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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Marina A. Shalina
  • Pages: 365–380
  • 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: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent: Current State of Research
  • DOI:
  • EDN:

  • Year of publication: 2022
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Shalina, M.A. “On the Question of ‘Living Life’ in Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent.” Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent: Current State of Research. Editor-in-Chief T.A. Kasatkina. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2022, pp. 365–380. (In Russ.)

Information about the author:

Marina A. Shalina, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Department of Philological Disciplines and Methods of Teaching, Evpatoria Institute of Social Sciences, V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University, Prosmushkinykh 6, 297408 Evpatoria, Crimea, Russia.


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The article examines the specifics of Dostoevsky’s comprehension of the phenomenon of “living life” and its correlation with the female images in the novel The Adolescent. The author assumes that the decision to name Katerina Nikolaevn  Akhmakova “living life” belongs exclusively to the fantasy of Arkady, who is in love with her, carried away and blinded by the brilliant beauty of a secular lioness, and it does not coincide with the author’s position. Sometimes in Dostoevsky studies it is stated the vagueness of Dostoevsky’s ideas about “living life”, however, as it is proved by the numerous contexts of the use of the formula in journalism and the writer’s notebooks (including during the making of the novel The Adolescent), Dostoevsky had a very specific view of this phenomenon and associated it with the “great idea” of the immortality of the soul, and with the special maternal and messianic role of Orthodox Russia. In this regard, the article suggests that the author’s concept of “living life” is nearer to the image of the “mother” Sofia Andreevna Dolgorukaya. It is concluded that in the novel, with the help of opposition and at the same
time juxtaposition of the “queen of the earth” and the “angel of heaven”, an artistic image of the Russian woman is created in its dual unity: flesh, intellect (Akhmakova) and soul, heart (Sophia). The personalities of both heroines also embody Dostoevsky’s idea of “life” in its various forms: the earthly one, made of flesh, and the heavenly, made of spirit.

  • Keywords: “living life”, Dostoevsky, The Adolescent, female images, beauty, ideal, great idea, the idea of the immortality of the soul, sacrifice, motherhood.


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