue of
221
Epilepsy is an illness that has been recognised for centuries but remains burdened by
common misconceptions. Historically linked
was known in ancient times as both the
and was connected to the demonic St V
ten misdiagnosed or
or equated with madness, ‘
падучая
’, as it was
known in Dostoevskii’s time, remains medi
cally enigmatic, and certainly incurable
famous epileptics of history, a claim he
222
patient engages in co
Pinel, pp. 138-39. The wave analogy is my own.
See Kolb and Whishaw, pp. 587-89; Pinel, pp. 248-49; and Rosenzweig, Breedlove & Leiman,
p. 74
Rice, p. 83
For a modern attested case, see F. C. V. Todesco Cirignotta & E. Lugaresi, ‘Temporal Lobe
Epilepsy with Ecstatic Seizures (So-Called Dostoevsky Epilepsy),’
Epilepsia
, 1980, vol. 21,
pp. 705-10. See also Rice, pp. 10, 49
223
They [Patients] may say, for example,
that they felt a gathering awe and
of emotions. A handful say that their
rather indescribable experiences made
them feel that they were connected
with an overwhelmingly powerful bei
e, they came in intimate contact
These extraordinarily intense sensations pl
ace the epileptic aura – despite the brevity
subconscious imagery for the purpose of this
thesis.
ilepsy, including prodromal, post-ictal and
inter-ictal phases, unites many other in
phenomena already
discussed: for example, dreamlike states and morbid fear. The former was clinically
, which also showed that epileptics were strongly disposed towards bouts of
nge phenomenon of the epileptic
own odd behaviour during such dreamlike
states. Other studies even reveal cases
showing how such a dreamlike state became
established as a permanent condition,
with patients becoming trapped in the
of dreamlike behaviour.
The dreamlike episodes of the pre- and post-
ictal stages are also common symptoms
petit mal
to the classic
The more benign
Patricia Smith Churchland,
Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy
, MIT Press, Cambridge MA,
2002, p. 385
‘On the scientific and empirical investigation of epilepsies’,
Medical Press and Circular
, 1, 1876.
For a synopsis of Jackson’s work, see Anne Harrington,
Medicine, Mind, and the Double Brain – A
224
personality change. Some scientists have
even linked such phenomena in temporal
lobe epilepsy to a large percentage
of habitually aggressive criminals.
Other inter-ictal symptoms of temporal
ve long known that a small
percentage of subjects with an epileptic focus in the temporal lobe are prone to be
hyperreligious. These same subjects may also
(they tend to write an unusual amount). Dostoyevsky is sometimes cited as one such
nd sudden mood swings were common
life. These are certainly sy
mptoms of damage to the
temporal lobe of the brain, which is ‘i
ntimately involved in
the experience of
emotion as well as playing its role in me
mory and perception. Like many temporal-
V. H. Mark and F. R. Ervin,
Violence and the Brain
, Harper & Row, New York, 1970; A. V.
Delgado-Escueta, R. H. Mattson, L. King, E. S. Go
225
pattern of epilepsy. This examination w
ill focus almost exclusively on the novel
pes of imagery covered by this thesis
is present, more so than in a
Despite the uncertainty over the timing of th
While the aura has been scientifically doc
umented almost universally as a negative
phenomenon, Dostoevskii’s treatment of it
describes it as an almost mystical connec
tivity to life on this plane and others. The
narrator of
describes Myshkin’s extraordinar
226
негаданное
чувство
?» […]
нибудь
опиума
унижающие
душу
несуществующие
? […]
одним
усилением
…и в то же время самоощущения
непосредственного
секунду
…ему случалось
успевать
момент
ments of blissful, all-encompassing harmony, absolutely
nothing else matters, making epilepsy seem like a blessing. These are incredibly
who have never experienced them. Indeed, th
sensation rather than vision, making it di
fficult to conceptualise. No amount of
medical reading by Dostoevskii could have le
Myshkin, through the descriptions of the narrat
ailment has been sent to him from God,
and indeed, almost gives access to Him –
’ from these moments, and
ch harmony. Life, he
is the message he tries to spread among his
227
Kent, p. 122
Dalton, p. 182
Ibid., p. 139
Rice, p. 289
Slattery, p. 104
228
лучше
истиной
to character here.
229
of his time in Switzerland. It follows, then, that Myshkin,
and crawls back into his ‘shell’.
