Table of contents:
- Albert Einstein on Dostoevsky
- Friedrich Nietzsche: a philosopher who studied under Dostoevsky
- Franz Kafka - "blood relative" of Dostoevsky
- Sigmund Freud: a controversy with Dostoevsky
- Akira Kurosawa: how Prince Myshkin became a Japanese
- Ernest Hemingway: how to respect Dostoevsky and not love his books
Einstein read Dostoevsky, Freud argued with him, Nabokov hated him. Director Akira Kurosawa made Prince Myshkin a Japanese - and the Japanese fell in love with the books of the great writer. It was rumored that the portrait of Dostoevsky hung in Hitler's office, and the "main propagandist" of the Reich, Joseph Goebbels, was reading the novels of this Russian writer, just like in his homeland. Today Dostoevsky is one of the most quoted and one of the most translated Russian writers in the world.
Albert Einstein on DostoevskyThe great scientist spoke of Dostoevsky almost more enthusiastically than many writers. It would seem that the famous physicist should have named among his idols the scientists who preceded him. But Einstein said: "Dostoevsky gave me a lot, an unusually large amount, more than Gauss." Gauss's work helped Einstein develop the mathematical basis for the theory of relativity. Perhaps the philosophy of Dostoevsky prompted the physicist to the ideas that he used in his works.
Einstein said that the feeling of supreme happiness is given to him by works of art. In order to capture this feeling, to understand the greatness of the work, he does not need to be an art critic or literary critic. He admitted: “After all, all such studies will never penetrate the core of such a creation as The Brothers Karamazov.” In his correspondence with physicist Paul Ehrenfest, Einstein called The Brothers Karamazov “the most poignant book” that fell into his hands.
Friedrich Nietzsche: a philosopher who studied under DostoevskyThe famous philosopher said that acquaintance with the work of Dostoevsky "belongs to the happiest discoveries" in his life. He considered Dostoevsky a genius, consonant with his worldview, “the only psychologist” from whom he had something to learn. Especially Nietzsche admired “Notes from the Underground”. He wrote that while reading this book, the instinct of kinship immediately spoke in him.
However, admiring, Nietzsche testified that Dostoevsky was not close to "Russian pessimism" and even called the writer a champion of "morality of slaves", and many of the writer's conclusions - contrary to his "hidden instincts."
Franz Kafka - "blood relative" of DostoevskyAnother gloomy author who felt a "kinship" with Dostoevsky. Kafka wrote to his beloved woman, Felicia Bauer, that the Russian writer is one of four authors in the world with whom he feels "blood kinship." True, in the letter he tried to convince Felicia that he was not created for family life. Indeed, of the four writers he mentioned (Dostoevsky, Kleist, Flaubert, Grillparzer), only Dostoevsky got married.
Kafka enthusiastically read excerpts from the novel The Teenager to his friend Max Brod. He noted in his memoirs that it was the fifth chapter of the novel that largely predetermined Kafka's peculiar style.
Sigmund Freud: a controversy with DostoevskyThe "Father of Psychoanalysis" did not confine himself to mentioning Dostoevsky. He wrote a whole work about him - Dostoevsky and Parricide. Freud was interested not so much in the artistic merit of the novels of the Russian classic as in his ideas. As a writer, Freud put Dostoevsky on a par with Shakespeare, calling The Brothers Karamazov the greatest novel ever written. And a masterpiece in a masterpiece - "The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor" from the same novel, "one of the highest achievements of world literature."
But as a moralist, Dostoevsky the thinker, according to Freud, is much inferior to Dostoevsky the writer. Freud emphasized that Dostoevsky could become the "Teacher and Liberator" of people, but chose to join "their jailers."
Akira Kurosawa: how Prince Myshkin became a JapaneseThe outstanding Japanese director made Dostoevsky a cult among the Japanese. His film The Idiot takes the action of the novel to Japan - and demonstrates that the problems raised by Dostoevsky are relevant for all peoples and cultures.
Kurosawa admitted that he loved Dostoevsky from childhood because he wrote honestly about life. The writer attracted the director with special compassion for people, participation, kindness. Kurosawa even stated that Dostoevsky had surpassed the "boundaries of the human", and that there was a "divine trait" in him. The director himself shared the views of the writer and especially distinguished Myshkin from all his heroes. Therefore, he named the film "The Idiot" among his favorite creations. As Kurosawa said, making this film was not easy - Dostoevsky seemed to be standing behind him.
The director, who gave his idea a lot of energy, even fell ill shortly after finishing work. But he appreciated the film as an attempt to convey Dostoevsky's "spirit" and convey it to Japanese audiences. Kurosawa succeeded - for no work he received so many responses.
Largely thanks to Kurosawa, the Japanese fell in love with the Russian classic. In 1975, renowned Japanese critic Kenichi Matsumoto wrote that the Japanese are obsessed with Dostoevsky. Now in Japan there is another “boom” of Dostoevsky: for example, in 2007 a new translation of The Brothers Karamazov was published and immediately became a bestseller.
Ernest Hemingway: how to respect Dostoevsky and not love his books
Perhaps the most contradictory assessments of Dostoevsky belong to this writer. In the novel "The Holiday That Is Always With You," Hemingway devoted an entire episode to the conversation about Dostoevsky.
Hemingway, like most famous foreign figures, read the novels in translation. Thus, the translator Constance Garnett instilled in America a "taste for Dostoevsky". There was even a joke that Americans did not love Russian classics, but Constance.
Hemingway's hero, who has an autobiographical basis, admitted that even a "refined" translation does not save the style of the novels: "how can a person write so badly, so incredibly badly." But at the same time, the idea, the spirit remains - the texts have an incredibly strong effect on the reader.
But Hemingway refused to reread Dostoevsky, despite the strong influence. He was describing a journey in which he had a book called Crime and Punishment with him. But he preferred to study the German language, read the newspapers, just not to take on the great novel. However, The Brothers Karamazov was still included in the list of the most important books for Hemingway.
In the life of the writer himself, there was his painful love story - Fyodor Dostoevsky's first marriage.