On 67-m to year of life has died the Vice-President of the Russian society, Dostoevsky, literary critic and critic Karen Stepanyan. About what started his love of Dostoevsky, about his way to God, the attitude to films and performances of the writer’s books Karen Ashotovich said “Pravmiru” in an interview in August 2013.
Photo: Evgeny Gurko / OpenSpace.ru
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- Died the literary critic Karen Stepanyan
Karen Stepanyan was born in 1952 in Yerevan. In 1974 he graduated from the Philology Department of Yerevan state University, diploma defended at “the Double” by Dostoevsky. Immediately after the University he enrolled in postgraduate study of world literature in Moscow. Since 1978 worked in the “Literary Gazette”, working since 1988 in the journal “Banner”. Head of Department of criticism there. Doctor of philological Sciences, Vice-President of the Russian Dostoevsky society, editor in chief of the almanac “Dostoevsky and world culture”.
The author of “Dostoevsky and paganism (some of the prophecy of Dostoevsky we have not heard and why)”, “to”Know and tell”: “realism in a higher sense” as a creative method of F. M. Dostoevsky”, “the Phenomenon and dialogue in the novels of F. M. Dostoevsky”. Recently, the publishing house “Languages of Slavonic culture” published a new monograph of K. Stepanyan “Dostoevsky and Cervantes: a dialogue in the big time.”
So the wonderful Prince Myshkin?
Karen Ashotovich, it is known that Cervantes was one of my favorite writers Dostoevsky, but your book is almost the first in Russia, which is matched to their work.
Not only in Russia. Indeed, Dostoevsky said that the greatest influence on him three geniuses of world literature: Shakespeare, Cervantes and Schiller. While many books in which Dostoevsky with which only the writers no map (I will not name so as not to offend anyone, but some mapping is weird), and the book “Dostoevsky and Cervantes” neither in Russia, nor in Spain, nor even in the world, although Myshkin and don Quixote correlate often. No, by the way, and the book “Dostoevsky and Shakespeare.” “Dostoevsky and Schiller” is a work about half a century ago wrote the famous Germanist Nicholas Wilmont.
Why I took up this book? Of all of Dostoevsky’s works the biggest debate right now is “Idiot”. For a long time in the perception of the novel was dominated by the absolute apologetics Myshkin, he was understood not simply as a positive character, but as an absolute ideal of Dostoevsky, as “Prince Christ” (meanwhile, this entry in the drafts for the novel can be perceived in very different ways). Only the last 10-15 years it began to argue, a doubt as to whether he’s great, this the program for the human offered Dostoevsky, and is generally understood the image of Prince Myshkin, who really means well, but everything around him will die physically and/or spiritually.
In connection with these discussions, I wanted to compare Prince Myshkin with those close to him the type of literary heroes. Of course, the closest to him don Quixote, wrote about it Dostoevsky himself. I started to compare them and saw that the traditional perception of “don Quixote” more than controversial. Many, I think, it just do not grasp the meaning, and often read it completely — only the first Chapter or even an adapted version for children (of course, in childhood). And if you read the novel completely and carefully, then, in my opinion, it’s hard not to understand that this work is more tragic than comic. Don Quixote, too, wants to restore goodness and justice in the world, to help the wronged, to resurrect “the Golden age”, but all of whom he decides to help, are after his intervention in the situation worst than it was before.
Then I realized that it is not enough just to compare these two novels, it is necessary to consider them in the context of the biography, and another writer, in the context of the development of literature and art, the spiritual history of Spain and Russia, from the XVI–XVII centuries, when Cervantes lived, until the nineteenth century.
The more I studied the creativity and personality of Cervantes, even more puzzling to me his personality seemed. For example, we all know that Dostoevsky was sentenced to death, which was canceled at the last moment. So, Cervantes ‘ captivity in Algiers has sentenced to death three times, and the execution terrible. There a man was hung on an iron hook for meat, left in the heat, and he died in agony.
