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Title: Stavrogin's Confession and The Plan of The Life of a Great Sinner - With Introductory and Explanatory Notes
Author: Dostoyevsky, Fyodor Mikhailovich
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                         STAVROGIN’S CONFESSION


                              THE PLAN OF

                       THE LIFE OF A GREAT SINNER


                            F. M. DOSTOEVSKY

                         STAVROGIN’S CONFESSION
                              THE PLAN OF
                       THE LIFE OF A GREAT SINNER


                             TRANSLATED BY




                          All rights reserved


                           TRANSLATORS’ NOTE

THE Russian Government has recently published a small paper-covered book
containing _Stavrogin’s Confession_, unpublished chapters of
Dostoevsky’s novel _The Possessed_, and Dostoevsky’s plan or sketch of a
novel which he never actually wrote but which he called _The Life of a
Great Sinner_. The circumstances in which these MSS. were discovered are
described in the note of the Russian Government which we give below. Our
translation of _Stavrogin’s Confession_ and of the plan is from the text
as published by the Russian Government. We have added translations of
introductory or explanatory notes upon the two MSS. by V. Friche, V.
Komarovich, and N. Brodsky. The notes by Friche and Komarovich are given
in the book published by the Russian Government, that by M. Komarovich
appeared in _Builoe_ (No. 18, 1922).

It should be added that there are two different versions of the
unpublished chapters of _The Possessed_ in existence, and they have both
been published for the first time this year. The second version, which
is in the Pushkin Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, was
published in _Builoe_. We have not included it, since it appears to be
an earlier version than that published by the Russian Government. It
should be noted that M. Komarovich’s note refers to this version in the
Academy of Sciences.




        TRANSLATORS’ NOTE                                      5






          SINNER_. BY N. BRODSKY


                      NEW MSS. OF F. M. DOSTOEVSKY


ON November 12, 1921, in the presence of A. V. Lunacharsky, Commissar of
Education, and M. N. Pokrovsky, Assistant Commissar of Education, in the
Central Archive Department of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet
Republic there was opened a white tin case numbered 5038 from the State
Archives containing F. M. Dostoevsky’s papers.

In the case were twenty-three articles: note-books, bags, and bundles of
letters and other documents. On one of these note-books, which is bound
(187 numbered pages), is written: “en cas de ma mort ou une maladie
grave”; these are business papers and instructions of Anna Grigorevna
Dostoevsky, the writer’s wife. On pages 53-55 she has written: “List of
note-books in which Fedor Mikhailovich wrote the plans of his novels and
also some biographical notes, copies of letters, etc.” Madame A. G.
Dostoevsky gives a list of fifteen such note-books with a short
description of their contents and disposal: Nos. 1 and 2, _Crime and
Punishment_; No. 3, _Crime and Punishment_ and _The Idiot_; Nos. 4-5,
_Journal_, 1876; No. 6, _Journal_, 1881; Nos. 7 and 8, _The Raw Youth_;
No. 9, _Brothers Karamazov_; No. 10, _The Idiot_; No. 11, _The Eternal
Husband_; Nos. 12-15, _The Possessed_. Of these fifteen note-books
enumerated by A. G. Dostoevsky the following were deposited on her
instructions in the Historical Museum: No. 7, No. 12, and No. 13.
Note-book No. 8 was in 1901 “transferred to Lubov Fedorovna Dostoevsky”
(Dostoevsky’s daughter), and No. 9 was deposited elsewhere. The other
note-books of Dostoevsky given in A. G. Dostoevsky’s list, with the
exception of No. 11, _i.e._ Nos. 1-6, 10, 14, and 15, were found in the
white case when it was opened on November 12 at the Central Archive

On the first page of these note-books A. G. Dostoevsky has, in her own
handwriting, given a brief list of their contents, as follows:

                                   No. 1
                            (147 numbered pages)

    1. Variant of the novel _Crime and Punishment_, under the title _On
    Trial_. (Raskolnikov tells his story.)

    2. Materials for the novel _Crime and Punishment_.

    3. Draft of letter to Katkov.

                                   No. 2
                                (152 pages)

    1. Variant of the novel _Crime and Punishment_.

    2. Materials for the novel _Crime and Punishment_.

    3. Materials for the tale _The Crocodile_.—Answers to

    4. Letter to Katkov (1865) explaining the fundamental idea of _Crime
    and Punishment_.

                                   No. 3
                                (154 pages)

    1. Materials for the novel _Crime and Punishment_.

    2. Materials for the novel _The Idiot_.

                                   No. 4
                            (Pages not numbered)

    _Journal, 1876._ January, February, March.

                                   No. 5
                                 (84 pages)

    _Journal, 1876._ April, December.

                                   No. 6
                                 (58 pages)

    _Journal, 1881._

                                   No. 10
                                (136 pages)

    _The Idiot._

                                   No. 14
                                 (56 pages)

    _The Possessed._ Notes for the end of the novel.

                                   No. 15
                                 (62 pages)

    _The Possessed._

In addition to these note-books which were in A. G. Dostoevsky’s list,
there were also found in the white case three other note-books not
mentioned by her, namely, (1) containing materials for _The Raw Youth_,
in a linen binding, 204 pages; (2) unbound, 33½ folios, also containing
material for _The Raw Youth_ (one of these may be either No. 7 or No. 8
above); (3) containing materials for _The Idiot_, 144 pages.[1]

Footnote 1:

  This is almost certainly No. 11 above, since it contains, besides
  notes for _The Idiot_, notes for _The Eternal Husband_.

Everything of value in these note-books will be published in a book, now
being prepared, which will include Dostoevsky’s letters found in the
case; they cover the period 1839-1855, mostly to his brother, as well as
the period 1866-1880, the latter being to his fiancée and future wife,
A. G. Dostoevsky. The new note-books will make it possible to understand
with some accuracy and completeness the method of work by which
Dostoevsky produced such masterpieces as _Crime and Punishment_, _The
Raw Youth_, and _The Possessed_. Besides these, there are scattered
through the note-books subjects of stories (_The Crank_), long tales
(_The Seekings_), poems (_Imperator_), which were planned but not

In addition to the list which Madame Dostoevsky gives in the note-book
marked “en cas de ma mort, etc.,” she also mentions one other note-book
in which fifteen proof-sheets of _The Possessed_ had been pasted. This
note-book was also found in the white case. On the first page of it A.
G. Dostoevsky has written: “In this note-book (in proof-sheets) are a
few chapters of the novel _The Possessed_, which were not included in it
by F. M. Dostoevsky, when it was published in _Russkìi Vèstnik_. The
first chapter (proof-sheets 1-5) was first published in the eighth
volume of the jubilee edition of the Complete Works in the section
‘Materials for the novel _The Possessed_.’” (This last statement is not
quite correct. In the “Materials,” to which A. G. Dostoevsky refers, the
first chapter is not published in full, the first twenty lines not being
included.) “The other chapters,” A. G. Dostoevsky continues, “have never
been published.”

