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EN 3452
Rimma Volynska

1 Poor Folk (1846) Dostoevsky (in translation) AP/EN 3452 Dr. Rimma Volynska The Literary Atmosphere 1840s: transition in literature from Romanticism to Realism. • Romantics saw suffering derived from the oversaturation of emotion. Reason vs. Emotion • Associated with Classicism, the • Focus of Sentimentalism, belief Enlightenment that emotions are wise and a better o 18 century notions guide for one’s life. o 19 century sees dominance of feelings in the post-Napoleonic world. Naturalistic School: includes authors such as Honoré de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert. • The lowly and insignificant are fleshed out. • Focus is no longer on aristocratic, but rather the “urban filth,” the underpinnings of life. o This was shocking in 1840s audiences. Elements of Idealism: • Art has no value without transformational element. • Duty of the artist to transcend and transform the physical (i.e., real) world. Vissarion Belinsky: renowned Russian critic who laid the foundations for modern western literary criticism. • Literature should be honest. • Literature should reflect reality. • Art should be judged for its social values as well as aesthetic values – the former being of primary importance. Belinsky hailed Poor Folk as a great literary event. • Belinsky’s enthusiasm comes from the novel’s central issue of social structure and economic injustice. o Poor Folk is the first time this is delicately laid to page. • These “poor people” cannot rely on help from society, and are forced to rely on good-hearted Christian genero
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