Cervantes, while in captivity, three were organised shoots, and each time his plans were revealed (or were betrayed), and was sentenced to such a torturous executions, but at the last moment it was canceled. Why was canceled is unknown. Whether he showed such strength of mind that is impressed by his tormentors, whether they wanted to ransom him more, but the fact that the author of “don Quixote” three stood face to face with death. This opens up for a person, especially a brilliant writer, a mysterious depths of being.
Another fact from the biography of Cervantes we have the little-known — three years before his death, he becomes tertiaries (palomnicheskom a member of the brotherhood of the laity) of the Franciscan Order, and for a few weeks until life takes a complete dedication. And consciously, by his heart, not for the sake of a roof over their head or free funeral, how to write a. Yes, he needed the end of life, but not so much to force himself to monasticism. It was his conscious choice, which, of course, also should be considered. Even this is biased against the worldview of Cervantes the last years of his life the author, as an American George. M. hay, admits that “the great writer was not a hypocrite” — “not the hood and (monastic) belt made him a monk: he is deeply imbued with their spirit, before he put them on.”
The last novel is one of the “wanderings of Persiles and Sigismunda” — on Russian is translated, but is virtually unknown in Russia, even many literary critics do not know that there is such a novel. Meanwhile it is very interesting and I try to show in my book, in many respects comparable to the “Brothers Karamazovy”.
I began writing the book in 2007, this spring she came out. Worked for six years.
— The name “Dialogue in the big time” refers to Bakhtin, however, already from the first pages it is obvious that you are arguing with him.
— I argued with Bakhtin in his previous book — “the Phenomenon and dialogue in Dostoevsky’s novels” (published in St. Petersburg in 2009). Bakhtin believes that the main structure-forming element of Dostoevsky’s novels is the dialogue. And I was trying to show that the main structural highlights of his novels — the appearance of Christ and (or) the phenomenon of the virgin at the beginning of each of his great novels and then dialogue (polylogue) — consent dispute, denial — characters about it.
Remember the beginning of the novel “Crime and punishment”. Christ appears in the monologue Marmeladov in the tavern, the old woman prozentsatz hangs an icon of the Savior, and Dissenters came to her to do the test, notice that the first events of the novel take place on 8 July, old style (this is set B. Tikhomirov) — Kazan, in the letter which reads Raskolnikov, the mother reminds him of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God, which stood in their home, and he remembers this icon. The same “idiot”, “Demons” (the first in the painting by Holbein, in the second epigraph). And then around this unfolding dialogue, some of heroes takes the gospel and someone denies it, someone makes controversey, but the dialogue in the novels of Dostoevsky is mainly about — the phenomenon of Christ, His image, His Good news.
Well, in the new book I’m trying to show that “Idiot” and “don Quixote” — not carnival novels (as suggested by Bakhtin), because the purpose of their authors — not the destruction of hierarchies, not the pole shift — the replacement of “top” “bottom”, namely the restoration of the true hierarchy, the definition of man’s place in the universe and its standing before God, and dressing and acting here is a sign of insanity and loss of contact with reality. This Christian novels, Christian tragedy. In the book I devote an entire Chapter.
The madness of Myshkin and don Quixote is not a clinical
You to don Quixote as a character to be critical, but this name has become a symbol of selflessness, of altruism, of the struggle for the truth. Although in the beginning of the novel, Cervantes writes directly that Hidalgo, having read tales of chivalry, “has lost his mind.”
— I think very accurate observation Kafka. When he was told that Dostoevsky all the characters are insane, he replied that it is not a disease but an art tool that uses a writer. Consider Myshkin and don Quixote from the point of view of psychiatry it would be wrong. By and large, their madness is not clinical, it is that they want their own to save the world, and this should be done only to God.
When a person decides without the help of God and relying on his intelligence, his sense of justice, their concepts of good and evil, save the world, it ends in failure, as any undertaking of the role can not afford. Heroes of Dostoevsky and Cervantes leads to madness their maniacal idea.