Below the reader will find the text of these two hitherto unpublished
chapters of _The Possessed_. We have thought it necessary also to
republish the first chapter, because all these chapters form a whole and
should be given together, and also because the beginning of the first
chapter was not published in the Supplement to Vol. VIII. of the jubilee
edition. The fifteen proof-sheets pasted in the note-book—particularly
after the first chapter—are covered, in the margins and the text itself,
with a vast number of corrections, insertions, and additions in
Dostoevsky’s handwriting.

We give below the text of the proofs with only a few of the author’s
corrections. We have omitted passages which Dostoevsky struck out
without substituting a variant, though we give such passages in the
footnotes. We have made a few corrections about which there could be no
doubt. All the other corrections and additions, which are extremely
numerous, will be given in a book of new materials on Dostoevsky which
is under preparation. It is clear that the author himself did not
consider that these marginal corrections and additions were final. This
is shown by the fact that there are several mistakes in the text and the
punctuation is not always correct, while often there are several
different corrections of the text in the margin and it is not clear
which correction is to be preferred; other passages are incompletely
corrected, and, lastly, several corrections inserted in the text give a
rough version in which the same idea is expressed more than once in
different words.

The plan of _The Life of a Great Sinner_, which we give below, is taken
from F. M. Dostoevsky’s note-book which is in the Historical Museum.
This plan has recently been published by L. P. Grossman in his book on
Dostoevsky,[2] but not in full nor accurately, with such important
omissions that the text given below can alone be considered accurately
to reproduce the original.

Footnote 2:

  _Dostoevsky’s Genius_, Odessa, 1921.


                         STAVROGIN’S CONFESSION


                            _THE POSSESSED_


                             PART SECOND[3]

Footnote 3:

  Originally “Chapter IX.”

                               CHAPTER I

                              AT TIKHON’S


NIKOLAI VSEVOLODOVICH did not sleep that night, and all the time he sat
on the sofa, often gazing fixedly at a particular point in the corner
near the chest of drawers. All night long the lamp burnt in his room.
About seven o’clock in the morning he fell asleep where he sat, and,
when Alexei Egorovich, according to invariable custom, came into his
room at half-past nine precisely with a cup of coffee and, by coming in,
woke him, he seemed unpleasantly surprised that he should have slept so
long and that it was already so late. He hastily drank his coffee,
hastily dressed himself, and hurriedly left the house. To Alexei
Egorovich’s hesitating question “Any orders?” he made no reply. He
walked along the street looking at the ground, deep in thought, save
that now and then he looked up for a moment, raised his head, showing a
certain vague but violent uneasiness. At one crossing, not far from the
house, a crowd of peasants, about fifty or more, crossed the road; they
walked orderly, almost silently, in deliberate order. At the little
shop, where he had to wait a moment, some one said that these were
“Shpigulin’s workmen.” He hardly paid any attention to them. At last,
about half-past ten, he approached the gate of Our Lady Spasso-Efimev
Monastery, on the outskirts of the town, by the river. Here only he
suddenly seemed to remember something alarming and troublesome, stopped,
hastily fumbled for something in his side pocket and—smiled. Upon
entering the enclosure he asked the first youth he met how to find
Bishop Tikhon, who was living in retirement in the Monastery. The youth
began bowing, and immediately showed the way. Near the little flight of
steps, at the end of the long two-storied Monastery buildings, he was
taken over from the youth, authoritatively and promptly, by a fat
grey-haired monk, who took him through a long narrow corridor, also
bowing all the time (though because of his fat he could not bow low, but
only twitched his head frequently and abruptly), and all the time
begging him to follow, though Nikolai Vsevolodovich followed without
being told to. The monk asked questions incessantly and spoke of the
Father Archimandrite, but, receiving no answers, he became more and more
deferential. Stavrogin observed that he was known here, although, so far
as he remembered, he had only been here as a child. When they reached
the door at the very end of the corridor the monk opened it, as if he
had authority, and enquired familiarly of the lay-brother, who instantly
appeared, whether they might go in; then, without waiting for a reply,
he threw the door wide open, and, bending down, let the “dear” visitor
enter. On receiving a gratuity he quickly disappeared, as if in flight.
Nikolai Vsevolodovich entered a small room, and almost at that very
moment there appeared in the door of the adjoining room a tall thin man,
aged about fifty-five, in a simple cassock, looking rather ill, with a
vague smile and with a strange, somewhat shy expression. This was that
very Tikhon of whom Nikolai Vsevolodovich had heard for the first time
from Shatov, and about whom he had since managed to collect in passing
certain information.

The information was varied and contradictory, but there was something
common to it all, namely, that those who liked Tikhon and those who did
not like him (there were such) both kept back something of their
opinion. Those who did not like him probably did it out of contempt for
him; and his adherents, even the ardent ones, from a sort of modesty, as
though wishing to conceal something about him—some weakness, some
craziness perhaps. Nikolai Vsevolodovich had found out that Tikhon had
been living in the Monastery for about six years, and that the humblest
people as well as the most distinguished were in the habit of going to
him there; that even in far-distant Petersburg he had ardent admirers
amongst men, but chiefly among women. Again he had also heard from one
stately-looking old man belonging to our “Club,” a pious old man too,
this opinion, that “that Tikhon is almost a madman[4] and, undoubtedly,
given to drink.” For my own part, I shall add, although this is
anticipating, that the last statement is complete rubbish, but that he
is afflicted with a chronic rheumatic affection in his legs and suffers
at times from nervous tremors. Nikolai Vsevolodovich also learnt that
the Bishop who lived in retreat in the Monastery had not managed to
inspire a particular respect for himself in the Monastery itself, either
through weakness of character or through absentmindedness unforgivable
and improper in one of his rank. It was also said that the Father
Archimandrite, a stern man, conscientious in the discharge of his duties
as Father Superior, and famous too for his scholarship, even cherished a
certain hostility against him and condemned him (not to his face, but
indirectly) for his slovenly mode of life, and almost accused him of
heresy. The monks, too, treated the sick Bishop not exactly with
neglect, but with a sort of familiarity. The two rooms which composed
Tikhon’s cell were also rather strangely furnished. Side by side with
clumsy old pieces of furniture, covered with shabby leather, were three
or four elegant things: a superb easy-chair, a large writing-table of
excellent workmanship, a daintily carved bookcase, little tables,
shelves, all of which had, of course, been given to him as presents.
There was an expensive Bokhara carpet, and also mats. There were
engravings of a “worldly” nature and of mythological subjects, and
alongside with these in the corner there was a large shrine glittering
with gold and silver icons, one of which was of very ancient date and
contained relics. His library also, it was said, was of a too varied and
contradictory character: side by side with the works of the great
ecclesiastics and Christian Fathers there were works “of drama and
fiction, and perhaps something even worse.”

