Language and culture through lingua-poetics of contrasts: the example of F. Dostoevsky "Poor Folk"


  • Αλεξάνδρα Καρολίνη


Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky is one of the world’s most versatile writers. Most of his pieces address the eternal struggle between “good” and “evil” and people’s reactions to extreme situations. Although Dostoevsky’s first book, the “Poor Folk”, has been adequately analyzed, its psychological and social contexts, structure and linguistic style remain spaces for further research. In this contribution, I attempt to examine the structure of the letters the two central characters exchange and, subsequently, the writing and linguistic style. I mainly focus on analyzing the characters, places and social relations that connect the two protagonists. Through the subject matter of the letters, I outline Russia’s political and social situation. 

The relationship between Varvara Dobroselova and Makar Devushkin, the book’s two heroes, diverges the literary flow of the work into two separate parts. I depict their attributes through comparative analysis and comparison. The two heroes, utterly diametrical as regards their literary portrayal, offer “Poor Folk” harmony through contradictory writing norms. The spotlight of this study is the complexity of the writing style, idioms and conflict that appear in several book translations. The paper explores how the heroes not only coexist to disrupt one another’s writing uniformity but also how this uniformity results from their interactive approach.