Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction

Rowan Williams

Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams uses Dostoevsky's novels to shed light on the nature of God in the 21st Century... 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. 4.0 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Religion & Spirituality
Format Hardback
Pages 268
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication September 2008
ISBN 978-1847064257
Publisher Continuum
 

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams uses Dostoevsky's novels to shed light on the nature of God in the 21st Century... 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.

Reviews

The Times

Salley Vickers

As a former Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford, he is respected by serious theologians. He is also an honoured poet. What may be less widely appreciated is his prodigious facility with languages, Russian included. These gifts, along with a real feeling for literary narrative, combine in Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction to produce a profound and thought-provoking book.

19/09/2008

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The Independent

Boyd Tonkins

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/the-week-in-books-writers-should-enter-the-mind-of-terror-963872.html

17/10/2008

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The Spectator

Edward Norman

He is scrupulous in avoiding censorious language in explaining the ghastly conduct and opinions of Dostoevsky’s fictional creations, and it is usually only in accounts of child-abuse that he refers to ‘contemptible behaviour’. Otherwise there is a marked emancipation from the conventional restraint that Christian writers (let alone archbishops) have tended to demonstrate in alluding to facets of human sexuality... This is a book for the specialist enthusiast; it assumes a great deal of prior knowledge.

29/10/2008

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The Guardian

Andrew Brown

The good bits first: Rowan Williams is an excellent literary critic. He makes you want to read, or reread, everything that Dostoevsky wrote...and here we come to the bad bit. The archbishop's mind is one of eternal fractal elaboration. Each thought produces its opposite; each qualification must be qualified; each pool of sense must be adulterated with a dash of nonsense. There were times when I wondered whether I was struggling through the worst prose ever written by a poet.

27/09/2008

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