“The Master of Petersburg” by J. M. Coetzee as a Fictional Biography

Olexandr Keba

Abstract


The article concerns issues of the genre of fictional biography. The study examined the peculiarities of the artistic transformation of the circumstances of the F. M. Dostoyevsky's creative biography in J. M. Coetzee's novel “The Master of Petersburg”.

The author has investigated a lot of intertextual sources as factors of the fictionalization of Dostoyevsky's biography, such as essays Stavrogin by Nikolai Berdyaev, Dostoevsky and patricide by Sigmund Freud, Dostoevsky – but in moderation by Thomas Mann, academic biographies of F. M. Dostoevsky and especially Dostoevsky’s novel Devils. An attempt was made to find out the motives of the author's appeal to the “dark” side of the inner world of Dostoevsky. The culminating episode of the novel, when Dostoevsky begins to write the novel Devils, is considered on three levels of the artistic system of the novel: 1) plot motivation; 2) characterological aspects; 3) conceptual level, determined by the problem of creativity as the central problem of the novel. Writer's work is mainly an irrational and intuitive sphere, Dionysian phenomenon, fraught with unpredictable consequences. So the author of the article tries to identify the “positive program” of the Coetzee's novel as a work about “darkness of human heart”, that is cleared by the artist's genius, but it does not protect against moral losses. 


Keywords


J. M. Coetzee; F. M. Dostoevsky; fictional biography; reception; intertextuality; inner world of an artist

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