Myshkin’s experiences of the ecstatic aura
can be said to be a microcosm of the
novel’s events, for each glimpse of the aura’s paradise must end in the unbearable
t-ictal phase: they are inseparable. Dennis
Slattery affirms that ‘the
prince cannot simply enjoy the flood of light without the
light and the onrushing darkness comprise
Slattery, p. 159
Frank,
The Miraculous Years
, p. 327
230
секунды
или
вдруг
чувствуете
присутствие
достигнутой
чувство
будто
вдруг
ощущаете
всю
вдруг
…это не умиление
уже
…Всего страшнее, что так ужасно
секунд
душа
исчезнуть
секунд
секунд
физически
Such a feeling of almost divine harmony is
problematic in discu
Kirillov, a supposed rational materialist who,
like most other members of the novel’s
insurrectionary cell, has been almost bulli
ed into his extreme convictions by their
231
with him over the wording of his suicide not
Kirillov shuts himself in his room to fi
checks on him, Kirillov attacks him, biting his
finger, as if in a primal means of self-
defence. While these actions are perhap
s understandable for a man on the brink of
suicide, many of these symptoms can also
be construed as prodromal or even related
to partial seizures: Kirill
ov’s pacing, paleness, delirium bordering on hysteria and his
primitive attack on Verkhovenskii all indi
cate this. The epileptic condition and
suicide converge to powerful, macabre, effec
t; it may even be conjectured that, when
igger, killing himself, he
the ecstatic aura, Myshkin, like any
epileptic, pays heavily with a post-ictal pha
se that can be physically and mentally

The line is taken from Revelation 10:6.
232
riod of ‘idiocy’ in Switzerland when he was treated for
experiences still take him back to this time: ‘
отупение
душевный
минут
расспрашивал
если
отупение
работал
While these temporary traits mirror the confusion and dreamlike automatism
prevalent in the prodrome, the passivity
ondition is a marked
contrast from the prodrome’s activity, which
builds in intensity unt
il the explosion of
the fit, the rising curve of the ‘wave’. The post-ictal symptoms nevertheless impress
a dreamlike quality on the ep
ileptic’s reality: the vict
im becomes an observer,
and reacting only to the most immediate thoughts and
of daydreaming, where fractured images
bleed into each other, augment each other. No
‘logical flow’ of reality is apparent to
the observer, much like a dream. Occasiona
lly, such post-fit symptoms can adopt,
e prodrome in moments of inspirational
illumination. The prominent example in
голубое
тут
куда
зайти
самую
где
новую
увидишь
шумней
чем
нас
шум
233
’ may even refer to the New
Slattery, p. 44
Ibid., p. 135
Catteau, p. 382
234
The most notable manifestation of ep
ileptic subconscious activity in
the aura, is Myshkin’s prodrome, the increasi
epilepsy sufferer in the minutes, hours, or
Ibid.
See Harrington, p. 233
235
seizure. Its confused, dreamlike nature is
similar to the post-ictal phase of epilepsy,
but whereas the latter features more in
flashbacks of Myshkin’s time in Switzerland,
the prodrome is featured in the present reality of the text.
Dostoevsky and
The Idiot, p. 115
236
More symptoms of the prodrome soon become evident:
вышел
машинально
куда
. […]
…Он был в мучительном
чувствовал
необыкновенную
уединения
напряжению
. […] «
всем
?» –
This aimless, mechanical wandering, the mu
ttering and desire for solitude all recall
the confused, dreamlike states of Ras
kol’nikov and Ordynov. The humidity of the
city also recalls the stifling summer during which the events of
See Harrington, p. 233
237
Rice, p. 289
238
confrontation; but as his impending fit st
rips away his inhibitions, he seems to
become bolder and actively tries to
239
experienced as the premonition of a crim
e – Rogozhin is there, lurking in
Intense preoccupation, aimless wandering,
great confusion and presentiment all
contribute to the dreamlike quality of the
prodrome. These are all heightened as the
phase accelerates towards the aura and seizure.
Myshkin’s fit occurs as his preoccup
finally confirmed. As Rogozhin tries to att
staircase, ‘
вдруг
вдруг
необычайный
душу
This episode underlines the importance of
the motif of Rogozhin’s eyes. They seem
initiate prodromal sensations in Myshkin as
he arrives in St Petersburg, and also
trigger the culmination, or indeed terminati
Catteau, p. 123
240
e summer months. Here, however, it is not
Slattery, pp. 108-09
Dostoyevsky after Bakhtin
, pp. 133-34
241
The reader begins to lose trust in the narrato
r’s ability to relate what is real and what
is not, and this heightens the dreamlike atmo
sphere even further. In fact, it may also
be another expression of the confused
prodrome of the epile
ptic condition.