I must say that don Quixote in the first century of its existence as a literary character is treated as a comic character, and only the German romantics in the nineteenth century made him a hero who must save humanity. A way consistent with the spirit of the new time. But Cervantes and Shakespeare as the genius saw the danger of this idea back then and it showed in his works, created almost at the same time — in “don Quixote” and “hamlet”.
Indeed, hamlet, and don Quixote, relying on their own ideas about good and evil, trying to remake the world in accordance with these views, believing that thereby they are saving. In modern times the idea of a man designed for his own to remake the world for the better, even through violence and even murder — if only it were “noble” ideals, and “cost” can be ignored — established in the minds (and approved it, the French philosophes and German philosophers), and was modelled on don Quixote.
Over time, the danger of this idea became obvious, and in the twentieth century, Thomas Mann warned that they can appear “don Quixote atrocities”, then there are people who, unlike the literary don Quixote, have powers, means and opportunity to start remaking the world. And we see that in the twentieth century, almost in one generation turned out to be a lot of people: Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Salazar, Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek…
Now this topic is extremely important because we see in recent years in Russia the “creative personality” — as they call themselves — are also trying to remake the country and the world, not thinking about what happens as a result of these alterations, and what we have witnessed in the twentieth century. Therefore, although the genre of the book my literary, in the sense of relevance, I think, it and journalistic.
I compare the book don Quixote, Myshkin and real spiritual persons close to them type — Francis of Assisi, Ignatius Loyola, Savonarola, and here, too, found interesting and meaningful convergence.
For me, organic was the movement to Orthodoxy
— Tell, please, Dostoevsky brings you to God or, on the contrary, a religious search to Dostoevsky?
— Oddly enough, God brought me to Leo Tolstoy. In my childhood I read a lot and haphazardly, but some idea that there’s some higher power in the soul glimmered, while parents were atheists (at least on a conscious level), and there’s nothing around me to tell me that I couldn’t. It was just some inner feeling.
When I read “Lessons of Armenia” Bitov, I have the impression that Armenia, unlike Russia, and in Soviet times, at least on the cultural-historical level was preserved Christianity.
— Maybe somewhere there survived, but I grew up in a family and in an environment where I nothing about it resembled. In addition to the literature. When I read “Resurrection”, especially the ending of the novel clearly understood for myself that God exists. Half a century has passed, and I still remember that feeling.
And Dostoevsky when I was in school in the sixties, are only included in the school curriculum, but it was the novel “Humiliated and insulted”, “Crime and punishment” were held later. Everything on the program, I read, of course, before they began to pass, read and “Humiliated and insulted” and was wondering: as many have heard that Dostoevsky was a brilliant writer, and the novel “Humiliated and insulted” in this I was not convinced.
Perhaps, I did not read Dostoevsky, but soon on the screens out the film of Leo Kulidzhanov “Crime and punishment” and Taratorkina in the title role, with Lebedev Smoktunovsky, Bass and other wonderful actors. After watching the film, I immediately ran home, took off the shelf this novel, read it overnight and since then got sick Dostoevsky. I then studied in the first year, and then wrote to him a few course, diploma, in Moscow, in the Institute of world literature that came with the theme “Dostoevsky”.
But then, too, there were problems with the study of Dostoevsky, and they decided not to give me a topic and said I can only give comparative — “Dostoevsky someone”. I chose Faulkner, PhD defended on the theme “the Narrator in Dostoevsky and Faulkner”.
With the coming to God more difficult. As I told you in childhood reading books, I thought about my unknown higher power, but when I read “Resurrection” and finally realized that there is a God. And while studying at the Yerevan University, and when he moved to Moscow, these problems I still cared, but on my small education and, frankly, ignorance of the subject it seemed to me that it is necessary to create a universal religion which would include all the values of Christianity, Buddhism, and other religious teachings, and of Christianity, one is not enough…
For a long time I was in this intellectual, or rather, obrazovannoi respect to religion, but then suffered a personal tragedy and immediately realized that the only salvation is to come to Church. Came, was baptized in a small Church in the suburbs. It was in 1984, I had just turned 32 years since I started my Church life, more serious comprehension of religion.
