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Includes bibliographical references and index.
Growing up in Bulgaria, Julia Kristeva was warned by her father not to read Dostoyevsky. "Of course, and as usual," she says, "I disobeyed paternal orders and plunged into Dosto. Dazzled, overwhelmed, engulfed." Kristeva would go on to become one of the most important figures in European intellectual life-and she would return over and over again to Dostoyevsky, still haunted and enraptured by the force of his writing. In this book, Kristeva embarks on a wide-ranging and stimulating inquiry into Dostoyevsky's work and the profound ways it has influenced her own intellectual life. Reading across his major novels and shorter works, Kristeva offers incandescent insights into the potent themes that draw her back to the Russian master: God, otherness, violence, eroticism, the father, language itself. Both personal and erudite, the book intermingles Kristeva's analysis with her recollections of Dostoevsky's significance in different intellectual moments-the rediscovery of Bakhtin in the Thaw-era Eastern Bloc, the debates over poststructuralism in 1960s France, and whether it could be said that "everything is permitted" today. "Could the inaudible Dostoevsky be our contemporary?" she asks. Brilliant and vivid, this is an essential book for admirers of both Kristeva and Dostoevsky. It also features an illuminating foreword by Rowan Williams reflecting on the significance of Kristeva's reading of Dostoevsky for his own understanding of religious writing.