Alps, reality becomes warped again, as
if experienced through semi-consciousness.
evious example, turns slight
and, fittingly, Rogozhin makes a
ppearances in the shadows.
ince hears Aglaya mutter to herself,
‘Idiot’. The scene reads like a bad dr
eam in which a normal situation has
imperceptibly grown grotesque and
unreal. Into the mood of mounting
tension the narrator abruptly introduces
the Gothic mode of heightened
Miller even accepts that Rogozhin may be
a hallucination: ‘It is almost as if
edge to them that add to the dreamlike
nuance of the novel. When Nastas’ia strikes
Dostoevsky and
The Idiot, p. 135
242
respect to his characters, particularly My
consciousness in the same manner as the
times, omnipresent and objective, at others as
thoughts. At these moments, as we have s
equates to Myshkin’s common confusion.
Dostoyevsky after Bakhtin
, p. 135
Ibid., p. 119
Ibid., p. 135
Dostoevsky and
The Idiot, p. 138
243
The dreamlike mode of consciousness that My
shkin occupies also arises as a result
l, the most intense, obviously, being the
aura itself. Furthermore, the different pha
ses of the epileptic condition – prodrome,
lp to structure the novel with its own
epileptic ‘rhythm’. Dalton writes that ‘t
he action seems to progress unevenly, in
climactic scenes of spectacular emotional
Dalton, p. 124
244
Catteau, p. 338
This narrative technique is also a method of
concealment, which keeps the reader intrigued.
Slattery, p. 44
245
in the face of imminent death. At these points existence seems to condense into what
Gary Morson has dubbed ‘vortex time’, in
l approaches, time speeds up. Crises follow
each other with increasing rapidity until a moment of apparently
infinite temporal
. Life does not seem so real and
alive as in these last moments,
a fact Dostoevskii knew too well. But at this moment of ultimate ‘density’,
something must give. As Kirillov says, th
at moment of aura is pure joy, but
seizure follows; for the condemned man, death. Th
moments can rightfully be cal
kii’s technique of dreaml
milar
minent death vi
a the condemned man, tapping into every
an on the scaffold is fused
intensity.
as Dalton writes, ‘the reader is made to
share to an extraordinary degree in the
subjective experience of extreme states’
subconscious phenomena he experiences, so th
experiences. And to compensate for those experiences that may be beyond the
reader’s ken – the ecstatic aura, for exampl
e – Dostoevskii affords us a near-first-
n’s ultimate fear.
be the man on the scaffold as he
e very particles of the condemned
man’s thought and feeling, his every f
ugitive impression and sensation as
his time runs out, up to the moment wh
– and even after. The language of the scene evokes a stream of
preconscious imagery in the reader in
and mediate such preconscious a
nd unconscious [i.e. subconscious]
thought and imagery, the prisoner’s e
reader’s deepest emotions – the terror of the m
with the reader’s own most primitive fears.
Morson, ‘Introductory Study,’ in Dostoevsky,
A Writer’s Diary, Volume One 1873-1876
, p. 95
Dalton, p. 143
Ibid.
246
The dreamlike intensity of
, therefore, taps into the
present in us all becomes the most inte
particularly intensifies episodes – such as
those in the holiday town of Pavlovsk
Bakhtin himself points to Part One, that
crammed opening day of the narrative, ‘
выключенного
nse
ver he
i: ‘In the people who constellate around
Myshkin there is an awakening to the trut
h of themselves by means of his tenacious
He gives as an example the fact that the
ter to A. N. Maik
ov dated December 31, 1867 (28/2:241)
, p. 303
Dostoyevsky after Bakhtin
, p. 118
247
dreams. All the other charac
ters see themselves reflected through Myshkin ev
they first define him through themselves.’
forms
душе
будто
list Dostoevskii
demanded of his fantastic realism for it to
makes them dare to dream: ‘through the
metaphor of fantasy embodied by Prince My
shkin, the community comes to realize
that the extraordinary is hidden within
Fidelity to the ordinary will reveal the ex
traordinary virtues that serve as guides to
utiful, even spiritual:
пустой
другого
душу
смысл
окружает
людьми
входит
душу
отзвук
беспредельно
сжимая
пустых
повторениях
указанная
уже
глядя
называет
пейзажем
затем
утверждая
тут
одернет
другому
миру
миру
миру
Ibid., pp. 166-67
Ibid., p. 208
, p. 258
248
synecdochal eyes at the beginning of Mys
249
Nastasia Filippovna results in the
nd the ‘groom’s’
madness.