We did not choose between the Orthodox Church and the Armenian?
— No, I have no doubt about it. Armenia I love, know not only Armenian, but also Armenian — Grabar, I have the gospel in Grabar, I read it. But still growing, and I was brought up in Russian culture, he loved Russian literature, from her early childhood played a major role in my development and still does, so for me, organic was the movement to Orthodoxy.
In addition, just at the moment when he experienced the tragedy, which said, I had a collection of “Monuments of ancient Russian literature”. In fact, it was the lives of the saints, although shortened by the Soviet censorship, I read that too, then helped me to survive and moved to the side of Orthodoxy.
In the process of churching had every kind of reflection against the Armenian Church, I have read on this subject a number of studies of Orthodox writers, and some of them write that the discrepancy between the Armenian and Orthodox Churches began with the fact that the representatives of the Armenian Church are unable to participate in the fourth Ecumenical Council. They just got to Chalcedon, where he was Cathedral. That is, it all started with a misunderstanding, but then the differences became more serious form, and today they are quite significant. This is certainly sad, but I still have no doubt that in 1984 I made the right choice.
The emphasis should be on what brings us together
— You probably know that many Orthodox are very fond of “Book of lamentations” by Grigor Narekatsi and say that this Saint of the Armenian Church in spirit very close to Orthodoxy?
— Of course, I heard about it. And in the last 30 issue of the almanac “Dostoevsky and world culture” printed a large article “Dostoevsky and Narekatsi”. Author — B. Zulumyan, Armenian scholar of world literature, in the article a lot of interesting comparisons. That Narekatsi, who lived in X–XI centuries, much in common with Dostoevsky, I’m still a student told my supervisor Levon Mkrtchyan mkrtychevich. He even then mentioned it in their articles about Narekatsi.
What can I say? In one job I wrote that in XII–XIII centuries, at the beginning of the schism, Orthodox and Catholic theology, and art had much in common — then the divergence only began — as more and more diverged more and more. The same thing can be said about the Armenian and Orthodox theology and art, and Narekatsi was, primarily, a theologian and then a Christian poet.
Recently released “Book of lamentations” in two languages — on the turning on the left is the Armenian text, right — the Russian translation, and the translation is very good, accurate! Of course, much in common with Dostoevsky… I think Narekatsi genius of the same level as Shakespeare, Cervantes, Dostoevsky, a genius somewhere in the transcendental space meet and they write, of course, each in his perspective, but one and the same, eternal.
— Today there is a tendency to rapprochement, inter-religious dialogue, although theological differences, of course, remain, the Eucharistic communion with other denominations there.
— Yes, there is a convergence. Dostoevsky himself was well known and loved Western culture, many people did owe her. My colleague Tatyana Kasatkina been actively developing this topic. Recently she Italy hosted the exhibition “Lives in you Christ. Dostoevsky: the way of the world and man — the icon and the picture”. It maps the there is a large number of Orthodox icons and Western paintings, which are fully consistent with the ideological and artistic world of Dostoevsky, novel “the Idiot”, his other works, but “Idiot” especially — it was written in Europe.
About the influence on Dostoevsky of Western literature has been written, but I think that even a tenth of this effect is not revealed. Many took Dostoevsky in his beloved Cervantes, Shakespeare, Schiller and Balzac, Dickens, Thackeray, all of these authors owe a lot to it, but has created his own unique artistic world.
He said that Europe as much as Russia, because Western culture is based on Catholicism — one of the two pillars of the Christian culture. Second, of course, Orthodoxy. Especially in present conditions when there is a total attack on Christianity, it is necessary to find in the first place that brings us together and helps us to survive in this spiritual battle.