Footnote 4:

  After “madman” is struck out: “and at any rate, a perfectly talentless

After the first greetings, uttered with an evident awkwardness on both
sides, hurriedly and even indistinctly, Tikhon led his visitor to his
study, and, as if all the while in a hurry, made him sit on the sofa, in
front of the table, and sat down himself nearby in a wicker chair.[5] To
his surprise Nikolai Vsevolodovich was completely at a loss. It looked
as if he was making up his mind with all his might on a step
extraordinary and inevitable, and yet at the same time almost impossible
for him. For a minute he looked about the study, evidently without
seeing what he looked at;[6] he was thinking but, perhaps, without
knowing of what. He was roused by the stillness, and suddenly it
appeared to him that Tikhon cast down his eyes with a kind of shyness,
with a quite unnecessary[7] smile. This instantly roused in him disgust
and reaction; he wanted to get up and go; in his opinion, Tikhon was
decidedly drunk. But the latter suddenly raised his eyes and looked at
him with such a firm and thoughtful gaze, and at the same time with such
an unexpected and enigmatical expression, that he nearly shuddered. And
now it suddenly seemed to him something absolutely different: that
Tikhon already knew why he had come, that he was already warned
(although nobody in the whole world could know the reason), and that if
he did not speak first, it was because he was sparing his feelings, was
afraid of his humiliation.

Footnote 5:

  After the words “wicker chair” there stood originally: “Nikolai
  Vsevolodovich was still much distracted by some inner overpowering

Footnote 6:

  After the words “looked at” originally stood: “he thought and,
  certainly, did not know of what.”

Footnote 7:

  There is struck out “ridiculous.”

“Do you know me?” he suddenly asked abruptly. “Did I introduce myself
when I came in or not? Pardon me, I am so absent-minded....”

“You did not introduce yourself, but I had the pleasure of seeing you
once about four years ago, here in the Monastery ... by chance.”

Tikhon spoke unhurriedly and evenly, in a soft voice, pronouncing his
words clearly and distinctly.

“I was not in this Monastery four years ago,” Nikolai Vsevolodovich
replied with unnecessary rudeness. “I was here only as a child, when you
were not yet here.”

“Perhaps you have forgotten?” Tikhon observed guardedly and without
insisting upon it.

“No, I have not forgotten; it would be ridiculous if I did not
remember,” Stavrogin on his part insisted rather too hotly. “Perhaps you
have merely heard about me and formed some idea, and thus made the
mistake that you had seen me.”

Tikhon remained silent. Nikolai Vsevolodovich now noticed that a nervous
shudder sometimes passed over his face, a symptom of chronic nervous

“I see only that you are not well to-day,” he said. “I think it would be
better if I went.”

He even began to rise from his seat.

“Yes, to-day and yesterday I have had violent pains in my legs and I
slept little during the night....”

Tikhon stopped. His visitor suddenly fell into a vague reverie. The
silence lasted long, about two minutes.

“You were watching me?” he suddenly asked with anxiety and suspicion.

“I looked at you, and was reminded of the expression on your mother’s
face. Externally unlike, there is much inner, spiritual resemblance.”

“There is no resemblance at all, certainly no spiritual—absolutely
none!” Nikolai Vsevolodovich grew again uneasy for no reason and too
persistent without knowing why. “You say this just ... out of pity for
my state,”[8] he said without thinking. “Ah! does my mother come and see

Footnote 8:

  There is struck out “and rubbish.”

“She does.”

“I didn’t know. She never told me. Does she come often?”

“Nearly every month, sometimes oftener.”

“I never, never heard of that. I did not know.” He seemed terribly
alarmed by that fact. “And she, of course, told you that I am mad,” he
broke out again.

“No, not exactly that you are mad—though, I’ve heard that notion too,
but from others.”

“You must have a very good memory, if you can remember such trifles. And
did you hear about the slap in the face?”

“I heard something about that.”

“You mean everything. You must have a great deal of time on your hands.
And about the duel too?”[9]

Footnote 9:

  After “And about the duel” there followed originally: “You did hear a
  great deal here.”

“And about the duel.”

“You don’t need newspapers here. Shatov warned you against me?”

“No, I know Mr. Shatov, though; but I haven’t seen him for a long time.”

“Hm.... What’s that map you have got there? Ah, the map of the last war!
What do you want with it?”

“I wanted to refer to it in reading this book. It’s a most interesting

“Let me see. Yes, the account is not bad.[10] Yet what strange reading
for you.”

Footnote 10:

  Originally “This is not a bad account.”

He drew the book towards him and gave it a cursory glance. It was a full
and able account of the circumstances of the last war, not so much from
the military point of view, however, as from the purely literary. Having
turned the book over, he suddenly put it down impatiently.

“I positively do not know why I came here,” he said with aversion,
looking straight into Tikhon’s eyes, as though he expected him to reply.

“You, too, are not feeling well!”

“No, not altogether.”[11]

Footnote 11:

  Originally “No, I am not well.”

And suddenly he related, in the shortest and most abrupt manner so that
certain words could hardly be understood, that he was subject,
especially at nights, to a kind of hallucinations, that he sometimes saw
or felt near him a spiteful being, mocking and “rational,” “in various
forms and in various characters, but it is always one and the same and I
always fly into a rage.”

Wild and confused were these revelations, as if indeed they came from a
madman. And yet Nikolai Vsevolodovich spoke with such strange frankness,
never seen in him before, with such a simplicity, quite unnatural to
him, that it seemed as if suddenly and unexpectedly his former self had
completely disappeared. He was not in the least ashamed of showing the
fear with which he spoke of his apparition. But all this was momentary
and went as suddenly as it had come.

“It’s all nonsense,” he said, drawing back with awkward irritation.
“I’ll go and see a doctor.”

“You should, certainly,” Tikhon assented.

“You speak so confidently.... Have you seen people, like me, with such

“I have, but very rarely. Indeed I remember only one such case in my
life. He was a military officer; it was after he had lost his wife, his
life companion. The other case was mere hearsay. Both men then went to a
cure abroad.[12] Have you been subject to this for long?”

Footnote 12:

  Originally “were cured.”

“For about a year, but it’s all nonsense. I’ll see a doctor. This is all
nonsense, utter nonsense. It is myself in various aspects, and nothing
else. But even as I use that phrase, you certainly think that I am still
doubtful and am not sure that it is myself, and not really the devil.”

Tikhon gave him a questioning look.

“And ... you actually see him?” he asked, dismissing, in fact, any
question of its being a false and morbid hallucination. “Do you actually
see a certain image?”

“It is strange that you should lay such stress upon this, when I have
already told you that I do see it.” Stavrogin again began to grow more
and more irritated with each word. “Of course I see it; I see it as
plainly as I see you ... and sometimes I see it and I’m not sure that I
see it, although I do see it ... and sometimes[13] I do not know what is
real: I or it ... it’s all nonsense. And can’t you possibly believe that
this is indeed the devil?” he added, breaking into a laugh and passing
too abruptly into derision. “Surely that would be more in keeping with
your profession.”

