Dostoevsky’s View of the Russian Soul and its Impact on the Russian Question in The Brothers Karamazov
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Fyodor Dostoevsky, one of Russia’s most renowned novelists, profoundly affected the way that Russia would think of itself in the years following his death. One of the most important issues for Dostoevsky and other authors at the time was the reconciliation of the peasant and noble classes in the aftermath of the serf emancipation in Russia. Dostoevsky believed that the solution to this issue would come from the Russian peasantry. My research investigates Dostoevsky’s view of the “Russian soul”, which is the particular set of innate characteristics which distinguishes Russians from other nationalities. Furthermore, it examines how Dostoevsky’s view of the Russian soul affected his answer to the question of Russia’s ultimate destiny. During the 19th century, socialism was an especially popular answer to that question. Dostoevsky, however, presented an entirely different solution. Through a thorough examination of Dostoevsky’s final novel, The Brothers Karamazov, my thesis demonstrates this alternative solution and its significance in light of competing Russian theory during the 19th century.