Joseph Frank's continuing biography of Dostoevsky is by now recognized as one of the major achievements of this century in this form, and perhaps the best work on the author in any language. During the course of this long-range effort, Frank has also produced articles, introductions, and occasional pieces that arise from his acute awareness of how Western ideas are changed, transformed, and given new meanings and implications when they are reflected through the Russian prism. It is this interaction between Russia and the West that has fascinated Frank for many years and that provides the focus for these essays. Assembled here are twenty contributions dealing with the culture that generated the great novels of Dostoevsky and the criticism of the Russian formalists of the early twentieth century, whose perceptions still shape our views of Russian and much of world literature. Included are evaluations of books by Jakobson and Bakhtin, as well as of books about the development of Russian formalist criticism and thought. At the center are pieces on Dostoevsky and his milieu, as well as on his influence on world literature. Among them are Frank's New Criterion piece on Ralph Ellison's debt to Dostoevsky and a critical examination of the world-famous article by Freud on the Russian master. Gathered together, these essays reveal one of the powerful critical intelligences of our time, considering issues that arise from his study of Dostoevsky but which extend well beyond the time and place of that novelist alone.
Literature-Fiction, History-Criticism, Criticism-Theory,