Dostoevsky’s Underground, Ideology, Reception:
A Very Select Bibliography

Compiled by Ralph Dumain

Essays & Articles

Bloshteyn, Maria. “Dostoevsky and the Beat Generation,” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée 28 (June – September 2001), pp. 218-42.

Bloshteyn, Maria. “Dostoevsky and the Literature of the American South,” The Southern Literary Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Fall, 2004), pp. 1-24.

* Bloshteyn, Maria R. “Rage and Revolt: Dostoevsky and Three African-American Writers,” Comparative Literature Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4 (2001), pp. 277-309.

Compounded Irony: Reactions to an Overdeterministic Existence.” [Note re Gary Saul Morson.]

Dostoevsky in Soviet Russia -- post the third, 21 March 2008.

* Ellison, Ralph. “Ralph Ellison: Twenty Years After” (orig. pub. 1973), in Conversations with Ralph Ellison, ed. Maryemma Graham and Amrijit Singh (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1995), pp. 192-214. See p. 202.

Ralph Ellison: Twenty Years After” (interviewed by David L. Carson, New York, 30 Sept. 1971), Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1973), pp. 1-23.

Fiene, Donald M. “Elements of Dostoevsky in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut,” Dostoevsky Studies 2 (1981), pp. 171–186.

Flynn, Dennis. “Farrell and Dostoevsky,” MELUS , Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring 1993), pp. 113–25.

* Frank, Joseph. “Nihilism and ‘Notes from Underground’,” The Sewanee Review, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Winter, 1961), pp. 1-33.

Goldfarb, David A. “Kant’s Aesthetics in Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground,” Newsletter of the Society for Russian Religious Philosophy, 1 (Spring 1995), pp. 11-19. (Mid-Atlantic Slavic Conference, Columbia University, 18 March 1995.)

Hayes, Floyd W., III. “The Paradox of the Ethical Criminal in Richard Wright’s Novel The Outsider: A Philosopical Investigation,” Black Renaissance Noire, vol. 13, issue 1, Spring/Summer 2013, pp. 162-171. (Revision of paper prepared for the International Centennial Conference, Celebrating 100 Years of Richard Wright, The American University of Paris, Paris, France, June 19-21, 2008.)

Nabokov, Vladimir. Nabokov on Dostoyevsky, New York Times Magazine, August 23, 1981.

* Peterson, Dale E. “Richard Wright’s Long Journey from Gorky to Dostoevsky,” African American Review, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Autumn 1994), pp. 375-387. Abstract.

Soboleva, Maja E. “From Historical Materialism to the Theory of Culture: The Philosophy of Mikhail Bakhtin as a Cultural Phenomenon,” in Philosophical Thought In Russia in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century: A Contemporary View from Russia and Abroad, edited by Vladislav A. Lektorsky and Marina F. Bykova (London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), pp. 285-296.

* Trotsky, Leon. “Concerning the Intelligentsia,” translated from the Russian by Philip Rahv and Irwin Weil, footnotes by Philip Rahv, Partisan Review, Vol. 35, No. 4 ( Fall 1968), pp. 585-598. Written 1912, published in Kievskaya Mysl. [Reprinted with “The Intellectuals and the Workers” by Karl Kautsky.]

Books & monographs:

Bakhtin, Mikhail. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, edited and translated by Caryl Emerson; introduction by Wayne C. Booth. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984. (Theory and History of Literature; v. 8)

* Bloshteyn, Maria. Making of a Counter-Culture Icon: Henry Miller’s Dostoevsky. Toronto; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2007.

Bloshteyn, Maria R. The Pornographers and the Prophet: Henry Miller, Anais Nin, and Lawrence Durrell Reading Dostoevsky. PhD thesis, English, York University, Toronto, Ontario, June 1998. [Basis of book.]

Bradley, Jocelyn. An Analysis of Interpretations of F.M. Dostoevsky’s The Devils by Soviet Literary Criticism During Glasnost (1985-1991). MA thesis, Russian Studies, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 1995.

Carroll, John. Break-Out from the Crystal Palace: The Anarcho-Psychological Critique: Stirner, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky. 2nd ed. London; New York: Routledge, 2010. (Orig. pub. 1974.)

Cherkasova, Evgenia. Dostoevsky and Kant: Dialogues on Ethics, with a foreword by George L. Kline. Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi, 2009. (Value Inquiry Book Series; 206)

Hayes, Carlton J. H. A Generation of Materialism, 1871-1900. New York: Harper & Row, 1963, orig.1941. Chapter 9, The Climax of the Enlightenment, pp. 328-340.

Jackson, Robert Louis. Dialogues with Dostoevsky: The Overwhelming Questions. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993.

Jacoby, Russell. Dialectic of Defeat: Contours of Western Marxism. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981. See esp. Introduction.

* Lynch, Michael. Creative Revolt: a Study of Wright, Ellison, and Dostoevsky. New York: Peter Lang, 1990.

Scanlan, James. Dostoevsky the Thinker. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002.