Although we should not forget about the discrepancy. Some of my colleagues tend, unfortunately, to ignore the differences of Catholicism and Orthodoxy, this seems wrong. In the book “the Phenomenon and dialogue…” I have a Chapter entitled “Dostoevsky and Rafael”, where we are talking about how the adoption of the “filioque” is reflected in the differences between the works of these two geniuses. But the emphasis still should be on what brings us together.
In Armenia today there is interest to Dostoevsky, the Russian culture?
— It’s hard for me to judge, because the last time I’m rarely in Armenia, few people know of the Professor and student environment. But I hope that this interest is there. I wrote in one of his works, that Russia and Armenia, Russians and Armenians have in common is that not only our cultures, but of our whole existence are the Book and the Cross, helping us to save herself, not to disappear from the face of the earth.
But such attempts in history have been — many have attempted to erase from the face of the earth, and Russia, and Armenia. Both countries as anchor held for the Cross and for the Book. This is a very large base for convergence. I would like to believe that Armenia is not forgotten. But as is the case now, I, unfortunately, can not say.
Directors are trying to exclude from Dostoevsky’s religious perspective
— You said that Dostoevsky brought you the film Kulidzhanov. What other adaptation of Dostoevsky and the theatrical productions of his works seem good?
— Maybe my answer will surprise you, but the most successful film adaptations of Dostoevsky, I think the movies pyreva “Idiot” (sorry, he filmed only the first part of the novel) and “the Brothers Karamazov” (though here to a lesser extent). “Idiot” is the most successful film. I think the film, being a great artist, he guessed, intuitively, that Dostoevsky should be removed exclusively in close-UPS so that you could see were eyes. After all, in “the idiot” everything happens in the struggle of the soul and spiritual forces, and this struggle is expressed through the eyes. Of course, the actors have pyreva good, but this style — close-UPS — helps to adequately convey the atmosphere of the novel.
Regarding the recent film adaptation of “the Idiot” — a nine-part feature film by Vladimir Bortko, I wouldn’t call it bad overall, but some good shots in there, good Yevgeny Mironov, and this, of course, more or less acceptable adaptation, because adaptation has been, I dare say, monstrous. For example, the six-part film based on the novel “Teenager” — it was, in my opinion, in the eighties.
In most cases, Dostoevsky and shoot, and put in a picture of how bad Turgenev. That is, try to exclude all religious perspectives, to leave only tears, scandals, tantrums, half-mad, as they believe, heroes. I say “bad Turgenev” because Turgenev in his way and style wrote harmonious works, and here it turns out understand that.
In the theatre most often put “Crime and punishment”, recently staged in the theater of the Moscow Soviet — the fifth issue of the “banner” printed my review of this show, where, as in most other productions, cut off the epilogue. Don’t like it, they think they can alter their own way the author’s intent.
Not like it much and the episode where Sonya reads to Raskolnikov the gospel, but this is key, it is not so easy to throw out as an epilogue. What are you doing? In the play at the Moscow art Theater, which I saw last year, Sonja went on stage with a large trough of dirty Laundry, and for some reason the collection chamber under the linen is the gospel. Raskolnikov says: “Read to me about the resurrection of Lazarus”, she pulls out from the pile of dirty Laundry the gospel, reads only first three lines, puts the gospel back under the linen and leaves. And moscowmoscow the play Raskolnikov asks Sonia to find in the gospel the appropriate place, then he takes the gospel and reads “to himself,” walking on Soninoy room. In the scene as it is, but there is no text.
In one of the articles I read these lines: “of Course, we all know the tragic end of the gospel.” And try to imagine Dostoevsky as a writer who wrote about the despair of human existence. So if we talk about performances by Dostoevsky which I liked, I would call just “Petersburg dreams” in the theater Mossovet, but not the current formulation, and long — seventies, with Gennady Bortnikov in the role of Raskolnikov.
