The Art of Dostoevsky's Falling Sickness

ProQuest, 2008 - 217 Seiten
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This dissertation argues that in order to fully appreciate the symbolic and thematic importance of the falling sickness in Dostoevsky's works it must be understood in the context of the author's own perception of the disorder. The falling sickness, or epilepsy, has a long cultural and medical tradition, one that evokes connotations of the divine, the demonic and the diseased. Dostoevsky brings all of these to bear in his art and draws upon his own personal experience with the affliction; however, biography and a general knowledge of the illness alone are insufficient to explain the chronology and complexity of Dostoevsky's use of the motif. His first depiction of the falling sickness in The Landlady predates the onset of his convulsive epilepsy; his second depiction in The Insulted and the Injured is intersected by a depiction of his earlier non-convulsive nervous disorder; his third depiction in The Idiot portrays an epileptic whose medical history in no way resembles the author's own. To explain these discrepancies, this dissertation closely examines Dostoevsky's correspondence to clarify his perception of his epilepsy and approximates his medical knowledge through a study of medical works contemporary to his era. In turn, this context clarifies Dostoevsky's use of the motif by identifying its manifold artistic implications. Dostoevsky does not use epilepsy simply as a character trait or to exploit the violent spectacle of disease; he uses it to generate and subvert themes and characteristics, religious, metaphysical, medical, and demonic. Dostoevsky most keenly utilizes this technique of generation and subversion in his last three works, The Idiot, The Possessed and The Brothers Karamazov. These works, along with The Landlady and The Insulted and the Injured are examined in chronological order to demonstrate the evolution of Dostoevsky's utilization of the motif of the falling sickness.

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Zapisnye Dostoevskij F M Zapisnye tetracli F M Dostoevskogo Ed E N Konshinaja
Falling Sickness and the Fantastic in The Landlady
Falling Sickness and the Angelic Eunuch in The Idiot
Demons Dostoevsky Fyodor Demons Trans Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Falling Sickness and the Mystical Atheist in The Possessed
Falling Sickness and the Demonic Eunuch in The Brothers Karamazov
The Importance of Context

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