Footnote 13:

  After “although I do see it ... and sometimes” there originally
  followed “I am not sure that I see.”

“It is more likely a disease, although....”

“Although what?”

“Devils certainly exist, but one’s conception of them may be very

“And you have again just looked down,” Stavrogin broke in with an
irritating laugh, “because you were ashamed that I should believe in the
devil; but I made out that I did not believe and cunningly put the
question to you: does he or does he not really exist?”

Tikhon gave a vague smile.[14]

Footnote 14:

  After “smile” there is struck out: “And do you know, it does not suit
  you at all to cast your eyes down: it is unnatural, ridiculous, and

“Well, know then that I am not at all ashamed, and to make up for my
rudeness I will tell you, seriously and unblushingly: I do believe in
the devil, I believe canonically, in a personal, not allegorical, devil,
and I do not in the least want to extort an answer from any one; now
that’s all.”[15]

Footnote 15:

  After “all” there is struck out: “You must be awfully glad.”

He gave a nervous, unnatural laugh. Tikhon looked at him with curiosity,
with a rather timorous, yet gentle look.

“You believe in God?” Nikolai Vsevolodovich suddenly burst out.

“I do.”

“It is said, if you believe and bid a mountain move, it will move ...
though, pardon me this nonsense. Yet I am curious to know: could you
move a mountain or not?”

“If God will, I could,” Tikhon uttered quickly and calmly, again
beginning to look down at the ground.

“Well, it’s just the same as saying that God Himself could move it. But
you, you, as a reward for your belief in God?”

“Perhaps I could move it.”

“‘Perhaps.’[16] Well, that is not bad, either. But you are still

Footnote 16:

  After “perhaps” there is struck out: “That’s not bad. Why do you have
  doubts, then?”—“I believe imperfectly.”

“Through the imperfection of my belief I have doubts.”

“Why, do _you_ believe incompletely?”

“Yes ... perhaps; I do believe and not perfectly,” Tikhon replied.

“That is what I should not think, looking at you!”—he suddenly gave him
a look of some surprise, a perfectly simple look which did not at all
harmonize with the mocking tone of the preceding questions.

“Well, at any rate you do believe that, even if it be with God’s help,
you could move it, and that is something, after all. At least, you wish
to believe. And you take the mountain literally. It is a good principle.
I observed that the progressives among our Levites are greatly inclined
towards Lutheranism. Anyhow it is better than the _très peu_ of the
Archbishop, it is true, under the threat of the sword. You are,
certainly, a Christian too.” Stavrogin spoke quickly, his words now
serious, now mocking.

“May I not be ashamed, Lord, of Thy Cross.” Tikhon almost whispered it,
with a passionate whisper, and bowed his head still lower.[17]

Footnote 17:

  After “his head still lower” there is struck out: “the corners of his
  lips suddenly began twitching, quickly and nervously.”

“And can one believe in the devil, without believing in God?” Stavrogin

“Oh, there are such people everywhere.” Tikhon raised his eyes and

“And I am sure that you find such belief more respectable after all than
complete unbelief....”[18] Stavrogin began to laugh.

Footnote 18:

  After “unbelief” is struck out: “Oh, parson!”

“On the contrary, complete atheism is more respectable than worldly
indifference,” Tikhon answered, with visible gaiety and good-nature.

“Oho, that’s how you get round it!”

“A complete atheist stands on the last rung but one before absolute
faith (he may or may not step higher), but an indifferent man has no
longer any faith at all, nothing but an ugly fear, and that only on rare
occasions, if he is a sentimental man.”

“Hm ... you have read the Apocalypse?”

“I have.”

“Do you remember, ‘Write to the Angel of the Laodicean Church’?”

“I do.”[19]

Footnote 19:

  After “I do” is struck out: “They are fascinating
  words.”—“‘Fascinating,’ these are strange words for a bishop; you are
  altogether a queer fellow.”

“Where is the book?” Stavrogin began with a strange hurry and anxiety,
searching with his eyes for the book on the table. “I want to read to
you ... you have a Russian translation?”

“I know the passage, I remember it,” Tikhon murmured.

“Do you know it by heart? Read it....”

He at once looked at the ground, rested both his hands on his knees, and
impatiently prepared to listen. Tikhon repeated word for word:

“Write to the Angel of the Laodicean Church: The true and authoritative
witness of the beginning of the creations of God says Amen. I know thy
works; thou art neither cold nor hot. Would that thou wert cold or hot.
But in so far as thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I shall
spew thee out from my lips. For thou sayest: I am rich; I have
everything and need nothing; but thou knowest not that thou art
miserable, and poor and beggarly and blind and naked....”

“Enough,” Stavrogin cut him short.[20] “Do you know, I love you very

Footnote 20:

  After “Stavrogin cut him short” is struck out: “this is for those in
  the middle, this is for the indifferent ones, isn’t it?”

“I love you too,” Tikhon replied in a low voice.

Stavrogin fell silent and suddenly lapsed again into his old reverie.
This came as though in fits and now for the third time. And the “I love”
he said to Tikhon was also said almost in an impulse, at any rate
unexpectedly to himself. More than a minute passed.

“Do not be angry,” Tikhon whispered, touching his arm very lightly with
his finger and as though his courage failed him.

Stavrogin shuddered and frowned angrily.

“How did you know that I was angry?” he said hastily. Tikhon was about
to reply, when he suddenly interrupted him in inexplicable alarm:

“Why did you think that I must necessarily become angry? Yes, I was
angry; you are right; and just because I had said to you ‘I love.’ You
are right, but you are a crude cynic, you think slightingly of human
nature. There might have been no anger, had it been any one else but
myself.... Though, it does not matter about others; it concerns me.
After all, you are a queer fellow and crazy.”

He grew more and more irritated, and, strangely, made no attempt to
restrain his language:

“Listen, I do not like spies and thought-readers, at any rate those who
creep into my soul. I do not invite any one into my soul; I need no one;
I am able to shift for myself. You think I am afraid of you,” he raised
his voice and looked up defiantly; “you are quite convinced that I have
come to confide to you some ‘terrible’ secret, and you are waiting for
it with all the hermit curiosity of which you are capable. Understand
then that I will confide nothing to you, no secret, because I can
perfectly well do without you....”[21]

Footnote 21:

  Instead of “perfectly, etc.,” the original had “I don’t need you in
  the least.”

Tikhon looked at him firmly.

“It surprised you that the Lamb prefers a cold man to a merely lukewarm
one,” he said. “You don’t want to be merely lukewarm. I have a
foreboding that you are possessed by an extraordinary intention, perhaps
a terrible one. I implore you, don’t torment yourself and tell me

Footnote 22:

  After “tell everything” there is struck out: “for which you came

“And you knew for certain that I had come with something.”