Using such a comparison we can again
, Myshkin exudes some symptoms of
ing his prodromal confusion
Dostoevsky and
The Idiot, p. 114
250
skol’nikov and Svidrigailov may be ‘
’ in their pursuit of the will to powe
For such a dreamlike text, actual experiential dreams play a comparatively small part
. This is largely because at times it is difficult to definitively discern dream
from reality in the epileptic mode of
consciousness that the novel conveys
able
rtheless, there are two
251
всех
случится
припадок
? …
чудном
между
дружбе
much foreboding surrounding the party th
when the fit happens, it seems tragically
dream, Myshkin also seems to fear some so
252
ambiguously, within quotation marks. These
two different views of the same woman
echo Nastas’ia’s simultaneous desire to
emoti
she who is the ideal of beauty that the pr
ince must save – from the vices that a
pampered upbringing carries, including her ar
case, the prince’s dreams on the Pavlovsk be
nch seem to merge with the co
In
Литературное
наследство
, 83, p. 173
Frank,
The Miraculous Years
, p. 337
253
Dmit
t absolute. For the
an
the final
which bestows him with images of perfec
tion, but which means he is ultimately
rievna’s coffin. Dostoevskii extols the impossibility of true love for anothe
man has an ego, and says this may onl
y be possible in heaven. Cassedy w
is all history and development. For
and disease. In the Masha entry, the goa
l may be reached only at the cost
of the self, which then becomes lost in a higher fusion. For Myshkin, the
goal may be reached only at the co
st of consciousness (essentially the
same thing as ‘the self’), which then
becomes lost in a higher fusion. In
Dostoevsky’s Religion
, Stanford University Press, 2005, pp. 126-27
Steven Cassedy,
Slattery, p. 9
254
imperfect and cannot hope to fully effect
imperfections. His own embodiment defies, challenges his dream of perfection. …
His dream of perfection is ch
,
,
rl
line to some point in the future; ra
y of a Writer
and the Traditions
ersity of Texas Press, Austin, 1981, p. 178
Ibid., p. 10
Gary Saul Morson,
The Boundaries of Genre – Dostoevsky’s
of Literary Utopia
, Univ
Catteau, pp. 380-81
255
himself anew, reiterating primary expe
self-discovery man overcomes and a
ce. In this movement toward
ates time. Indeed, the ecstatic
dream of higher Beauty, which the ri
diculous man experiences visually
experiences visually
in a moment of
‘there shall be no more time’.
Kirillov and Smerdiakov are the only three
Jackson,
The Art of Dostoevsky
, p. 293
Rice, p. 254
Buchanan, p. 2
256
symptoms of both aura and particularly pr
odrome are evident, they are nowhere near
Ibid., pp. 13-15
257
It is a convincing argument, and it is very
many of his
state of mind. He
11
Kravchenko,
Catteau, p. 122
Kent, p. 1
258
he claims to have forgotten each episode, perhaps quite honestly if he was indeed
epileptic. Such inter-ictal outbur
reality and equate to minor
seizures in terms
so, like the events of the seizure, they are
almost always forgotten.
There is also the quietly terr
some sort of trance. Again, a
diagnosis can by no means be definitively
confirmed from these symptoms, but they
mystery’ surrounding Stavrogin. ‘The more
t is, the more disturbing it is to th
imagination. This was the creative line,
masked epilepsy helped to create.’
was through Smerdiakov, but even t
llowing his murder of Fedor Karamazov by
feigning a fit, the reader has no direct e
xperience of his illness or its effects. Th
illness here is stripped of its mystique: there is no incredible aura or dream
atmosphere, just an illness used as an a
the epileptic aura can be seen in Al
esha Karamazov’s epiphany outside the
monastery, following his dream of Father
Zosima. The language of the passage is
strikingly similar to Dostoevskii’s fi
небесною
соприкасалась
вдруг
…Как будто
всех
душе
rience mirrors that of an
epileptic: firstly his almost
See T. Alajouanine, ‘Dostoevsky’s Epilepsy,’
Brain
, 1963, 86, 2 (June), 209-18; also Rice,
pp. 238-39
Catteau, p. 127
259
With its epileptic overtones, this passage displays what Dostoevskii perhaps believ
d provide at its most posi
ed
s of much debate, not least because its
origins are so unclear. Even the precise timi
question: the writer himself places the even
t in the Siberian prison camp, con
by a medical report that dates the seiz
account has it occurring in Semi
Others, most
firmed
драшки
ven earlier symptoms, we
Shortly after
bout his early ailments including ‘
конд
’ – literally, ‘with a breeze,’ translating as an aura-like sensation th
d from the extremities to the head.
