Dostoevsky’s letters give us a peek into the author’s private world
The focus of this event was Fyodor Dostoevsky’s writing, but not about Crime and Punishment, or The Idiot, or The Brothers Karamazov. It wasn’t about any of his novels, actually. It was about his personal letters. The latest edition of Dostoevsky’s letters, curated by Alice Farina, contains over eight hundred epistles from the author, five of which were selected and read during the event, held with Marco Archetti.
Dostoevsky emerges from his letters much like one of the characters in his novels, from the tale of how he was graced by the Tsar minutes before execution, to the deep, ruthless, constant self-analysis that makes his literary work so human. The letters cover all aspects of the author’s private life. Some of them show some of the behind the scenes intuitions of his novels, showing their link with the author’s life events and thoughts. Other letters are autobiographical, and show us Dostoevsky with a perspective that gives a very different picture to classic idea of him as one of the greats of Russian literature that many of us have: we see him as a troubled man, a gambling addict, a man of faith as he showed himself to the people close to him in his private conversations. Suddenly, the density and the intensity of life and reality in Dostoevsky’s work appears as a reflection of his own existence.