“I ... guessed it,”[23] Tikhon replied in a whisper, looking down.

Footnote 23:

  After “guessed” there is struck out: “from your face.”

Nikolai Vsevolodovich was rather pale; his hands shook a little. For a
few seconds he looked motionlessly and silently, as though coming to a
final decision. At last he took out of the side pocket of his coat a few
printed sheets and put them on the table.

“These sheets are meant for circulation,” he said in a tremulous voice.
“If only one man reads them, then understand that I shall keep them back
no longer, and they will be read by every one. That is settled. I don’t
need you at all, for I have settled it. But read them ... while you are
reading them, say nothing; but after you have read them—say

“Shall I read them?” Tikhon asked irresolutely.

“Do; I am calm.”

“No; I shall not be able to read them without glasses; the printing is
pale, foreign.”

“Here are your glasses.” Stavrogin took them from the table and handed
them to him, and leant on the back of the sofa. Tikhon did not look at
him, and plunged straight into the reading.


The printing was in fact foreign: three little sheets of ordinary
small-sized writing-paper printed and stitched together. It must have
been printed secretly at a Russian press abroad, and the sheets at the
first glance looked very much like a political pamphlet. The title read:
“From Stavrogin.”

I insert the document literally in my chronicle.[24] I have allowed
myself to correct the spelling, for the mistakes are rather numerous and
have surprised me a little, considering after all that the author was a
man of education and even well-read (of course, relatively speaking).
But in the style I have made no alterations whatever, in spite of its
irregularities. It is at any rate clear that the writer was above all
not a man of letters.[25]

Footnote 24:

  After “chronicle” there is struck out: “it must be supposed that it is
  now known to many.”

Footnote 25:

  After the words “above all not a man of letters” there is written in
  Dostoevsky’s hand on the proofs “one remark, only one.” In the text of
  the opening of Chapter I., published as a Supplement to Vol. VIII. of
  the Jubilee Edition of 1906 of Dostoevsky’s Works, there is the
  following passage, which is not in the proofs:

  “I shall allow myself one more remark, although I am straying in
  advance of my story. This document is, in my opinion, a morbid work, a
  work of the devil who took hold of that gentleman. It is like this: as
  if a man were suffering from acute pain and tossing about in bed,
  trying to find a position to relieve his pain even for a moment. Not
  even to relieve the pain, but only to change it, momentarily, for
  another. In a situation like that, one of course does not bother about
  the becomingness or good sense of the position. The fundamental idea
  of the document is a terrible, undisguised craving for
  self-punishment, the need for the cross, for immolation in the eyes of
  all. And yet this need for the cross in a man who does not believe in
  the cross, does not this in itself form ‘an idea,’ as Stepan
  Trofimovich expressed himself once, on a different occasion though. On
  the other hand, the document is at the same time something wild and
  random, although evidently written with a different intention. The
  author declares that he could not help writing it, that he was
  ‘compelled,’ and this is quite likely; he would have been glad to let
  that cup pass him by, if only he could; but he indeed, so it seems,
  could not do so, and he merely snatched at a convenient excuse for a
  fresh outburst. Yes, the sick man tosses about in his bed and wishes
  to exchange one pain for another, and now the struggle with society
  appears to him the easiest position, and he throws out a challenge to

  “Indeed, in the very fact of such a document is implied a new,
  unexpected, and unforgivable defiance of society—only to find some
  enemy to pick a quarrel with!

  “And who can say? perhaps all this, the sheets and their intended
  publication, are but the same as the Governor’s bitten ear, only in a
  different shape. But why this should come into my mind now, when so
  much has already been explained, I can’t understand. I bring forward
  no proof, nor do I at all assert that the document is false, that is,
  completely made up and fabricated. Most likely the truth ought to be
  sought somewhere midway. However, I have already wandered too far in
  advance; it is safer to turn to the document itself. This is what
  Tikhon read.”

  Here ends the first chapter in the Supplement to Vol. VIII. of
  Dostoevsky’s Works, Jubilee Edition, 1906.

“From Stavrogin.

“I, Nikolai Stavrogin, retired officer, lived in the year 186.. in
Petersburg, abandoned to vice, in which I found no pleasure. For a
certain period at that time I rented three lodgings. In one of them I
lived myself and boarded and lodged, and there at that time lived Marya
Lebiadkin, now my lawful wife. My other two lodgings I rented by the
month for the purpose of an intrigue: in one I received a certain lady
who loved me, and in the other her maid, and for a time I was much
engrossed with the notion of contriving that both the lady and the maid
should meet each other at my lodging.[26] Knowing the characters of
both, I anticipated for myself great pleasure from that joke.

Footnote 26:

  After “should meet, etc.,” there is struck out: “in the presence of my
  friends and of her husband.”

“While I was gradually preparing for this meeting, I had to go more
often to one of the two lodgings in a large house in Gorokhovaya Street,
since that was the place where the maid and I met. I had only one room
there, on the fifth floor, which I rented from some Russian
working-class people. They themselves fitted themselves into the
adjoining room, which was smaller than mine and so much so that the door
dividing my room from theirs always stood open, which was what I wanted.
The husband, a clerk in some office, used to be out from early morning
till night. His wife, a woman of about forty, was occupied in cutting
down old clothes and making them up into new, and she also frequently
left the house to deliver her work. I remained alone with their
daughter,[27] who was quite a child to look at. They called her
Matryosha. Her mother loved her, but often beat her, and, as is the
custom of these people, shouted at her horribly. This little girl waited
on me and tidied up after me behind the screens. I declare I have
forgotten the number of the house. Now, upon enquiry, I find that the
old house has been demolished, and, where there were then two or three
houses, there is now one very large new house. I have also forgotten my
landlord’s name (or perhaps I never knew it even at the time). I
remember that the woman was called Stepanida, I believe, Mikhailovna.
Him I do not remember.[28] I suppose that if a search were started and
all possible enquiries made by the Petersburg police, they could be
traced. The flat was in a courtyard, in the corner. All happened in
June. The house was painted a bright sky-blue.

Footnote 27:

  After “with their daughter” is struck out: “I think her age was about

Footnote 28:

  After “I do not remember” is struck out: “who they are, from where
  they come, and where they are now, I don’t know in the least.”

