Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
The novels and stories of Fyodor Dostoevski are explorations of human nature and the nature of the religious experience. His vision is ambivalent, verging on the cynically pessimistic and burdened with the demons of human weakness. Yet in the conflating design of their characterization and plot structures, the works provide a rich poetic texture of compelling truth about humankind’s personal and religious values. His thought is radical and prophetic, and his art is confrontational. His novels are less an examination of religious ideology than a discernment of spirituality. Dostoevski asserts that life and art are meaningful. The nature of that meaning, however, is troubling, fraught with danger, and necessary to grasp.