premonition of a seizure. …
one of the characteristic symptoms of
. For me, as a doctor, it
See Frank,
The Years of Ordeal
, p. 80
See Frank,
The Seeds of Revolt
, p. 165
260
Incidentally, even at that time on se
veral occasions the illness appeared
not only in a form that was unmistaka
What is centrally relevant to this thesis in terms of ‘
падучая
’ is the
psychological and subconscious effects of epilepsy on Dostoevskii. Unfortun
the most interesting aspect, that of the pre-
fit aura, is only ever briefly documente
овать
tress that this is
purely conjecture, as there
may not be at all possible.)
emoirs seem
минуты
by the writer himself. One example is f
Quoted in, and translated by, Rice, p. 7; from
Яновский
Болезнь
Достоевского
,’
Новое
время
Петербург
Февраль
24, 1881)
261
чувство
сильно
секунд
пожалуй
gree – this is a
ich may be coloured (intentionally or
ovalevskaia recalls a time when the writer,
eated argument with
an atheist acquaintance on the existence of
It is evidently clear that the waking fits
ce certainly affected
him enough to pass on the aura’s sensation of
all-consuming connectivity to M
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 1, p. 412
As his highly questionable account of Dostoevskii molesting a child has shown (see Frank,
The
262
chimi
comp
секунды
слову
e
чувствовал
приступом
охватывает
ng of the bells to mark Easter Day:
возбуждения
минуту
ударили
заутрене
Воздух
загудел
почувствовал
проникнулся
No other mention of such an incident is
made anywhere else; it seems like
story was either improvised by Dostoevsk
(ed.),
Достоевский
во
споминаниях
современников
, 2, p. 27
e Miraculous Years
, pp. 20-21
Ibid.
Frank,
263
чувство
сладострастия
Vrangel’’s account is compelling b
of its marked difference from the accounts
the mind of such an imagina
be mentioned:
Предчувствоал
минут
Очнулся
сидя
очутилось
руках
разодрал
полетел
fictional. Even though it may only describe
Врангель
Воспоминания
Достоевском
Сибири
1854-56
.,
Петербург
1912, p. 37
Rice, pp. 84-85
The only other inkling we have of his sexual desires is found in letters to his second wife, almost
all of which she censored.
In
Литературное
наследство
, 83, p. 350
264
once again, there is no mention of intense
joy or connectivity; the notes are ra
ther
mentions
265
случиться
упасть
улице
threat of a fit was a very real fear in his lif
e; as the fact that a fit can strike at any
time would understandably be in any epile
ptic. But Dostoevskii’s foreboding seems
more than simply the threat of impending,
inevitable pain. It almost seems to take on
an intense, dreamlike atmosphere surrounding him.
both seem to exude the sense of
that he describes in fictional
works written before and after Siberia; most notably in the almost autobiographical
ed Fon-Fokht
to spend the night at the dacha he was
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 2, pp. 285-86
(ed.),
266
фигура
руках
Ужасная
Ibid., pp. 51-52
In
Белов
(ed.),
забытых
неизвестных
воспоминаниях
современников
Андреев
сыновья
Петербург
, 1993, p. 173
267
at all. Judging from Dostoevskii’s non-fic
me obvious extern
induce a fit or increase their frequency.
seems at times that
Dostoevskii purposefully exacerbated his epilep
sy with his work, as if this was some
sort of self-punishment. Certainly, Dostoe
vskii from a young age always felt the urge
to write creatively. When it became his
raison d’être
income, it took on a different aspect. As his
fits. This is entirely explainable in medi
cal terms, as epilepsy does in many cases
increase in severity over time.
. 145
Kolb and Whishaw, p
268
to overcome the most difficult
conditions, the rhythms of fits accelerated.
There seems, then, to be an element of
masochism in Dostoevskii’s rather reckless
on – he literally suffered for his art by employing a
‘dialectic of creativity and self-destruction’
in the creative process. (This too was
evident in the life he led, for example his
self-destructive gambling impulse.) This is
беспокойством
ужаснейшим
срока
rise, then, that the novel seems to operate in a kind of
epileptic rhythm, with its dreamlike passage
s coalescing into vivid, climactic events.
the extended six-month break in narrated acti
on after the single day of Part One – bu
thor’s epileptic condition. It ma
Catteau, pp. 110-11
Rice, p. 65
Frank,
269
regularity and intensity of his fits with his own perceived success of his current work
If he went without fits for a while, he
could work in peace – but would perhaps not
evky’s
d technique, which he
f haustion, a
wish to compel, almost to bully the
his illness … is a characteristic
Rice, p. 33
Catteau, p. 130
270
Beyond an avoidance of dampness and a proc
exactly how climate affects epilepsy. Dostoevskii, as if attempting to solv
riddle, makes infrequent notes of the weat
her upon each logging of a fit in certain
notebooks. Perhaps even more mysteri
ous on first analysis are his many
simultaneous mentions of the corresponding phase of the moon; until we take in
account the medical train of
разбито
from the connectivity to humanity, the
A notebook entry of October 20, 1870 even mentions the aurora borealis, as if this meteorological
phenomenon may too have a connection.
