Ziid's "Dostoevsky" - A stimulating and recommended discussion of Dostoevsky by the Nobel Prize-winning French author.


Classics of Dostoevsky Theory! Andre Ziid's "Dostoevsky" Summary and Comments

André Gide (1869-1951)Wikipedia.

André Gide's "Dostoevsky," which we present here, was published in 1923 and is known as a classic of Dostoevsky's theory.

I read the Shinchosha edition of "Dostoevsky" translated by Toru Terada in "The Complete Works of Ziid, Vol. 14".

Previous ArticleZiid, "Soviet Travels: the moment a French Nobel Prize-winning writer realized the reality of the Soviet Union he admired."In the following section, I told you how Ziid traveled to the Soviet Union in 1936, a country he had longed to visit, but was greatly disillusioned.

I had always thought that Ziid's "Dostoevsky" was a book I would like to read someday, but I enjoyed "Soweto Travels" so much that I headed to the library to take this opportunity to read it.

The Shinchosha edition of Ziid's complete works, like "Soweto Travels," is written in an old-fashioned style, which was a bit disconcerting for a moment, but once I started reading it, I found it to be very easy to read, thanks to Ziid's excellent writing.

Above all, there were several interesting perspectives on Dostoevsky that were eye-opening, or I should say, I made several discoveries that I couldn't help but shout out. They explain very clearly what I had been wondering about and the subtleties that I had been itching to get to but couldn't.

As a French writer, it was also very gratifying to hear him talk about Dostoevsky in contrast to Balzac and other French literature.

It is just clear and easy to understand! This is my honest impression after reading it.

There are many passages I would love to introduce, but this article is only an introduction to Dostoevsky's reference book.

I can't tell you everything, but I would like to quote a few quotes to convey the mood of the book.

Contrast with Balzac - The Abandonment of Reason, Is Dostoevsky Buddhist? Asian?

When I examine the determined human beings that Dostoevsky presents to us, in contrast to Balzac, I am struck by the fact that while every one of them is fearsomeunexpectedunexpectedIt is noticed as a

Look at Raskolnikov, who is at the top of the list. This is the ambitious man who, at first, is a poor man, who wants to be Napoleon, but can only manage to kill a woman and her innocent daughter, whose business is to pawn and lend money. Look at Stavrogin, Pyotr Stepanovich, Ivan Karamazov, the heroes of "The Minor. [omitted].

The will of his protagonists, all their intelligence and will that resides in them, seems to plunge them toward hell. And when I ask what role the intellect plays in Dostoevsky's novels, I find that it is always a demonic role.

The most dangerous of his characters are also the most intelligent.

I do not only say that the will and intellect of Dostoevsky's characters are exercised only for evil, but that even when they exert themselves for good, the virtues they attain are self-respecting and destructive.

Dostoevsky's protagonists enter God's heaven only by renouncing their intellect, only by letting go of their personal will, only by renouncing their ego.

To some extent, Balzac is also a Christian author. But it is only by confronting the two ethics, that of the Russian novelist with that of the French novelist, that we can see how far removed the latter's belief in Katholik is from the purely evangelical doctrine of the other novelist, how different the spirit of Katholik can be from that which is merely Christian. How different the spirit of Katholik can be from a spirit that is merely Christian.

I don't want to do anything that will offend people, so if you all say this is the way to go, I will say this.

Balzac's "Human Comedy" is the product of contact between the Gospels and the Latin spirit, while Dostoevsky's Russian drama is the product of the Gospels, Buddhism, and the Aztec spirit.
Some lines have been changed, and the old style of writing has been changed to the new style.

Shinchosha edition, in "The Complete Works of Ziid, Vol. 14", p. 96-97, translated by Toru Terada, "Dostoevsky".

The last part of this quote was quite surprising to me as well.

Dostoevsky is even Buddhist, says Ziid.

I do not know how Ziid views Buddhism, but perhaps it is inspired by Dostoevsky's idea that "only by renouncing their intellect, only by renouncing their personal will, only by renouncing their ego, do they enter the heaven of God" as opposed to the Western belief in reason and ego. Also, I think the fact that Russia is an Asian country is also a major point.

This point made by Ziid is very interesting and I will keep it in mind in the future.

For those interested in learning more about Dostoevsky's criticisms of Western society, please refer to the following article.

The real meaning of "Dostoevsky is not that great of a thinker."

Dostoevsky is not that great of a thinker."

I forget where I once read it, but I remember reading words describing Dostoevsky in that way.

When I read it, I thought to myself, "That's a terrible thing to say. I wondered why he would think so.

I am not sure if the person who said those words has read Ziid's "Dostoevsky" or not, but there is a passage in this very book that mentions it, and I would like to share it with you here. I will excerpt a part of it because it would be quite long if I quote the whole thing.

The most profound, the rarest truths we can expect from him belong to the realm of the mind. And to add to that, the ideas he raises in this realm remain almost always in a state of questioning, a state of problem. He is looking for an opening rather than an answer - an opening of a question that is almost always in a state of chaos because it is so complex, so mixed up, so intertwined.

In short, in a nutshell, Dostoevsky is not a thinker in the original sense of the word. He is a novelist.
Some lines have been changed, and the old style of writing has been changed to the new style.

Shinchosha edition, in "The Complete Works of Ziid, Vol. 14", p. 98-99 in Toru Terada's translation of "Dostoevsky".

If we consider what a "thinker" is, simply "a person who thinks about ideas," then Dostoevsky is indeed a thinker.

