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Lloyd has set out to prove that Dostoevsky, the man, is inextricably interwoven with the products of his mind as a novelist -- and he has written an expended biography through virtually weaving into a more or less integrated whole successive passages from his novels and diaries. For one who is unfamiliar with either the life story or the writings of Dostoevsky, this method is tantalizingly episodic, fragmentary and confusing. One gets a bit here about a bitter childhood with a drunken father, who was ultimately murdered by his own peasants. One gets a brief glimpse of an unhappy army experience. One gets flashes of the difficult road to success. He lived the stories he wrote:- The Idiot, Crime and Punishment (his exile to Siberia), The Brothers Karamazov, The Gambler, etc. Lloyd shows him as an over-sensitive writer, labelled a propagandist and often compared to Dickens; he discusses his interest in psychology, his awareness of his own persecution complex, and so on. The facts of his life are listed rather drily, with extensive passages from Dostoevsky intervening. Frankly, I think the better bet would be to read the novels themselves.

Pub Date: March 17th, 1947
Publisher: Scribner