Достоевская
1867
, pp. 105-06
Коншина
(ed.),
Записные
тетради
Достоевского
, p. 81
271
describes in the epileptic aura. ‘He seems to
Buchanan, p. 45
Литературное
наследство
, 83, p. 625
Ibid., p. 698
Коншина
(ed.),
Записные
тетради
Достоевского
, p. 81
272
permanent dreamlike state. Dostoevskii on
mind, and on his
impressions immediately afte
Лукерью
дк
ileptic fit he suffers, and then its
blurred aftermath when
he awakens afterwards:
Литературное
наследство
, 83, p. 350
Коншина
(ed.),
Записные
тетради
Достоевского
, p. 81
273
очнувшись
вдруг
’говорит мне в зале, что барыни нету
уехала
уверила
приехал
пробуждаться
These passages display the confusion and simultaneous instinctive drives – i.e.
Dostoevskii seeking out his wife in a time of
distress – of many of his characters in
this state, more often than not a result of illness, and also their inability to
comprehend that actual reality is not how
‘Dostoevsky’s remarkable capacity to depi
ct such states of semiawareness and
semiconsciousness, when a character, lo
behaves according to subliminal drives and impulses while still seeming to be lucid,
evidently derives from such
We only need to think of
St Petersburg, the dreamlike experiences
fear of death. The fear of dying from an
epileptic attack is not infrequently
mentioned in Dostoevskii’s correspondence,
but this seems to be heightened to an
unusually high degree after a fit,
leave the body racked with intense pain. A
Dostoevskii screaming in pain: ‘
Михайлович
двух
уже
ужасное
Frank,
274
предчувствие
скоро
умереть
предчувствия
уверяю
уверенность
уже
будет
чему
стремиться
Dostoevskii’s passion, ambition, and overall zest for ‘
r resignation. This alone is testament to the
The last sentence, however, reads ambiguously
275
оскорбленные
вдруг
сделался
яву
спустя
очнулся
ужасно
болела
Мистический
The subconscious anomaly of ‘night terror’
even seems to make an appearance as
мучительное
буквально
груди
Чувствуется
Коншина
(ed.),
Записные
тетради
Достоевского
, p. 81
Ibid., p. 80
(ed.),
Достоевский
забытых
неизвестных
воспоминаниях
современников
p. 136
276
of apoplexy, was ‘a colloquial term’ in his
Epilepsy also seemed to have varying e
these occurrences may well be
incidence comes from the 1870 notebook
entry that mentions the Tropman
Rice, p. 8
Коншина
(ed.),
Записные
тетради
Достоевского
, p. 81
Достоевская
Воспоминания
, p. 51n
Ibid., p. 51
277
мельчайших
часто
написал
дописывал
сначала
действующих
This curious switch from keen, almost photographic memory to one of faltering
Литературное
наследство
, 83, p. 357n; taken from
Воспоминания
Достоевском
Всеволода
Соловьева
Петербург
, 1881, p. 10
278
других
In the same year he writes to
про
упоминаете
…Я должен Вам сказать, что я страдаю падучею
совершенно
поминутно
узнаю
зиму
один
Преступление
написал
более
двух
третей
совершенно
успел
думаю
настолько
которого
людьми
могу
Повторяю
? (30/1:19)
There is a slight chance of mistaken iden
must be borne in mind that Dostoevskii was, at the time, one of the most famous
writers in Russia. It is perhaps more likely
Достоевская
Воспоминания
, pp. 343-44
In
Семинарий
Достоевскому
, p. 60
279
y that ought to be mentioned is the most
Aleksei at three years of age in 1878. A litt
le more than two w
minor fit, Aleksei, or Alesha as his father
ve hours and forty minutes.
