Dostoevski began his series of articles in the Petersburg Citizen with the plan of talking in an informal way about any subject in current events that impressed or appealed to him. He did not intend the articles to be a specifically literary endeavor and they are not, although literary subjects appear frequently. Nor did he intend his writing to be predominantly political, although he expounds his political philosophy and his slavophilic ideas at intervals throughout. This was to be a personal and freely-ranging undertaking; hence he called it a diary. It combines characteristics found in current journalism, column, editorial, and feature story. The style is flowing, associative, digressive.
The author frequently and half humorously complains that he is having no success in keeping to his main subject because the things which were intended to take up but a few words have absorbed all the space. In fact, the announced subjects are often but launching points for what Dostoevski really has to say. At the end of the 1876 issues, he admits that his main object in writing the DIARY is to explain the ideas of Russia’s national spiritual independence, that is, the qualities of the human mind and heart as he observes them in his countrymen. Always fascinated by the consciousness and emotions of people all of kinds, Dostoevski makes many profound observations, and the pages of his DIARY reveal keen observation and sensitivity to our essential...
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