“One day I missed from my table a penknife which I did not need in the
least, and which lay there for no particular reason. I told my landlady,
without thinking that she would thrash her daughter for it. But the
landlady had just been scolding the little girl[29] for the loss of some
rag, suspecting that she had stolen it, and had even pulled her hair.
When that rag was found under the tablecloth, the little girl did not
utter a single word of complaint, and just looked in silence. I noticed
that, and then for the first time I observed the face of the little
girl, which until then I had hardly noticed properly. She had fair hair,
and a freckled ordinary face, but there was much in it that was childish
and quiet, extraordinarily quiet. The mother did not like it that the
daughter made no complaint for having been beaten for nothing, and she
raised her fist, but did not strike; and just at that moment the subject
of the penknife came up. Besides the three of us, there was in fact
nobody, and only the little girl went behind my screen. The woman flew
into a rage at having for the first time punished her unjustly, and she
rushed for the broom, tore twigs from it, and thrashed the little girl
in my presence until her body was covered with scars, although the child
was already in her twelfth year. Matryosha did not cry at the thrashing,
probably because I was there, but she gave a strange sob at each blow.
And afterwards she sobbed very much for a whole hour.

Footnote 29:

  After “girl” is struck out: “(I lived with them on familiar terms, and
  they stood on no ceremonies with me).”

“But there was just this before that happened: at the very moment when
the landlady rushed for the broom to pull out twigs, I found the
penknife on my bed, where it had somehow or other fallen from the table.
Instantly it occurred to my mind not to say so, in order that she should
be thrashed. I decided on it instantaneously; in such moments my
breathing always stops. But I mean to tell the whole thing in the
plainest language, so that there can no longer remain anything

“Every unusually disgraceful, utterly degrading, dastardly, and, above
all, ridiculous situation, in which I ever happened to be in my life,
always roused in me, side by side with extreme anger, an incredible
delight. I felt exactly this in moments of committing crimes and in
moments when life was in danger. If I stole, I would feel, while
committing the theft, a rapture from the consciousness of the depth of
my vileness. It was not the vileness that I loved (here my mind was
perfectly sound), but I enjoyed rapture from the tormenting
consciousness of the baseness. In the same way each time when, standing
at the barrier, I waited for my opponent to fire, I experienced just the
same disgraceful and wild sensation; and once I did so with
extraordinary vividness. I confess that I often myself looked out for
it, because it is to me the strongest of sensations of the kind. When I
received a slap in the face (and I received two in my life), it was
there too, in spite of my terrible anger. But if the anger is checked by
it, then the delight surpasses anything that can be imagined. I never
spoke of this to any one, even by a hint, and I concealed it as a shame
and disgrace. But when I was once soundly beaten in a public-house in
Petersburg and was dragged by the hair, I did not experience that
sensation, but only an incredible anger, not being intoxicated, and I
put up a fight. But had I been seized by my hair and forced down by the
French Viscount abroad who slapped me on the cheek and whose lower jaw I
shot away for it, I should have felt a rapture and, perhaps, should not
have felt anger. So it seemed to me then.

“I tell all this in order that every one may know that the feeling never
absorbed the whole of me absolutely, but there always remained the most
perfect consciousness (on that consciousness indeed it was all based).
And although it would take hold of me to the pitch of madness, or, so to
say, obstinacy, it would never reach the point of making me forget
myself. It reached in me the point of a perfect fire, but I could at the
same time overcome it completely, even stop it at its climax; only I
never wished to stop it. I am convinced that I could live all my life as
a monk, in spite of the brutal voluptuousness with which I am gifted and
which I always called forth.[30] I am always master of myself when I
want to be. And so let it be understood that I do not claim
irresponsibility for my crimes, either on account of environment or of

Footnote 30:

  After “always called forth” there is struck out: “Having indulged up
  to the age of sixteen with extraordinary immoderation in the vice to
  which J. J. Rousseau confessed, I stopped it at the very moment which
  I had fixed, at the age of seventeen.”

“The thrashing over, I put the penknife in my waistcoat pocket and,
without saying a single word, left the house and threw it away in the
street, a long distance from the house, so that nobody should ever
discover it. Then I waited two days. The little girl, after she had
cried, became even more silent; against me, I am convinced, she had no
spite. Though she was, certainly, ashamed that she had been punished in
that way in my presence.[31] But for the shame she, like the child she
was, assuredly blamed no one but herself.[32]

Footnote 31:

  After “presence” is struck out: “she did not cry, but only sobbed
  under the blows, certainly because I stood there and saw everything.”

Footnote 32:

  After “herself” is struck out: “up till now she perhaps only feared
  me, not personally, but as a lodger, a stranger, and, I believe, she
  was very timid.”

“It was precisely during those two days that I once put to myself the
question, could I go away and give up the plan I had invented, and I
immediately felt that I could, that I could at any moment and at once.
About that time I wished to kill myself from the disease of
indifference; or rather I don’t know the reason, but during those two or
three days (for it was necessary to wait till the little girl forgot it
all) I, probably in order to divert myself from the idea which obsessed
me, or for fun, committed a theft in the rooms. This was the only theft
of my life.

“There were many people crowded in those rooms. Amongst others there
lived there a minor official with his family in two rooms; he was about
forty, not altogether a fool, and had a decent appearance, but was poor.
I did not make friends with him, and he was afraid of the company that
surrounded me there. He had only just received his salary—thirty-five
roubles. What chiefly influenced me was that I at that moment needed
money (although four days later I received money by post), so that I
stole, as though out of want, and not for fun. It was done impudently
and obviously: I simply entered his room, when he, his wife, and
children were dining in the other little room. There on the chair by the
door lay his folded uniform. The idea suddenly occurred to me when I was
in the corridor. I put my hand into the pocket and took the purse. But
the official heard a movement and looked out of his room. He, it seems,
actually saw, at any rate, something, but as he did not see it all, he,
of course, did not believe his eyes. I said that, as I was passing down
the corridor, I had come in to see the time by his clock. ‘It has
stopped,’ he said, and I went out.

“At that time I drank a great deal, and in my rooms was a whole crowd,
Lebiadkin amongst them. I threw away the purse and the small coins, but
kept the notes. There were thirty-two roubles, three red notes and two
yellow. I immediately changed one red note and sent for champagne; then
I sent the second red note, and the third. About four hours later
towards evening the official was waiting for me in the corridor.

“‘Nikolai Vsevolodovich, when you came in just now, did you by any
chance let my uniform fall off the chair ... it was by the door?’

“‘No, I don’t remember; was your uniform there?’

“‘Yes, it was.’

“‘On the floor?’

“‘First on the chair, and then on the floor.’

“‘Did you pick it up?’

“‘I did.’

“‘Well, what more do you want?’

“‘In that case, it’s all right....’

“He dared not finish, nor did he dare tell anybody in the rooms—so timid
are those people. In the lodgings every one was extremely afraid of me
and respected me. After that I liked to catch his eye a couple of times
in the corridor. Soon I got bored with it.

