Classification – name: Literary studies
Author: Tatiana G. Magaril-Il’iaeva
Pages: 267-304
Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
Rights – URL:
Language of the publication: Russian
Type of document: Research Article
Collection: Dostoevsky’s Theology
Year of publication: 2021
Place of publication: Moscow


Tatiana Magaril-Il’iaeva. DOSTOEVSKY’S SPIRITUAL PATHS IN 1830s AND 1840s

About the author:

Tatiana G. Magaril-Il’iaeva, Associate Researcher, Research Centre “Dostoevsky and World Culture”, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


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Dostoevsky’s early works are normally excluded from the field that concurs to form the image of his theological system. Conversely, the aim of the present chapter is to “rehabilitate” this early period and find its place within the overall picture of Dostoevsky’s © 2021. Tatiana G. Magaril-Il’iaeva 268 Татьяна Магарил-Ильяева theology; this will be achieved, not by considering the different works separately, but rather through the disclosure of their common spiritual worldview which was developed by the author at that time. The research analyses the reasons why the ontological level of Dostoevsky’s early works is so difficult to read, especially when compared with the mature novels. The essay describes the spiritual context where the formation of young Dostoevsky took place and identifies in it the most important impulses that influenced the future writer. Starting from an analysis of the 1930s correspondence between Dostoevsky and his brother the work raises questions about the destiny of man in a world where spiritual and material elements are present on radically unequal terms, about the correlation between the earthly and the divine dimension, about the manifestation of a spirit which is constrained in matter, and about the possibility of knowing God in the reality at man’s disposal. Furthermore, all these questions are situated within the philosophical and mystical context of that time. The final part of the research shows how the spiritual quests through which Dostoevsky underwent at young age transformed into art during 1840s, thus becoming instruments for the spiritual transformation of man.

Keywords: Dostoevsky’s theology, Dostoevsky’s early works, rigid shell of the world, matter, spirit, romanticism.