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Death and Fulfilment, or Would the Real Mr. Dostoyevsky Stand Up?

  • Stewart Sutherland

Extract

Philosophers have devoted much attention to a series of issues grouped under the heading ‘the problem of personal identity’. In most of these discussions the focus has been the question of identity over time and the issues confronted have been basically logical or metaphysical. Students enrolled in philosophy classes dealing with such topics often express a sense of disappointment or frustration, for, of course, they belong to a culture in which the jargon of ‘self’ or ‘personal’ identity belongs to a rather different intellectual context heavy with the overtones of existentialism or with the suggestion of psychoanalysis. Anglo-Saxon philosophers have tended to bypass these ways of construing questions of personal identity; sometimes for good reason, sometimes not.

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1 Mochulsky, K., Dostoyevsky His Life and Work trans. Minihan, Michael A.. (Princeton University Press, 1967), xix.

2 Letter of 15 October, 1880, to Guseva, P. Ye., quoted in Mochulsky, 644.

3 See Coulson, Jessie, Dostoyevsky: A Self-Portrait (Oxford University Press, 1962), Letter 144, p. 228.

4 The Devils, trans. Magarshack, D. (Penguin, 1953), 505506.

5 Trans. Brasol, Boris (New York: George Braziller, 1954).

6 Trans. Hoskyns, Edwyn C. (Oxford University Press, 1933).

7 Thurneysen, Eduard, Dostoyevsky, trans. Crim, K. R. (Epworth, 1964).

8 op. cit., 14.

9 Ibid., 50.

10 Ibid., 25.

11 Diary of a Writer, 984.

12 See Letters of Fyodor Dostoevsky, trans. Mayne, E. C. (McGraw-Hill, 1964), 219.

13 Diary of a Writer, 286.

14 Ibid. 2.

15 Letters, trans. F. C. Mayne, 227.

16 Thurneysen, . op. cit., 4344.

17 Diary of a Writer, 365.

18 Essays and Aphorisms, trans. Hollingdale, R. J. (Penguin, 1970), 223224.

19 Coulson, , op. cit, 224225.

20 Thurneysen, , op. cit., 1213.

21 The translation is David Magarshack's (Penguin edition, 1951).

22 Mayne, E. C. (trans.), op. cit., 142.

23 The translation is Hogarth, C. J.'s (Everyman Library, 1964).

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