особенно
угнетало
унаследованной
Dostoevskii’s emotions over Aleksei’s death
project at the time,
afflicting hereditary mental illness on some
(eds.),
Летопись
творчества
Достоевского
, 3, p. 273
Достоевская
Воспоминания
, p. 321
Rice, p. 203
280
Dostoevskii’s use of what has been termed
‘imagery of the subconscious’ is wide and
varied. Ultimately, by displaying the esse
subconscious ‘depths’, it shapes the reader
driven works as a whole. In much of th
e imagery’s connection to the author’s own
experiences, his very own psychology can
glimpsed. It seems difficult to claim, how
должен
сложности
Достоевского
личности
Such is the impossibility of comprehensively analysing a
Снотворчество
,’ in
(ed.),
Достоевский
Психоаналитические
этюды
, pp. 34, 53
281
positives, not least in keeping the prison convicts sane in
мертвого
wonder at the extremes of
The author himself knew the tumult of sensations of
мечтательность
from first-
’ himself; attributes which allowed
him to mentally cope with penal servitude
282
gives such episodes an ambiguity that make
attempts at characterisation difficult.
Alternatively, conscious events can seem so
intense as to defy belief: be they life-
es; the fear of mort
; or the very day-to-day life,
‘most intentional city’ of ‘strange influe
283
hallucinations work towards an ultimate good,
in stirring the character to take stock
and hold his moral conscience to account.
Russian literature, in showing the ultimate
pire to be something more. In doing so,
cial and political leanings of the time.
Dreams offer the bulk of subconscious cont
non-fiction. Never superfluous or simple symbolic embellishments, they tend to
character’s psychology and can on occasion
284
whole is boosted. For in many of the dreams we see, as well as a symbolic
ent state, an almost inexorable conclusion to the
285
use of imagery of the subconscious and
his experience of subconscious phenomena – and indeed, most of his life and works
the author’s texts
Even though there is much debate over the
Мечтательность
example: its daydream-reveries may have b
een an early example of the dreamlike
reality of the epileptic prodrome and this
dreamlike confusion.
form and style were afflicted, as is most evident in
. But most pertinently, the
different forms of imagery of the subcons
cious investigated in this thesis, and
Dostoevskii’s own experiences of them, may
have all had their source in the disease.
Imagery of the subconscious reaches its ‘deep
est’ point in the epileptic aura, which
moves psychology into the realms of the mys
tical and mythical. In doing so, it seems
to raise Prince Myshkin, its primary witness,
286
of the time, was enough to transform that ex
perience into some of his most powerful
Dostoevskii, perhaps most importantly for
himself, saw how his affliction could be
transformed into a power of overwhelm
ing beauty, peace and harmony, for however
short a time it lasted. Such seconds were worth ‘
пожалуй
Even from his gravest affliction,
Dostoevskii could draw positives: he would
rather have experienced these moments
of bliss despite their cost than
ther be with Christ even if
(ed.),
Достоевский
воспоминаниях
современников
, 1, p. 412
287
.
Episodes of subconscious experience, as
288
this, the artist must submit to a
eart of existence. We recognize that
vision in the almost unbearable intens
Dostoevskii’s frustrations at being unable
ell-springs of life’
dreams. However, at the same time, he
is aim; and, perhaps, he viewed his
affliction of epilepsy as a means with which
to further it. Being naturally attuned to
subconscious phenomena, perhaps he viewed th
Dalton, pp. 54-55
Hypergraphia, after all, is a symptom in many epile
ptics and is seen as an attempt to make sense of
the disease. See Breger, pp. 244-45
See Breger, pp. 244-45
Whyte, pp. 166-67
289
mode; and along the way, many of his great
themes, which themselves speak of a univers
least the idea that ‘
’ (15:31). This message, in fact, is inherent
in the idea of a collective subconscious:
all of humanity is connected by common
iveness would become inherent and
mankind could prosper. A lofty aim, perhap
s, but, as Dostoevskii indicates at many
e striving towards this aim that can bestow peace and
happiness to humankind. Such knowledge
is gleaned from imagery of the
subconscious in Dostoevskii’s works, and form
ed part of his ultimate aim: to find out
This pursuit led Dostoevskii to the extrem
es of human experience: both his own, and
that of his characters. The former were modifi
ed to inform the latter, so as to reveal
and flesh out the writer’s great themes. As
we are to a degree reading him, as his char
acters come to embody his ideas. They are
xt, much as ideas are ruminated over in
our minds, and interact with other characte
290
The Russian language has various words for ‘dream’, each of which emphasises
d. All feature in Dotoevskii’s works to
Perhaps the most literal translations of ‘dream’ are the words
experienced or experiential dream that occu
rs in the subconscious when the dreamer
also means ‘sleep’ itself; and
(or the lesser used
), which can be used both as a general term for
These two words are by far the most
commonly used words for ‘dream’ in the Russian language.