Tejera, Victorino. Literature, Criticism, and the Theory of Signs. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1995. (Semiotic Crossroads; v. 7)

Washington, Cyrus C. Flight Beneath Earth: The Alienation Theme in the Fiction of Fyodor Dostoevski, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison. MA thesis, Department of English, Atlanta University, June 27, 1973.

Other links:

Notes from Underground – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nikolay Chernyshevsky – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What Is To Be Done? (novel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dostoevsky Studies : Volumes 1-9 (1980-1988)

Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Project Gutenberg Audio Book

Notes from the Underground” in White Nights and Other Stories, translated by Constance Garnett (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1918)

Fyodor Dostoevsky @ Reason & Society

Fjodor Dostojevskij en Esperanto

On this site:

Georg Lukács on Dostoevsky & the future of the novel

Stavrogin’s Confession by Georg Lukács [with bibliography & additional links]

Mikhail Bakhtin on slum naturalism

Charles Fourier’s oceans of lemonade

Theodor W. Adorno on modernism, Georg Lukács, James Joyce (1)

Literature, Criticism, and the Theory of Signs (Contents) by Victorino Tejera

C. P. Snow on the ‘Two Cultures’: Literary Modernism, Irrationalism & Reactionary Politics

Ralph Ellison on the Hidden Political Meaning of Cultural Symbolism

Richard Wright's “The Man Who Lived Underground”: Notes for Discussion

Richard Wright’s “The Man Who Lived Underground”: Annotated Bibliography [with addtional Dostoevsky links]

Dialectic and Dystopia: A Century Before and After the Russian Revolution Through Literature (podcast transcript) by R. Dumain

Gary Saul Morson: Genre, Utopia, Sideshadowing, Tempics, Prosaics, Parody, Misanthropology, Philosophy, Literary Theory, Borges: Select Bibliography

Richard Wright Study Guide

Positivism vs Life Philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) Study Guide

Theodor W. Adorno & Critical Theory Study Guide

* Key documents for my projects: Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, ideology, Russian and Soviet contexts, reception by African-American authors, reception by American authors.


— Ralph Dumain, 6 November 2017

These online and offline sources are relevant to the analysis, interpretation, reception, and placement in intellectual history particularly of Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground (1864) and of his world view generally.

Frank offers an exceptionally insightful analysis of the novel.

Trotsky offers a trenchant analysis of the impoverished intellectual heritage of the Russian intelligentsia, criticizing revolutionary as well as reactionary authors.

Bloshteyn (2007) treats the history of reception of Dostoevsky in Russia, the USA, the UK, and France, as prelude to her study of Dostoevsky’s appropriation by Miller, Nin, and Durrell, who bypassed Dostoevsky’s reactionary views, adopting him to their own irrationalist agenda.

Bloshteyn (2001) is the invaluable source for tracing the distinctive appropriation of Dostoevsky by African-American writers, especially Richard Wright, also Ellison and Baldwin.

Ellison and Lynch cover Ellison’s and Wright’s engagement with Dostoevsky.

Peterson details Wright’s affinity to Gorky, both having had parallel life stories, then Wright’s divergence from Gorky’s collectivism.

Bloshteyn (also 2001) focuses on the Beat writers’adoption of Dostoevsky, also overlooking his reactionary views alien to them, following Miller.

Bloshteyn (2004), Fiene, Flynn trace the influence of Dostoevsky on American writers of interest: Southern writers, James T. Farrell, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Nabokov presents a dissenting view on the value of Dostoevsky and his enthusiastic reception outside of Russia.

Note also the references to the reception of Dostoevsky in Russia and the Soviet Union.

Morson engages the complex narrative and conceptual structure and utopian dimension of Dostoevsky’s work.

Goldfarb and Cherkasova compare the apparently antagonistic philosophical orientations of Kant and Dostoevsky.

Bakhtin argues that Dostoevky is the author of the first polyphonic novel.

Scanlan analyzes the many voices found in Dostoevsky and pins down his actual viewpoint. Scanlan diverges from the views of Bakhtin that Dostoevsky’s “polyphonic” fiction means that Dostoevsky refrains from taking sides. Scanlan also disputes the existentialist contention (William Barrett) that Dostoevsky is simply an irrationalist. Dostoevsky’s principal target is Chernyshevsky-style rationalism. Scanlan criticizes Dostoevsky’s Slavophile nationalism but otherwise argues there is merit in his perspective. I cannot accept this: Dostoevsky is a characteristic arch-reactionary, whose view of society and history is totally false.

Carroll analyzes the opposition to Nikolay Chernyshevsky’s scientistic utopian “crystal palace” propounded in What Is to Be Done?, from a regrettable anarchist viewpoint but in detail.

Jacoby does not mention Dostoevsky at all, but his book is predicated on unearthing a tradition both of dissident Marxists and reactionary thinkers who analyzed modernity’s underbelly obscured by the scientistic orientation of orthodox Marxism.

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Uploaded 6 November 2017
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