International journal

Speech Genres

ISSN 2311-0759 (Online)
ISSN 2311-0740 (Print)

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Gaponenkov A. A. Religious and philosophical dialogues in Dostoevsky’s novel Demons. Speech Genres, 2023, vol. 18, iss. 2 (38), pp. 132-137. DOI: 10.18500/2311-0740-2023-18-2-38-132-137, EDN: RFLKOA

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Religious and philosophical dialogues in Dostoevsky’s novel Demons

Gaponenkov Alexey A., Saratov State University

Philosophical dialogue as a genre generated by ancient culture has become an integral part of F. M. Dostoevsky’s novels. There it acquired a distinctly religious character. In this sense, the theory of M. M. Bakhtin about polyphonic dialogue in Dostoevsky’s novels does not allow to fully explain its (dialogue’s) mystical-religious content, and even more so the hidden author’s modality – Christian assessment (“pointing finger, passionately raised”). Moreover, the question of faith in the polyphonic dialogue is not raised at all. Bakhtin confines himself to the dialogue of the “speech activities” of the subjects, the characters’ minds “in the realm of the word”, “the image of the idea” as a “living event”. The article highlights a special religious and philosophical dialogue in Dostoevsky’s novel on the example of Demons. It is proved that the characters of such a dialogue philosophize, i.e. act not only as those with external, effective, psychological characteristics, but as spokesmen for a certain intellectual activity, an established concept of life, which they usually translate into philosophemes, mental images. Religious-philosophical dialogue is also present when conducted at the level of metaphysical depths, with a creed, a manifestation of religious feeling, when the question of the Absolute is being resolved. Deep drama, appeal to the eternal problems of existence, the ultimate expansion of the artistic space of the topics, the subjects of dialogue limit the plot peculiarities and the characters’ details. There is a feeling of a direct connection between the two minds in the darkest corners of the man’s spirit: “Here the devil is fighting with God, and the battlefield is the hearts of people” (XIV, 100). 

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