The Russian literary tradition, especially the realist novel associated with Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, made signal contributions to the self-understanding of modern man. This owes to the fact that its deepest subject is nothing less than the human soul and the “timeless questions” that confront all self-aware human beings. As the distinguished Slavist Gary Saul Morson establishes in his wise and authoritative Wonder Confronts Certainty: Russian Writers on the Timeless Questions and Why Their Answers Matter, this tradition, while hardly uniform in its approaches and emphases, forcefully challenges what we might call the Enlightenment Vulgate.1

Against historical and sociological determinism, Russian literature...


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