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Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction

Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction

Paperback

By (author) Rowan Williams

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  • Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 216mm x 23mm | 370g
  • Publication date: 1 October 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1441183884
  • ISBN 13: 9781441183880
  • Sales rank: 178,635

Product description

An extraordinary book, which enables us to consider the nature of God in the 21st Century through the lens of Dostoevsky's novels. The current rash of books hostile to religious faith will one day be an interesting subject for some sociological analysis. But to counter such work, is a book of the profoundest kind about the nature and purpose of religious belief. Terrorism, child abuse, absent fathers and the fragmentation of the family, the secularisation and the sexualisation of culture, the future of liberal democracy, the clash of cultures and the nature of national identity - so many of the anxieties that we think of as being quintessentially features of the early twenty first century and on, are present in the work of Dostoevsky - in his letters, his journalism and above all in his fiction. The world we inhabit as readers of his novels is one in which the question of what human beings owe to each other is left painfully and shockingly open and there is no place to stand from which we can construct a clear moral landscape. But the novels of Dostoevsky continually press home what else might be possible if we - characters and readers - saw the world in another light, the light provided by faith. In order to respond to such a challenge the novels invite us to imagine precisely those extremes of failure, suffering and desolation. There is an unresolved tension in Dostoevsky's novels - a tension between believing and not believing in the existence of God. In "The Brothers Karamazov", we can all receive Ivan with a terrible kind of delight. Ivan's picture of himself we immediately recognise as self-portrait. The god that is dead for him is dead for us. This Karamazov God of tension and terror is often the only one we are able to find. This extraordinary book will speak to our generation like few others.

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Author information

The Rt. Hon. and Most Reverend Rowan Williams is Archbishop of Canterbury. He was formerly Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford and Archbishop of Wales.

Review quote

"'The Archbishop of Canterbury has written a book on Dostoevsky which illuminates the real operations of religion in human minds' A. N. Wilson, Times Literary Supplement 'Rowan Williams is an excellent literary critic. He makes you want to read, or reread, everything that Dostoevsky wrote. The books that he describes are spacious enough to contain a whole world, and beautiful enough to serve as icons that illuminate ours' The Guardian 'Although Rowan Williams is very modest about his credentials in writing an important book on Dostoevsky, it is difficult to think of anyone who is better qualified... a remarkable contribution to understanding not just Dostoevsky, but what it might involve to be a religious believer in the world today' Richard Harries, Church Times "...a real feeling for literary narrative... a profound and thought provoking book" Salley Vickers, The Times"

Table of contents

Preface; Introduction; 1. Christ Against the Truth; 2. Devils; 3. The Last Word? Dialogue and Recognition; 4. Exchanging Crosses; 5. Sacrilege and Revelation: The Broken Image; Conclusion; Bibliography.