К разгадке одной писательской диффамации: Почему н.Н. страхов оклеветал ф.м. Достоевского? 1

Translated title of the contribution: Solving the riddle of a writer’s defamation: Why did Nikolay strakhov slander fyodor Dostoevsky?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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As it is well-known, Nikolay Strakhov slandered Fyodor Dostoevsky in his letter to Leo Tolstoy dated 28 November 1883; he identified him with some of his characters and blamed him for their sins pedophilia included. Many philosophers and writers of the 20th century from Leo Shestov to Viktor Yerofeyev believed this slander. It is quite often reproduced now, even on web sites of some highly respected media. The paper contains an explanation why this slander emerged. This explanation is based on several factors. These are a story of Dostoevsky and Strakhov’s relations, the counter-position of Dostoevsky’s notebooks with his perception of Strakhov’s personality and convictions, and the most recent ideas about crуptographic characters in the Russian classical novel. Contrary to the widespread opinion, by the time of Strakhov’s unfair accusations of Dostoevsky contained in his letter to Tolstoy, there were enough motifs for them. The two writers stopped correspondence and talking to each other in 1875, and in 1876 Dostoevsky put a very negative characteristic of Strakhov in his notebook. The only reasonable explanation of this is a hypothesis that Dostoevsky found out about Strakhov’s participation in spreading rumors about the autobiographical character of the chapter in Dostoevsky’s The Possessed where Stavrogin confessed the elder Tikhon his having seduced a little girl, and Strakhov somehow saw this negative characteristic in Dostoevsky’s notebook. Afterwards, this characteristic was almost literally reproduced in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov as Rakitin’s portrayal, and the whole character of Rakitin turned out to be a kind of a cryptographic pamphlet against Strakhov as a womanizer, jasper, career-man and slanderer. Most likely, Strakhov “recognized himself” in Rakitin and later, perhaps, found a proof to his guess having received an access to Dostoevsky’s notebook. With the same words that Dostoevsky used to blame Strakhov as a slanderer orgasming from slandering other people, Strakhov, in his letter to Tolstoy, made an attempt to blame Dostoevsky for his voluptuousness (pedophilia including). He also mentioned in this letter a fact that was the main reason for the emergence of this slander: Dostoevsky’s reading of the chapter “At Tikhon’s”, which was rejected by the Russkiy Vestnik editorial board, in some writers’ circle. Thus, most likely Strakhov “recognized himself” in Rakitin, and this provoked him to slander Dostoevsky. It is also quite possible that later, having received an access to Dostoevsky’s notebooks, Strakhov found a proof to this in one of them.

Translated title of the contributionSolving the riddle of a writer’s defamation: Why did Nikolay strakhov slander fyodor Dostoevsky?
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)191-211
Number of pages21
JournalVestnik Tomskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta, Filologiya
StatePublished - 2018

Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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