Tovstonogova “Idiot” with Smoktunovsky in the title role on stage, I have not seen, only in writing. Other performances, unfortunately, became the occasion for sarcastic reviews that I wrote.
— I liked the Idiot Kurosawa, although there the action moved to Japan, and even the characters are not exchanged crosses, and amulets.
The first time I saw this movie in my youth in Yerevan on a closed preview showed, then it seemed to me a stranger, but when a few years have reviewed, I liked him too. ‘ve learned a lot from Kurosawa to Dostoevsky. All I’ve read many works of foreign dostoinstv — European and American — there is a wonderful study, but in General, except Russian closest to understanding Dostoevsky, it was the Japanese. Something, apparently, is in the Japanese culture that allows them to feel the inner nerve of his works.
Because Akutagawa something very close to Dostoevsky.
— Of course. From Ludmilla Saraskina is very interesting work, “Dostoyevsky and Akutagawa”. I think people who know Japanese, could find Parallels with Dostoevsky many other writers, who while on Russian are not translated or translated a little.
There is an interesting contemporary writers
— Bakhtin, with whom you are arguing, I wrote that if many European intellectuals — Dostoevsky’s contemporaries — treated papers contemptuously, Fyodor Mikhailovich carefully read the papers and advised others to read. You are doing Dostoevsky, at the same time head in the magazine Department of the criticism, follow the latest literature, to which many linguists are still prozriteleva than Dostoevsky’s contemporaries belonged to the Newspapers.
Unfortunately, modern literature read little. In the eighties, the nineties of the last century it was actively engaged, wrote a lot about the new works, but gradually got away from that and only write about Dostoevsky. Understand that most works of modern literature is that the article will be of interest to the reader (not only a narrow circle of professionals), but only if to invest part of his soul.
And when they write about Dostoevsky, I think only that with God’s help, to help the reader to see at least a tenth of the spiritual wealth which is in his works. Doing Dostoevsky, grow spiritually, and to engage with modern literature, it is necessary, as they say, invest your spiritual capital in the article, only then it will be more or less interesting.
While I do not agree with those who believes that modern literature in General unworthy of attention. There are many interesting writers. Georgy Davydov, Anatoly Korolev. Mikhail Shishkin. However, his early works I like more than the last. I think they are talented. The largest modern writer, I think of Vladimir Makanin’s. Unfortunately, the last time he wrote little, but his novel “Underground or Hero of our time” — one of the best Russian novels of the past half-century.
I’m interested in the Alexander Ilichevsky, but this reading is not for everyone — it is difficult, he writes. This year in the first issue of the “New world” was a novel writer-debutant Anton Ponizovskogo “Appeal hearing”, largely focused on Dostoevsky — there are four heroes gather in Switzerland and talking about faith, Christianity, Dostoevsky, the fate of the Russian people. A curious novel in the sixth issue of “the banner” was published my review of it. Let’s see what will happen, in what direction will the author.
Outside of theology to work here is impossible
Only 20 years ago scholars had the opportunity to speak openly about religious motifs in literature. And those who spoke, often get from colleagues — say, not doing literary criticism, and theology. Even Valentin Semenovich nepomnyashchiy in this a reproach. You probably also heard similar criticisms?
— Repeatedly. Me and my colleagues. What can I say? Like it or not, but all of Russian literature is based on Orthodoxy. Those who reproach us in the religious reading of Dostoevsky, believe that the literary critic should deal only with text, without going into any ideological or religious field. I do not dispute the right of others to think and to engage in such “pure” literature, but I see my task is to help the reader better understand Dostoevsky, to better understand what the writer wanted to tell us.
Dostoevsky wanted, so we counted the number of adjectives, subordinate clauses, studied the structure of the text? No, I think he was more important that we took and learned his spiritual message. And I’m like a literary critic trying more or less to adequately convey to the reader the spiritual content of Dostoevsky’s works, and the content is, of course, Christian. As literary critic — everyone must do their job, but out of theology to work here impossible.
