Nihilism and Literature Criticism: European And Russian Nihilism - Essay

Richard Freeborn (essay date 1982)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Egoistic Nihilism and Revolutionary Nihilism,” in The Russian Revolutionary Novel: Turgenev to Pasternak, Cambridge University Press, 1982, pp. 4-38.

[In the following essay, Freeborn traces the development of nihilism as evinced in Russian literature and assesses the impact of nihilist philosophy and literature on Russian history.]

In August 1860 [Ivan] Turgenev spent three weeks in Ventnor in the Isle of Wight. During that short period, and in characteristically wet and stormy English summer weather, he conceived the figure of his most significant literary hero, Bazarov, of his most famous novel, Fathers and Children, published two years later....

(The entire section is 17578 words.)

Constantin V. Ponomareff (essay date 1987)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Dostoevsky: The Nihilist Imagination,” in On the Dark Side of Russian Literature, 1709-1910, Peter Lang, 1987, pp. 145-81.

[In the following essay, Ponomareff explores Dostoevsky's spiritual conflict and views the nihilist perspective as the defining characteristic of his fiction.]

In his famous essay on Dostoevsky Freud made the culturally perceptive observation that the “compromise with morality” was “a characteristic Russian trait.”1 Dostoevsky's life fully corroborates this view and allows us to add to the study of the causal connection between a traditional moral ambivalence in the Russian writer and the nihilist consequences of...

(The entire section is 10061 words.)