To speak of Dostoevsky is to speak of madness, obsession, revolutionary terror, guilt, and prophetic Christianity. His is the literature of extremity, and his whole life a struggle to experience, understand, and ultimately triumph over the forces of nihilism which he saw moving across the landscape of 19th century Russia at a time when other intellectuals were invoking reason, progress, and historical continuity. Mochulsky's study is important for a number of reasons, including the obvious ones: it is the most expansive survey of his life and art, it is tremendously in command of the social and literary currents of the time, and it touches on biographical aspects not previously presented or developed. But its real forte is in capturing the full range of Dostoevsky's philosophical and/or spiritual stature, the ""metaphysical depth"" of all his interests, and the distinctly modern character and nuance behind what so many of his peers took to be a ""sick talent."" Dostoevsky was an epileptic, he knew poverty, crime, gambling, underground political activity, a famous death sentence magically commuted to hard labor in Siberia just at the moment when he stood before the firing squad. In him the Russian mystique of sin, redemption, and brotherhood meet with full existential pain, power, and art.