Shaw, ‘Raskol’nikov’s Dreams’, pp. 132-33
Даль
Толковый
великорусского
языка
Государственное
иностранных
словарей
Москва
, 1955
291
that both
бред
can often refer to general experiential dreams, albeit
is another Russian word for dream that, like
мечтание
мечта
stand as a lesser-used corollary to
сон
. However, there is an additional meaning to
that has its origins in folk beliefs;
world of dreams, it seems to allow the dreamer
to attain a different
reality:
способов
другим
душ
сущностей
получает
получает
знания
случайно
сильна
помощью
непосредственной
закрепленный
культуре
путь
So while the simple
сновидения
impression of more lofty, transcendent vi
sions. Alesha Karamazov’s dream of the
first miracle, in which he communicates w
ith his dead mentor Father Zosima, can
certainly be taken as an example.
In a similar vein is the
, seems to involve
, a faint. But whereas the
seem to plumb the depths of the ps
yche by visiting an almost mythical
Валенцова
Полесская
традиция
сновидениях
,’ in
Христофорова
(ed.),
видения
народной
культуре
религиозно
мистический
культурно
психологический
аспекты
Российский
государственный
гуманитарный
Москва
2002, pp. 44-45
292
увиденное
путешествующий
миру
получает
угрозой
структурой
Interestingly, these intense dreams are said
to be experienced when the dreamer falls
Толстая
Иномирное
пространство
’ in
Христофорова
(ed.),
видения
народной
культуре
, p. 212
Ibid.
293
Cyrillic sources are listed as they would
be transliterated accordi
Congress system.
Наука
Литературное
Наука
Edward Wasiolek), Chicago: Univ
(ed. Edward Wasiolek, trans. Katharine
(ed. Edward Wasiolek, trans. Victor
(ed. Edward Wasiolek, trans. Victor Terras),
(ed. and trans. Edward
(trans.
процессе
Наука
современников
Петербург
Буданова
Петербург
294
Художественная
литература
Наука
Dostoyevsky, Aimee.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky – A Study
, London: William Heinemann,
295
Dostoyevsky and the process of literary creation
Littlewood), Cambridge University Press, 1989
296
Johae, Antony. ‘Expressive symbols in Dostoevsky’s
Scottish Slavonic Review, 20, Spring 1993, 17-22
Crime and Punishment, Columbus:
Jones, Malcolm V.
Dostoyevsky – The Novel of Discord
New Essays on Dostoyevsky
, Cambridge University
Dostoyevsky after Bakhtin – Readings in
Dostoyevsky’s Fantastic Realism
Cambridge University Press, 1990
Москва
педагогический
университет
Katz, Michael R.
297
Мочульский
Достоевский
жизнь
Diary of a Writer
Mortimer, Ruth. ‘Dostoevski and the Dream,’ in
Накамура
жизни
смерти
Достоевского
Петербург
Буланин
: Topicality as a Literary
Dreams, Illusions and Other Realities
Pachmuss, Temira.
Panichas, George A.
Peace, Richard.
Dostoyevsky – An Examination of the Major Novels
Путролайнен
Rancour-Laferriere, Daniel (ed.),
Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1989
Rice, James L.
Dostoevsky and the Healing Art: An
Studies, Volume 9, 1989, 107-125
Saviour or Superman? – Old and New Essays on Tolstoy and
, Nottingham: Astra Press, 1999
Shaw, J. Thomas, ‘Raskol’nikov’s Dreams’,
The Idiot, Dostoevsky’s Fantastic Prince – A
298
, Cambridge and London: MIT Press,
Cirignotta, F. C. V. Todesco, and E. L
ugaresi. ‘Temporal Lobe Epilepsy with
Ecstatic Seizures (So-Ca
299
, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1975
, Cambridge and London: MIT Press, 2000
Baldick, Chris.
Oxford University Press, 2001
Colman, Andrew M.
Государственное
James W.
York: Worth, 2006
Reber, Arthur S. and Emily S.
The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology
, London:
Breedlove and Arnold L. Leiman.
PhD, Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Glasgow
© Jan F. Zeschky 2009
1
Glasgow Theses Service
http://theses.gla.ac.uk/
[email protected]
Zeschky, Jan Frederik
2009
Unlocking the psychology of character:
imagery of the subconscious in the works of F.M. Dostoevskii.
PhD
thesis
http://theses.gla.ac.uk/827

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