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Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment: Stopping History's Clock

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image of Russian History

As a precursor of violent political upheavals that would recast Russian society, literary activity in the 1860s was marked by conflict between radicals and conservatives. Nikolai Chernyshevsky's 1863 novel What is to be Done? predicted a future of prosperity and social justice. An alarmed Dostoevsky attacked Chernyshevsky in Notes from Underground (1864) and then in Crime and Punishment, from 1865. Contending that speeding into an uncertain future—equated with Western thought—was dangerous, Dostoevsky equated rapid forward motion with violence, stasis with the eternal values of Russian Orthodoxy.

Affiliations: 1: University of Arkansas


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