The Brothers Karamazov and the Poetics of Memory by Diane Oenning Thompson

By Diane Oenning Thompson

The Brothers Karamazov is Dostoevsky's final and most intricate novel. It represents the fullest expression of his quest to accomplish a literary paintings which might show the dilemmas and aspirations of his time and in addition signify the everlasting, absolute values he perceived within the Christian culture. Diane Thompson's learn specializes in the which means and poetic functionality of reminiscence within the novel, and seeks to teach how Dostoevsky used cultural reminiscence to create a synthesis among his Christian excellent and artwork. reminiscence is taken into account not just as a subject or topic, but additionally as a precept of creative composition. This interpretation identifies these elements of cultural reminiscence Dostoevsky integrated into his novel, and analyses how he used them as major elements of his characters' thoughts. This difficult examine units Dostoevsky's paintings in a brand new viewpoint. it's going to entice students of Russian and comparative literature.

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In the dialogic process of internalis­ ing or rejecting their cultural tradition, they find out who they are and who others are. Their attitudes to memory, their own and cultural memory, will prove all-important in the resolu­ tions, and unfinished resolutions, of their crises, and in the ways they affect others in the novel's world. Memories lie deeper in the mind than will, reason or knowledge and are only potentially in the consciousness. It thus becomes essential for a poetic interpretation to ascertain what stimulates their revival in the characters' conscious­ nesses.

We are not just simulacra of others. We make them our own by adding something that is innate to us, by projecting something uniquely our own onto them. Zosima is within Alyosha but Alyosha does not equal Zosima or anyone else. Alyosha's intrinsic need to love someone holy comes from within him and seals the bond between him and his elder. No one is the mere sum of others. As Bakhtin has shown, Dostoevsky's characters never coincide with others, or them­ selves. They all bring their 'own word' to their dialogues and in the interaction something new, and old, emerges.

In other words, each individual locates his memories in a particular socio­ intersubj ective or a cultural transpersonal system. Alyosha, for example, contextualises his memories in one way, Grushenka in another, Ivan in yet another, and so on. There can hardly be a mental activity more context sensitive than memory. How, then, does Dostoevsky contextualise his characters' memories, or, how do they contextualise their own memories? To which systems of cultural memory do they assimilate their memories, from which do they dissociate them?

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