However, if we define a thinker as "a person who systematically summarizes certain abstract ideas and provides universal answers to people," then this is a very different thing from Dostoevsky.

Dostoevsky is a man who "poses questions and opens up the complexity of the world" rather than "gives people answers," as Ziid says.

His ideas are almost never absolute. They are almost always relative to the person who says them.

I would go further and say that it is not only relative to these persons, but also relative to a particular moment in their lives. These ideas are "obtained," so to speak, by the particular and momentary conditions of these persons.
Some lines have been changed, and the old style of writing has been changed to the new style.

Shinchosha edition, in "The Complete Works of Ziid, Vol. 14," translated by Toru Terada, "Dostoevsky," p. 100.

Dostoevsky does not depict abstract ideas that have left our bodies, but rather the thoughts and psychology of each individual human being and his or her actual life at a given moment in time. He is not talking about abstract ideas, but rather about human beings in flesh and blood. He does not preach an abstract, universal, "absolute idea" that applies to all humankind, and in this he does not seek such an idea.

The Diary of a Writer" shows us how much of a "novelist" Dostoevsky is. The reason is that he is quite mediocre in his theoretical and critical writings, but as soon as a character enters the stage, he immediately becomes brilliant.

In fact, in this diary we find the beautiful story of "Malei the Peasant" and, above all, one of the most powerful of Dostoevsky's works, the laudatory "Krotzkaya," which, like the monologue he wrote around the same time in "The Basement Dweller," is, to use the original expression, a long monologue, a kind of novel. It is a kind of novel, but this is what we find in it. (omitted).

We can read elsewhere in the same book the story of his encounter with an old woman, now a hundred years old. He sees the old woman walking through the town, sitting on a stool. He talks with her and then goes on.

But in the evening, "after he has finished his work," he thinks about the old woman again. He imagines what her relatives said to her when she returned to them. He tells the story of her death. I enjoy imagining the end of a story. Not only that, I am a novelist. I like to tell stories."
Some lines have been changed, and the old style of writing has been changed to the new style.

Shinchosha edition, in "The Complete Works of Ziid, Vol. 14," translated by Toru Terada, Dostoevsky, p. 100-102.

When I read this passage I said, "Ah! I see!" I got a very clear sense of what Dostoevsky was interested in. It is true that "Diary of a Writer" is an excellent work to learn about Dostoevsky's usual interests.

Ziid's explanation of why Dostoevsky calls himself a novelist is also very clear. Although I could not introduce it in this article due to the volume of the book, Ziid explains it clearly with a number of examples. If you are interested in this book, I highly recommend you to read it.

Dostoevsky transforms our "way of seeing the world"

I will introduce one last thing. This is a passage that simply describes what is so great about Dostoevsky.

We live our lives based on widely accepted assumptions, and we quickly acquire the habit of seeing the world as people have told us it is, as people have persuaded us it is, rather than as it really is.

How many diseases, before they were reported to us, seemed to have no existence at all! How many bizarre, pathological, and perverse conditions we recognize around us and within us because we have read Dostoevsky's works.

Yes, indeed, I believe that Dostoevsky opens our eyes to certain phenomena that are perhaps not unusual, but that we simply did not know how to see and perceive.

In the face of the complexity that almost every single human being presents, the gaze naturally and almost unconsciously seeks to simplify.

Such is the instinctive effort of the French novelist. The French novelist is wise enough to take the main themes from the character, to discern a clear line within an aspect, and to present to the public the unbroken line of figures that it draws. Whether it is Balzac or anything else, the desire and demand for stylization comes first. ......
Some lines have been changed, and the old style of writing has been changed to the new style.

Shinchosha edition, in "The Complete Works of Ziid, Vol. 14," translated by Toru Terada, "Dostoevsky," p. 117.

This is another excellent explanation.

We do not see the world as it is, we only see it through the viewpoints we have been taught by others. There are things in the world that we have not seen because of this, but we are unaware of them. But people don't realize that," says Ziid.

But Dostoevsky gives us eyes to see a world that we could not see before.

This becomes clearer when compared to the characteristics of Balzac and other French literature. The French literary approach analyzes a complex world and tries to grasp it in a stylized and simplified way.

Dostoevsky, on the other hand, gives us an eye to see the complexity of the world and the chaos of the human mind as it is, which we would not know about unless we looked into it consciously.

Reading Dostoevsky changes the way we see the world.

I was also very much nodding my head that such things can actually happen, which is the great thing about Dostoevsky. I myself was quite shocked by the first Dostoevsky work I read, "The Brothers Karamazov," and since then my views on religion and people have been greatly influenced by it.


I have talked about Ziid's "Dostoevsky" so far, and there is much more I would like to introduce, but due to the volume of the article, that is not possible.

This book is truly amazing. Published in 1923, the book is famous as a classic of Dostoevsky's theory, but its content has not aged at all.

However, the book itself is quite old, so the characters are in old-fashioned script and the book is not easy to find. It is a good thing that the Hakodate Library had this book, otherwise I might not have read it. I hope that one day this book will be newly published as a reprint. (I bought a used copy of this book after borrowing it from the library because it was so interesting.)

I am so glad I came across this book. I highly recommend this one. It is full of extremely interesting content. I hope you will pick up a copy.

The above is "Ziid 'Dostoevsky': a stimulating recommended Dostoevsky essay by a Nobel Prize-winning French writer.

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