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Dostoevsky: The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871-1881 Paperback – September 22, 2003

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Dostoevsky: The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871-1881 + Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865 + Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; n edition (September 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691115699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691115696
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

These two works add immensely to our understanding of Dostoevsky, though they have quite different purposes: Frank completes his monumental biography of Dostoevsky, while Scanlan examines the Russian writer's philosophical thought. Scanlan (emeritus, philosophy, Ohio State Univ.) argues that while much has been said about Dostoevsky as a writer, he has rarely been treated as a philosopher. Yet through his writings, he explored a variety of philosophical issues, primarily concerning the nature of humankind. Scanlan studies Dostoevsky's nationalism, opposition to rational egotism, and beliefs about our eternal souls, moral agency, and aesthetic needs. Of course, Dostoevsky's philosophy was framed within a Christian worldview, and Scanlan does excellent work discussing Dostoevsky's ideas in terms of his religious faith. Readers wanting to learn more about the thought of one of Russia's great writers will find this work essential.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Like the life it chronicles, Frank's magisterial biography of Dostoevsky concludes in the radiance of rare achievement. In this fifth and final volume, Frank surpasses even the brilliance of the earlier volumes in probing the literary genius that rose to an unexpected zenith in his Brothers Karamazov. Both in illuminating the historical context for this masterpiece and in celebrating its imaginative artistry, Frank amplifies Dostoevsky's singular contribution to world literature. No one understands better than Frank the torturous process through which Dostoevsky converted his personal observations into deathless characters--the impulsive sensualist, Dimitri; the cynical rationalist, Ivan; the self-sacrificing idealist, Alyosha. Frank likewise surpasses other commentators in capturing the defining moment in Russian culture when Dostoevsky triumphed over Turgenev with his famous Pushkin speech. But Frank also confronts the failures of Dostoevsky's final years: the legal missteps in editing The Citizen; the wooden plotting of A Raw Youth; the chauvinistic polemics of the Diary of a Writer. And in narrating the author's personal life, Frank opens to the reader Dostoevsky's moments of deepest vulnerability: his rage against his wife, Anna, when a prank went awry; his grief when his three-year-old son unexpectedly died; his anguish when his rival, Tolstoy, apostatized from Christianity. The complexities in Frank's nuanced portrait well reflect a central motif of Dostoevsky's own fiction: the irreducible mystery of the human soul. A landmark biography, certain to win praise from scholars and Dostoevsky readers everywhere. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Ursiform TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Dostoevsky : The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871-1881" is the fifth and final volume in Frank's extraordinary biography of Dostoevsky, a remarkable undertaking of more than a quarter century. While every volume has been exceptional and well worth reading, because they share a title and differ only in subtitle Amazon's system tends to muddle reviews of the various volumes together. This final volume covers the last decade of Dostoevsky's life, so don't buy it expecting a one-volume bio of the great writer. If you care about Dostoevsky's work find copies of the first four volumes, read them, then read this book. The series sets a superlative standard for examining a great writer's life and works, but this volume isn't really intended to stand alone, despite a short "story-to-date" intro.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Roy E. Perry on September 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Dostoevsky: The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871-1881 is the long-awaited final volume by Joseph Frank, Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Princeton University and Professor of Comparative Literature and Slavic Languages and Literature Emeritus at Stanford University.
Previous volumes in the series are: Dostoevsky: The Seeds of Revolt, 1821-1849; Dostoevsky: The Years of Ordeal, 1850-1859; Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865; and Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871.
It was during the final decade of his life, 1871-1881, that Dostoevsky wrote Diary of a Writer and his greatest novel, The Brothers Karamazov. Many pages of Frank's fifth volume deals with analzying these two works (140 pages for The Brothers Karamazov alone).
With impressive literary scholarship, Frank throws light on the historical, political, economic, social, cultural, and literary setting within which Dostoevsky created his works of art, novels of great psychological depth.
For example, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "Dostoevsky, the only psychologist, by the way, from whom I had anything to learn; he is one of the happiest accidents of my life, even more so than my discovery of Stendhal."
Dostoevsky traced the roots of the evils in Russian society to a loss of religious faith. By "religious faith" he meant specifically the Christian faith of the Russian Orthodox Church. He thought the Roman Catholic Church was a distortion and perversion of true Christianity. (See the harangue Dostoevsky puts into the mouth of Prince Myshkin in Part Four, Chapter VII, of The Idiot.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A truly triumphant conclusion to a massive and passionate undertaking. Frank shows the highest standards of scholarship in being objective, fair, yet sympathetic to one of the greatest of all writers. In this final volume, we have Dostoevsky living and breathing the Russian air of his beloved land seething with social, cultural and political issues of the day. An engaged and far-seeing artist if ever there was one. The complexity and paradoxical simplicity of his life presents us a real genius often at odds with the way he would be perceived by many of his readers, yet a humane and sincere human being. Now go back and read the magnificent works he has given us from his pen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Puterbaugh on March 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is hard to find enough good words to praise Joseph Frank's achievement in this triumphant literary biography. It is one of the most satisfying things I have ever read. At times you think that Frank is getting a little too detailed, but within a minute you understand the purpose of the detail. There is an equally telling moment in this final volume, when Dostoevsky is replying to an editor who wants D. to cut "an unnecessary detail." Dostoevsky's reply is vastly illuminating. To paraphrase: "You must remember that it is not I, the author, who is speaking: it is Ivan Karamazov, the literary character. This 'unnecessary detail' is meant to show the reader that Ivan has been thinking about this crime, and other similar crimes, for years. He didn't just read about them and forget them; he has been meditating on them for a long time, and this 'little detail' is proof of his very detailed thinking. Please remember this in the future: you are not reading what the author thinks, you are reading the thoughts of an artistically created character."

Whew! So much for Dostoevsky being a "sloppy writer."

He was also, in a strange way, the world's first blogger! He did it without computers or the Internet, but his journal "A Writer's Diary" was almost exactly what good bloggers create today: it was written by himself (100 percent) and actually sold very well. It was this "blog" which brought him to national prominence and fame, as well as his public readings, which moved audiences to tears and brought fifteen or twenty standing ovations.
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