Many of our colleagues in the West consider Dostoevsky’s works only as an artifact, but it seems to me that Dostoevsky himself wanted the other. He wrote about himself: “although not known to the Russian people present, but the future will be known”. And that is our challenge, literary critics, to make Dostoevsky became known that the future of the people — became more clear and more readable. Just because someone says it’s not literary criticism, and fiction, as is often said about my work and that of my colleagues. I don’t care what genre would classify my work, it’s important to help the reader better understand Dostoevsky.
And Valentin Semenovich nepomnyashchiy I think the largest modern scholar, always enjoy reading his work. In my opinion, this is the real literature, whatever may be said of people who are trying to turn this interesting humanitarian discipline in semblance of natural-technical.
— What are the theological works of Dostoevsky you consider most interesting?
— First and foremost, I will name a book of the venerable Justin (Popovich), “Dostoevsky on Europe and the Slavs”. Wrote about Dostoevsky, father Sergius Bulgakov, less, father Pavel Florensky, but his judgment is also very valuable. In our almanac “Dostoevsky and world culture” we publish works of contemporary authors, professors from St. Tikhon’s University: Vladimir Katasonova and father Paul Kazinskogo.
There’s a wonderful book Russian emigre the first wave of George Meyer’s “Light the night”. The author was not a theologian, but a very deeply felt Orthodoxy and in his book examines the “Crime and punishment” it is from the Orthodox point of view. The book was published in Frankfurt in 1967, and in Russia, unfortunately, still not published, only a few chapters published.
Dostoevsky brought thousands into the Church. Did someone Leontiev?
— Probably, you not just mentally argued with Leontiev, who called Christianity of Dostoevsky pink?
— Of course, I’ve thought a lot about it. The problem is very complex. And today, many Orthodox priests and laity do not accept the Orthodoxy of Dostoevsky, believe it pink, “humanistic”. Of course, the enthusiasm of youth Dostoevsky by fourierism and other then fashionable Western theories influenced him… Many of my colleagues say that Dostoevsky’s first work, “Poor people”, was an Orthodox writer. I with this opinion do not agree. Dostoevsky was a very difficult spiritual path.
I dream that one of us will write a simple biography of Dostoevsky, and his spiritual biography. In one of his articles such attempt was made by Tatyana Kasatkina. Dostoevsky came to Orthodoxy a long, hard, painful, and, maybe, finally came only at the end of life in “the Brothers Karamazov”.
Leontiev, however, that in “the Brothers Karamazov” saw “pink Christianity”. My short answer to him is the same as it was 30 or 40 years ago, when I started this topic, to read Leontiev. Dostoevsky led to the Church of thousands of people, I personally know many who came to Church with Dostoevsky. Among them are the Japanese, having read Dostoevsky, he was baptized. Yes, and I’m… over the years more and more realize that the Orthodox Church has brought me in the first place Dostoevsky.
In my generation that grew up without the gospel, without any religious knowledge, a lot of people. I think that in next generations they will. Did someone in the Church Leontiev? I doubt it.
Dostoevsky’s Christianity is based on love. You can probably find in his work things don’t quite dogmatic, but his main idea expressed in the words of the elder Zosima: “Believe that God loves you as you and not thinking about that.” But only this thought and can lead the person to faith. Then he begins to understand how, we must confess, what are the dogmas, rituals and so on, but it goes to Christ, Who reveals him a hug and said, “Come to Me, I love you.” Here Dostoevsky always put their readers on the road to Christ, Who opens his arms.
And Leontief… I have no right to doubt the sincerity of his faith, but it seems to me that this belief is based on seclusion, exclusion and condemnation. When the person taking the first step to the temple, faces condemnation and conviction, he likely will not go further. Then, of course, he needs help to see that he is a sinner, but first he must feel that God is Love. Dostoevsky helps to feel it.
Interviewed By Leonid Vinogradov