He was born 200 years ago and lived through the experiences of exile and imprisonment.. How did Dostoevsky’s novels predict today’s world?

November 11 marks the 200th birthday of the Russian philosopher and novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, whose works have been translated into many languages, and whose novelistic ideas and characters have become part of humanity’s cultural heritage.

In his report, he published Location Indian “”, writer Richard Hurriet says that some of Dostoevsky’s writings are based on his own experiences, such as the novel “Memoirs from a Dead House” in which he relays his experience in a Siberian prison where he was sentenced in 1849 to 4 years of hard labor.

Avoiding government censorship after his release, Dostoevsky embodied his emotions in a fictional criminal, and among the sheets of these semi-fictional novels lies a touch of immortality; Not only do these works reflect the psychology of Dostoevsky during his political imprisonment in Russia in the 19th century, but we can also project into them our experience of the closure that has become a common global phenomenon in the 21st century.

In his novel “Memories from the House of the Dead”, the Russian novelist talks about the suffering of prisoners between longing and pent-up desires. Dostoevsky was able to satisfy his desires and yearning for freedom by reading smuggled magazines and Dickens’ novels. As in Memories from the House of the Dead (1860-1862), the Russian writer drew heavily on his experiences in captivity and this was evident in other works such as Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), and “Demons” (1871-1872) and “The Brothers Karamazov” (1880).

In “Memories from the House of the Dead”, the protagonist and narrator Alexander Petrovich says, “During my solitude, I reviewed my past life to the last detail.”

In the events of the novel, the protagonist’s narrator is sentenced to deportation to Siberia and 10 years of hard labor, and recounts his suffering in prison as a gentleman suffering from the malice of other prisoners, and finally overcomes his disgust with his situation and his fellow convicts, and submits to a spiritual awakening that culminates in his release from the camp.

Dostoevsky portrays the prison inmates with sympathy for their plight, and also expresses his admiration for their energy, creativity, and talent, and concludes that the existence of the prison, with its absurd practices and brutal corporal punishment, is a tragic reality, both for the prisoners and for Russia.

Demons form the character of the modernist novelist

Dostoevsky came into contact with people of all classes and religions in harsh prison conditions, and thanks to this experience touched upon a subject so close to Leo Tolstoy’s heart, who described Memoirs from the House of the Dead as “the best work of all modern works, including those of Alexander Pushkin”.

Tolstoy lived all his life freely, while Dostoevsky spent a large part of his life after his release from prison paying off huge gambling debts to creditors, and he wrote most of his novels after his release while suffering from chronic anxiety, financial bankruptcy, and a nervous condition known as “Geshond Syndrome”. His writings moved away from the romance that was present in his early novels, and became darker and more probing the depths of the human heart and mind.

Irish writer James Joyce also praised Dostoevsky’s writings, stressing that he was “the novelist who created modern prose, refined it in its contemporary form, and broke the foundations of European Victorian novels with their simple thought and common practices harmonized, free from imagination and violence.”

This influence is evident in the works of many notable writers of the 20th century. The clashes between the individual, society and modernity were a distinctive element in most of Dostoevsky’s writings after his release from prison.

The Devils, which is characterized by its style of social and political satire, is the best description of modern conditions, especially in the world of mass politics, where humans are depicted as eternal slaves due to their animal instincts.

In The Demons, dreams turn into nightmares, and Dostoevsky explains what happens when people become slaves to ideas that are seen as more real than human beings. This thought predates the Leninist revolution by about 50 years, and Dostoevsky has tried to warn us against ideologues even if they have great ideas about ways to improve humanity, especially those who justify any means to serve their beliefs. In short, the ideas espoused by the characters in Dostoevsky’s novels are a reflection of his own.

The homeland and the world are the messengers of the East and the West

The similarities between the Russian novelist Dostoevsky and the novelist who won the first Nobel Prize in India, Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), are often referred to. largely associated with “Demons” and also based in part on Tagore’s personal experiences in prison.

Whether or not Dostoevsky had a direct influence on the Indian novelist, the similarities are striking. Set in the partition of Bengal in 1905, the novel follows the trials and tribulations of the heroine, Pemala, who represents her country’s identity against its destiny in the modern world. In contrast, “The Demons” does not have a single counterpart to this character, but rather many female characters who symbolize the “Motherland” struggle to preserve the homeland regardless of the destructive temptations offered by Western ideas.

Dostoevsky’s novel predicted the rise of totalitarianism in Europe in the 20th century and beyond, and Tagore’s novel foresaw the pernicious rise of exclusionary nationalism.

Freedom through the crucible of art

Both Dostoevsky and Tagore’s novels were equally forward-looking in their diagnosis of the modern crisis, as they each spent their lives struggling under massive political and social changes, whether the Petrine reforms in Russia or British colonialism in the Indian subcontinent. Each tried to see the extent of his country’s readiness to achieve social integration, which is based on a cultural synthesis between “East and West”, “Tradition and Modernity”, and “Nation and the World”.

In his Reflections on Human Struggle, Dostoevsky’s philosophy reflected the German poet and philosopher Friedrich Schiller’s idea that art, which is clearly an example of beauty and perfection, can render a sublime service to humanity. Dostoevsky once wrote, “The greatest secret of art is that its image of beauty becomes unconditionally loved, a necessary need of the human being, that harmony in which lies calm and the embodiment of the ideals of man and humanity.”

According to the writer, Dostoevsky’s views are largely consistent with those of Tagore, who has always believed that art reflects universal moral ideals. Tagore went even further in an article he issued in 1913 entitled “Perception of Beauty”, noting that music is the highest and most unifying form of art. for people.

Although they belong to two different cultural realms, Dostoevsky reached a conclusion similar to that of the Bengali epic poet: “The search for individual identity rarely leads us inward, it inevitably falls somewhere outside ourselves.”

The writer believes that the comprehensive moral philosophy of Tagore is very similar to Dostoevsky’s thought and aspirations, as both see that the true meaning of freedom does not come from ideal social structure or abstract ideologies, but rather stems from sticking to the ego and imposing our ideals on the world are the main cause of most human tragedies in this the scientist.

Dostoevsky’s thought inspired British writer Iris Murdoch to formulate what she calls “selflessness”, meaning that “philosophy is often a matter of finding opportunities to say the obvious and promoting the principle of the supremacy of the good.”

Dostoevsky resisted identity-based narratives and ideologies, but in today’s world we still suffer from the scourge of exclusion, marginalization and violence based on identity and belonging, and the common denominator of all who see the world from this perspective is the failure to see what unites people and focus only on what divides them.

What Dostoevsky found is that many of the problems in human societies are not a struggle between good and evil, we are, in the end, human beings who carry within us intertwined motives between good and evil.

Dostoevsky had a deep moral intellect, and his turbulent life led him to believe that the only true path to social harmony was the path in which no one was excluded from the right to freedom and human dignity.

Dostoevsky believes that the humanities and sciences can benefit from each other, and in recognition of the limitations of human knowledge, Dostoevsky believed that our answers to some of history’s most perplexing questions may remain incomplete, particularly when it comes to our understanding of human nature.

200 years after his birth, Dostoevsky will be remembered by many as a skeptical, passionate and outspoken thinker who always expressed his abhorrence of hatred and oppression in all its manifestations.

In this virtual world dominated by technology, it is hard to imagine that future generations will be interested in reading Dostoevsky’s long novels, but they should do so; Dostoevsky’s books, though mixed with dark comedy, pathos and melancholy, are nevertheless uplifting.

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