Dostoevsky by Joseph Frank
The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871-1881

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Synopsis

This fifth and final volume of Joseph Frank's justly celebrated literary and cultural biography of Dostoevsky renders with a rare intelligence and grace the last decade of the writer's life, the years in which he wrote A Raw Youth, Diary of a Writer, and his crowning triumph: The Brothers Karamazov.

Dostoevsky's final years at last won him the universal approval toward which he had always aspired. While describing his idiosyncratic relationship to the Russian state, Frank also details Doestoevsky's continuing rivalries with Turgenev and Tolstoy. Dostoevsky's appearance at the Pushkin Festival in June 1880, which preceded his death by one year, marked the apotheosis of his career--and of his life as a spokesman for the Russian spirit. There he delivered his famous speech on Pushkin before an audience stirred to a feverish emotional pitch: "Ours is universality attained not by the sword, but by the force of brotherhood and of our brotherly striving toward the reunification of mankind." This is the Dostoevsky who has entered the patrimony of world literature, though he was not always capable of living up to such exalted ideals.

The writer's death in St. Petersburg in January of 1881 concludes this unparalleled literary biography--one truly worthy of Dostoevsky's genius and of the remarkable time and place in which he lived.

 

About Joseph Frank

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Joseph Frank is the author of an award-winning multivolume biography of Dostoevsky.
 
Published April 8, 2002 by Princeton University Press. 800 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The fourth volume in the authoritative series launched with Dostoevsky: The Seeds of Revolt (1976), encompassing the six incredible years during which Dostoevsky wrote Crime and Punishment, The Gambler, The Idiot, and The Devils.

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Publishers Weekly

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With this rich evocation of 19th-century Russian intellectual, political and cultural life, as well as the atmosphere of fear under the czar and radical terrorists, Frank gives a full explication of Dostoevsky's culminating masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov, with its set piece involving the Gr...

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Publishers Weekly

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This fourth installment in Frank's acclaimed, projected five-volume biography presents an astonishingly vivid, uncanny portrait of Dostoevsky's spiritual, emotional and artistic development during his crucial years abroad.

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London Review of Books

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London Review of Books

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The New York Review of Books

But there is no genuine comparison between Herzen’s hope that the Russian peasant commune could be developed along socialist lines with the help of Western science and social theory (more a question of experimental social engineering than an example of the classical features of millenarianism) an...

Oct 09 2003 | Read Full Review of Dostoevsky: The Mantle of the...

The New York Review of Books

The son learned the family legend only too well, and the initial source of the guilt he felt about his father arose from his continual begging for money so that he could cut a figure in Petersburg as a nobleman.

Feb 02 1984 | Read Full Review of Dostoevsky: The Mantle of the...

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