“After three days[33] I returned to Gorokhovaya Street. The mother was
just going out with a bundle; the man, of course, was not at home;
Matryosha and myself were left alone. The windows were open. The house
was all inhabited by artisans, and all day long from every floor was
heard the knocking of hammers or of singing. About an hour passed.
Matryosha sat in her room, on a bench, with her back to me, and occupied
with her needle. At last, she suddenly began to sing softly, very
softly, as was sometimes her way. I took out my watch and looked at the
time; it was two o’clock. My heart began beating.[34] I got up and began
approaching her stealthily. On their window-sill stood pots of geranium,
and the sun shone very brightly. I quietly sat down near her on the
floor. She started, and at first was terribly frightened and jumped up.
I took her hand and kissed it quietly, sat her down again on the little
bench, and began looking into her eyes. My kissing her hand made her
suddenly laugh like a baby, but only for one second, because she
impetuously jumped up for the second time and was in such a fright that
a spasm passed across her face. She looked at me with eyes motionless
with terror, and her lips began to twitch as if she were about to cry,
but she did not cry. I kissed her hand again, and took her on my
knee.[35] Then she suddenly pulled herself away and smiled as if
ashamed, with a wry smile. All her face flushed with shame. I was
whispering to her all the time, as though drunk. At last, all of a
sudden, such a strange thing happened, which I shall never forget and
which bewildered me: the little girl flung her arms round my neck and
suddenly began to kiss me passionately. Her face expressed perfect
ecstasy. I almost got up to go away—so unpleasant was this to me in the
little creature from the sense of pity that I suddenly felt.[36]...

Footnote 33:

  Originally “As soon as the three days were over.”

Footnote 34:

  After “beating” is struck out: “but then I suddenly asked myself: can
  I stop now, and I instantly answered that I can.”

Footnote 35:

  Originally “I kissed her face and legs: when I kissed her legs.”

Footnote 36:

  Originally “I wished to get up and go away—so unpleasant was this to
  me in such a tiny child, from a sense of pity. But I overcame the
  sudden sense of my fear and remained.”

“When all was over, she was confused. I did not try to reassure her and
no longer fondled her. She looked at me, smiling timidly. Her face
suddenly appeared to me stupid. The confusion rapidly with each minute
took an increasing hold over her. At last she covered her face with her
hands and stood in the corner with her face to the wall motionless. I
was afraid that she might be frightened again, as she had been just
before, and silently I left the house.

“I think that all that happened must have seemed to her, in the end,
infinitely horrible, a deadly horror. Notwithstanding the Russian swear
words and all sorts of queer conversations that she must have heard from
her very cradle, I am completely convinced that she did not yet know
anything. For indeed it appeared to her in the end that she had
committed an immense crime, and was guilty of a mortal sin. ‘She had
killed God.’

“That night I had the row in the bar which I mentioned in passing. But I
woke up in my rooms in the morning; Lebiadkin took me home. My first
thought when I awoke was whether she had told or not. It was a minute of
real fear, although as yet not very intense. I was very gay that morning
and extremely good-natured with every one, and the whole company was
very pleased with me. But I left them all and went to Gorokhovaya
Street. I met her downstairs in the passage. She was coming in from the
grocer’s shop where she had been sent for chicory. On seeing me she
dashed off in a terrible fright upstairs. When I entered, her mother had
just given her a cuff[37] for bursting in ‘like a maniac,’ and thus the
real reason of her fright was concealed. So far then all was safe. She
hid in a corner and did not come out while I was there. I stayed about
an hour and then went away.

Footnote 37:

  After “cuff” is struck out: “twice on her cheek.”

“Towards evening I again felt the fear, but incomparably more intense.
Of course I could deny all knowledge, but might be given the lie. Penal
servitude glimmered for me in the distance. I had never felt fear, and
all my life, except in this one case, I never before nor after was
afraid of anything—particularly of Siberia, although I might have been
deported there more than once. But this time I was frightened and really
felt fear, I don’t know why, for the first time in my life—a very
tormenting sensation. Besides, that evening in my rooms, I got to hate
her to such an extent that I decided to kill her. My chief hatred was at
the recollection of her smile. I began to feel contempt and immense
loathing for her having, after the whole thing was over, rushed off to
the corner and covered her face with her hands; an inexplicable rage
seized me, and then cold shivering, and, when towards the morning I
began to feel feverish, I was again seized with fear, but such an
intense fear that I never knew any torment more violent. Yet I no longer
hated the little girl—at any rate it did not reach such a paroxysm as on
the previous evening. I realized that intense fear completely drives
away hatred and the feeling of revenge.

“I woke about mid-day, feeling well and surprised even at the force of
yesterday’s sensations. Yet I was in a bad humour and was again
compelled to go to Gorokhovaya Street, in spite of all my aversion. I
remember that I wished intensely at that minute to pick a quarrel on the
way with any one, so long as it was a violent quarrel. But when I
reached Gorokhovaya Street, I suddenly found Nina Savelevna, the maid,
in my room, where she had been waiting for an hour already. I did not
like the girl altogether, so that she had come half afraid that I should
be angry with her for coming unasked. But I suddenly felt very glad to
see her. She was not bad-looking, but unassuming, with those manners of
which common people are very fond, so that my landlady had for long sung
her praises to me. I found them both drinking coffee together, and the
landlady highly pleased with the polite conversation. In the corner of
their room I saw Matryosha. She stood looking at her mother and at the
visitor without stirring. When I came in she did not hide as before and
did not run away. It only appeared to me that she had grown very thin
and was in a fever. I was cordial to Nina, and locked my door against
the landlady, which I had not done for a long time, so that Nina left
perfectly delighted. We left together and for two days I did not return
to Gorokhovaya Street. I was already bored with it. I resolved to put an
end to it all, to give up my rooms and leave Petersburg.

“But when I came to give notice to my landlady, I found her much worried
and distressed: Matryosha had been ill for three days, had a high
temperature, and was delirious every night. Of course I asked what she
said in her delirium (we spoke in whispers in my room); she whispered
back that she raved of ‘horrors’: ‘“I killed God,” she says.’ I offered
to have a doctor at my own expense, but she did not wish it. ‘By God’s
will it will pass without doctors; she is not in bed all the time;
during the day she gets up; she has just run round to the grocer’s
shop.’ I determined to see Matryosha alone, and, as the landlady let out
that she had to go to the Petersburg Road about five o’clock, I decided
to come back in the evening.

