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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: Svetlana V. Kapustina
  • Pages: 381–402
  • 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

  • Kapustina, S.V. “The Concept of ‘Besporyadok’ (‘Disorder’) 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. 381–402. (In Russ.)

Information about the author:

Svetlana V. Kapustina, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Department of Russian Language and Speech Culture, Institute of Philology, Crimean Federal V.I. Vernadsky University, Academician Vernadsky Avenue 4, 295007 Simferopol, Republic of Crimea, Russia.


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The article is dedicated to the reconstruction of the concept of “besporyadok” (“disorder”) in the novel The Adolescent, considering the distinction between the intentions of the actual author and the hero-creator. The complex structure of the author’s concept is reconstructed using Dostoevsky’s workbooks for February 1874 – November 1875, and the key element of it is stated to be the “internal disorder” that occurs when a person’s soul is poisoned with devilry. It is argued that this type of besporyadok (“disorder”), correlated by Dostoevsky with the phenomenon of bezobrazie (“ugliness”), serves as a source and catalyst for “family disorder”, “secular disorder”, and “general disorder”. The adolescent, illustrating all the listed facets of the author’s concept, naturally focuses on comprehending the “internal disorder”, which at the end of his “Notes” acquires the concept-name of “bezobrazie”. The gradual “deployment” of this concept by Arkady Dolgoruky sets the dynamics of the narrative, reflects the ongoing process of samovidelka (“self-creation”), based on the movement of the hero from the feeling of bezobrazie (“ugliness”) to the beginning of his consciousness. It is argued that Dostoevsky’s perception of besporyadok (“disorder”) and besovstvo (“devilry”) as related phenomena provoking general decomposition, an increase of the chaos in the macro and microcosm, and thirst for self-destruction, does not predetermine a constantly negative modality in their artistic embodiment. In the light of the “realism in the highest sense”, the manifestations of besporyadok (“disorder”) are often seen by Dostoevsky as an impulse for renewal, purification, and transformation. Arkady Dolgoruky, due to his age and spiritual weakness, is deprived of the opportunity to perceive bezobrazie (ugliness) in such an expanded focus, therefore in his conceptosphere this unit is not ambivalent, but is considered a negative element opposed to blagoobrazie (goodness).

  • Keywords: Dostoevsky, concept of the author, concept of the hero, besporyadok (disorder), besovshchina (devilry), bezobrazie (ugliness), blagoobrazie (goodness).


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