Herald of

Genius and monster in «the house of literature»: Dostoevsky’s reputation in Britain

Krasavchenko T.N.


Dostoevsky was perceived in Britain as the most unusual and incomprehensible of Russian writers, a prophet, a sage who discovered the truths of life, the depths of human psychology, a preacher of suffering, madman and monster, but not a novelist in the conventional sense. His go-ing beyond aesthetic and social national standards helped British writers in their aesthetic quest and scared them. His novels seemed shapeless, «fluid puddings» (H. James), dangerous to the norms of the British prose. His ethi-cal standards, based on the ethics of Orthodoxy, opposed English culture, which focused mainly on Protestant ethics – action, individualism, pursuit of well-being, happiness. The author of the article analyzes the perception of Dostoevsky by O. Wilde, R. Stevenson, G.K. Chesterton, A. Bennett, by modernists – V. Woolf, E.M. Forster, D.H. Lawrence. T.S. Eliot, W. Lewis, D.M. Murry, as well as W. Somerset Maugham and M. Bradbury. Despite the ambivalent attitude towards him, Dostoevsky entered the British pan-theon of foreign literature, although not without a sqeak.


Russian and English literature; intercultural communica-tion; national cultural matrix.

DOI: 10.31249/hoc/2021.04.04

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