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DOSTOYEVSKY: A Life of Contradiction
Bibliophile price: £5.00
While studying Religion and Literature at Bristol University, Judith Gunn was fascinated by Dostoyevsky's account of prison in Siberia, 'The house of the dead', enamoured by the conflicted anti-hero Raskolnikov of 'Crime and Punishment' and alarmed by the chaos of the political cell represented in 'The Devils'. Dostoyevsky was a rebel, revolutionary, prisoner and soldier, but also a writer. He faced execution, loved and lost, and struggled with epilepsy. He had an eye for the real and a love of the magical and his insights into the psychology of human beings were searing. His artistic territory was the urban sprawl of the Russian cities, in particular St Petersburg. The first edition of this biography was published in 1990 and was and is still intended to demonstrate just how accessible the novels and stories of Fyodor Dostoyevsky are. A compatriot of Tolstoy and a contemporary of Dickens, his struggle for recognition was long and difficult. He suffered an addiction to gambling, and in 1849 was only moments away from execution before he received a reprieve and was instead imprisoned in Siberia. He never lost his fascination with real life crime and his novels range from gritty social realism to the fantasy of The Double as well as the world-renowned Brothers Karamazov. Enemy of the state to tutor to the Tsar's children, the biography tackles his struggles with deadlines, debt, marriage and memories and revitalises his outstanding contribution to literature and its translations into the media today. 288pp in large paperback.

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