In college, I'd wander into the library stacks to write papers only to be distracted by Joseph Frank’s brilliant concatenation of intellectual history, literary criticism, painstaking archival work and soul-searching, which happened to occupy my corner of the stacks. Joseph Frank is the greatest biographer of Dostoevsky in any language; and the academe long viewed with trepidation the prospect that Frank would die before completing his magnum opus. Dostoevsky, the work of thirty-two years and five volumes, seems a worthy use of a life. Now Frank, 91, has overseen a masterful condensation of the 2,500 page original into a single volume fit for popular (albeit of the NYRB sort) consumption. Despite his prodigious literary productivity, Dostoevsky’s life did not lack incident: epileptic fits, the murder of his father, revolutionary intrigue, Siberian exile, gambling away his last pennies in Europe… It all reads a little bit like a Dostoevsky novel.
Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time - Joseph Frank, Mary Petrusewicz
Submitted by lluncheon on Fri, 2014-02-07 13:21
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Published: Princeton University Press - August 26th, 2012