Fyodor Dostoevsky – Existentialism and a Short Story.

Fyodor Dostoevsky – Existentialism and a Short Story.

An Honest Thief by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky-A Stark Impression of a Collective Imagination:

To oversize or to overrate. To impress upon or to intend again. Shock pop or more of the same. Just keep on popping on, straight up, over again. Mention not my friend. For every verse was worth its ink. Each and every time. Again and every again for every one whose thought was put down in impressed ink. We choose Dostoevsky



Fyodor Dostoevsky. A story-teller, writer of essays, ill famed journalist of the Tsarist Russia, a philosopher in Russia of the age. As would the iconic cat Behmoth have it. The diabolic, feline, among the aids to Satan himself; from the story line of Mikhail Bulgakov’s fabled Master and Margarita. As would the walking, trash talking, hell raising Behmoth have it in any case. The idea of Dostoevsky’s death, in the Moscow of the 1930’s is claimed to be utterly ridiculous by Behmoth. “ Dostoevsky is immortal”, the fiend solemnly professes. In fact the spirit of the man is so elementarily ingrained in the thought fabric of the subsequent thinkers, that the idea of the man’s death could acceptably seem to be ludicrous.

Building on upon the immortality of the man. The Man who would go onto inspire an entire generation of thinkers from around the world. Perhaps all we do is merely re-affirm some loosely hanging on pages of the text in the man’s legend. To an unaware literature nerd, Dostoevsky sure gives the feels of a curiosity, that must be delved into with much enthusiasm. To the average,educated Geek, perhaps only a modest recall to the state of somberness. Not a celebration like in the case of a Shakespeare, or the archaic romance of a Coleridge. Only a sense of melancholic being, the feels of foreverness.


The Existentialist: 

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These were the Existentialists. The believers on the subject. Those still carefully stacking up their hopes on humanity. Them finding only as much meaning in life, as their psyche imparts to it. They who consider the perception of the beyond as absurd. Their subjects of expression might have differed, yet their philosophical belief tended in the same direction, giving form and structure to the Existentialist oeuvre. Their unyielding faith on the very moral fiber of mankind, is what formed the framework to the school of philosophy.

The tone of their expression might have varied from satire to stark – on your face. Yet in more ways than one their intentions mean the same. To show humanity a palpable image of their own doings. A bitter reflection of the times. There is seldom the thought of thunder, unless it is not meant to strike an object of interest, when you are a Sartre or a Nietzsche. Dostoevsky, who was distinguished geographically, could not be much removed ideologically from the thinking strain of the Existentialists of a later generation. The Existentialist movement as a considerable entity arrested the interest of popular culture only after the second world war, yet the philosophy had been around for quite through the likes of Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky. In fact, Dostoevsky’s much acclaimed novella, written in the year 1864, ‘ Notes from the Underground’, is universally considered to be among the first specimens of written text which gives form to whole body of Existentialist Literature.

The Celebration of a Short Story: 

Yet we address a smaller fry today in this particular edition. Not in depth of content, or what it is worth its value wonderment, yet in its all encompassing effect, with respect to time involved. Here we string together a literal composition cerebrating, as much celebrating, the mere few occurrences of circumstances, which completes the universe of this form of documentation. The solitary Short story.Not the panoptic study of an anthology. In the short story there are no layered character sketches and long developing situations, as one may find in a bigger piece of literal expression, yet there is ample of every thing to take your breath away, leave you suspended in amazement, and get you rambling about. For in the business of celebration, you really have to make it count, always.

In this world of Saturday night Live and sports cars, there still are people who read Chekhov and keep Dostoevsky in their thoughts. The later it gets, the more sense Nietzsche always makes.

The Honest Thief:


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The Honest Thief was composed by Dostoevsky in the year 1848. A period in the author’s life whence he had successfully published two novels,and was acclaimed in the literary circles of St Petersburg, the place where the arts mattered. The Honest Thief finds itself among short stories of the author that were published in the magazine, ‘Annals of the Fatherland’.

The story is based on the impressions of relationships which the characters in the story mutually share in the society they are a part of. There is foremost the narrator, lonely and of considerable stature in society. Besides tale telling he has little other business in the development of the plot. Apart from the fact that it was his jacket which got stolen, the incident which catalyzes the latter part of the narration, the story of the protagonist. There is then Agrafena, the elderly domestic help to the narrator. Besides there is also Astafy Ivanovitch, an elderly gentleman, a former soldier, a practicing tailor, who as the story commences on the recommendation of Agrafena moves in as a boarder in the narrator’s apartment. Emelyan Ilyitch, often affectionately referred to as Emelyanouska is the invariably inebriated, virtuously under performing, prodigal protagonist, who had to pay with his life to bring about the conclusion to the plot. The spirit of compassion and hope laboriously soars over the shortcomings of our own kind. The first few flickering flames of existentialism is set into motion. Labor on mankind.


Also Read From the Desk: The Rum Diary by Hunter S Thompson

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