“I had a meal in a public-house. Exactly at a quarter past five I
returned. I always let myself in with my key. There was no one there but
Matryosha. She lay on her mother’s bed behind a screen, and I saw her
peep out; but I pretended not to have seen her. All the windows were
open. The air outside was warm, and even hot. I walked up and down and
then sat down on the sofa. I remember everything up to the last moment.
It decidedly gave me pleasure not to speak to Matryosha, but to keep her
in suspense; I don’t know why. I waited a whole hour, when suddenly she
sprang from her bed behind the screen. I heard both her feet thud upon
the floor and then fairly quick steps, and she stood on the threshold of
my room. She stood and looked silently. I was so mean that my heart
thrilled with joy that I had kept up my character and waited for her to
come first. During these days, when I had not once seen her close, she
had grown very thin. Her face had shrunk, and her head, I was sure, was

“Her eyes had grown large and gazed at me without moving, with a dull
curiosity, as I thought at first. I sat still and looked and did not
move. And then suddenly I felt hatred for her again. But I very soon
noticed that she was not in the least afraid of me, but was perhaps
rather delirious. But she was not delirious either. She suddenly began
shaking her head repeatedly at me, as simple uneducated people without
manners do when they find fault with you. And suddenly she raised her
tiny fist and began threatening from where she stood. The first moment
her gesture seemed to me ridiculous, but then I could stand it no
longer.[38] On her face was such despair as was unendurable to see on a
child’s face. She shook her tiny fist at me all the while threateningly,
and nodded her head reproachfully. I rose and moved towards her in fear,
and warily began saying something softly and kindly, but I saw that she
would not understand. Then suddenly she covered her face impulsively
with both hands, as she had done before, and moved off and stood by the
window with her back to me. I returned to my room and sat by the window.
I cannot possibly make out why I did not leave then, but remained as
though waiting for something. Soon I again heard her quick steps; she
came out of the door on to the wooden landing which led to the stairs. I
hastily ran to my door, opened it, and had just time to see that
Matryosha went into the tiny box-room, which was like a hen-roost and
was next door to the water-closet. A very curious idea shot through my
mind. To this day I can’t make out why all of a sudden this idea came
into my head—everything turned upon it. I half closed the door and sat
down again by the window. Of course, it was still impossible to believe
in this sudden idea:—‘but after all....’ (I remember everything, and my
heart beat violently).

Footnote 38:

  After “no longer” is struck out: “I rose and moved close to her.”

“After a minute I looked at my watch and noted the time with perfect
accuracy. Why I should need to know the time so precisely I don’t know,
but I was able to do it, and altogether at that moment I wanted to
notice everything. So that I remember now what I noticed and see it as
if it were before me. The evening drew on. A fly buzzed about my head
and settled continually on my face. I caught it, held it in my fingers,
and put it out of the window. Very loudly a van entered the courtyard
below. Very loudly (and for some time before) a tailor, sitting at his
window in the corner of the courtyard, sang a song. He sat at his work,
and I could see him there. It struck me that, as nobody had met me when
I passed through the gate and came upstairs, it was also, of course, not
necessary that I should be seen now when I should be going downstairs;
and I moved my chair from the window purposely so that I could not be
seen by the lodgers. I took a book, but threw it away, and began looking
at a tiny reddish spider on the leaf of a geranium, and I fell into a
trance. I remember everything up to the last moment.

“Suddenly I took out my watch. Twenty minutes had passed since she went
out of the room. The conjecture was assuming the shape of a probability.
But I determined to wait precisely fifteen minutes more. It also crossed
my mind that perhaps she had come back, and that I perhaps had not heard
her. But that was impossible: there was a dead silence, and I could hear
the hum of every small fly. Suddenly my heart began bounding again. I
looked at my watch: it was three minutes short of the quarter. I sat
them out, though my heart beat so as to hurt me. Then I got up, put on
my hat, buttoned my overcoat, and looked round the room[39]—had I left
any traces of my visit? I moved the chair closer to the window just as
it had been before. At last I gently opened the door, locked it with my
key, and went to the little box-room. It was closed, but not locked; I
knew that it did not lock, but I did not want to open it, and I stood on
tiptoe and began looking through the chink. At that moment, standing on
tiptoe, I remembered that, when I sat by the window and looked at the
little red spider and fell into a trance, I had been thinking of how I
should stand on tiptoe and peer through this very chink. I mention this
detail because I wish to prove fully to what an extent I was obviously
in possession of my mental faculties and I hold myself responsible for
everything. For a long time I peered through the chink, but it was dark
there, but not absolutely, so that at last I saw what I wanted....[40]

Footnote 39:

  After “room” is struck out: “to see if everything was in its place as

Footnote 40:

  After “what I wanted” is struck out: “I wanted all the while to be
  completely sure.”

“At last I decided to leave.[41] I met no one on the stairs. Three hours
later we were all drinking tea in our shirt-sleeves in our rooms and
playing with a pack of old cards; Lebiadkin recited poetry. Many stories
were told, and, as if on purpose, they were good and amusing, and not as
foolish as usual. Kirillov too was there. No one drank, although there
was a bottle of rum, but only Lebiadkin took a pull at it now and then.

Footnote 41:

  Instead of “at last, etc.,” originally stood: “I finally decided that
  I could leave and I went downstairs.”

“Prokhor Malov once said that ‘when Nikolai Vsevolodovich is pleased to
be cheerful and does not sulk, the whole lot of us are happy and talk
cleverly.’ I remembered this at that time; consequently I was merry,
cheerful, and not sulky. This was how it looked. But I remember being
conscious that I was simply a low and despicable coward for my joy at
having escaped and that I should never be an honest man.

“About eleven o’clock the doorkeeper’s little daughter came from the
landlady at Gorokhovaya Street, with a message to me that Matryosha had
hanged herself. I went with the little girl and saw that the landlady
herself did not know why she had sent for me. She wailed aloud and beat
her head[42]; there was a crowd and policemen. I stood about for a
time[43] and went away.

Footnote 42:

  After “beat her head” is struck out: “there was a commotion.”

Footnote 43:

  After “stood” is struck out: “in the lobby.”

“I was scarcely disturbed all that time, yet I was asked the usual
questions. But all I said was that the girl had been ill and delirious,
so that I had offered to call a doctor at my own expense. They also
questioned me about the penknife, and I said that the landlady had
thrashed her, but that there was nothing in that. Nobody knew about my
having been there that evening.[44]

Footnote 44:

  There is struck out “I heard nothing of the result of the medical

“For about a week I did not call there. I went at last[45] to give
notice about the room. The landlady was still crying, although she was
already messing about with her rags and sewing as usual. ‘It was for
your penknife that I wronged her,’ she said to me, but without much
reproach. I settled my account with her, and gave as an excuse for going
that I could not remain in a house like that to receive Nina Savelevna.
At parting, she again praised Nina Savelevna to me. When I left, I gave
her five roubles over and above what was due for the room.

Footnote 45:

  The words “after she had been long buried” are struck out.

“In the main I was sick of life, to the verge of madness. The incident
in Gorokhovaya Street, after the danger was over, I would have
completely forgotten, just as I forgot all the other events of that
time, had I not for a certain time remembered with anger what a coward I
had been.

“I vented my anger on any one I could find. About that time, altogether
for no definite reason, I took it into my head to cripple my life, but
only in as disgusting a way as possible. Already for about a year I had
been thinking of shooting myself; but something better presented itself.

“One day, as I looked at the lame Marya Timofeevna Lebiadkin, the woman
who in a sense tidied up the rooms, and at that time was not yet mad,
but simply an exalted idiot, in secret madly in love with me (which my
friends had discovered), I suddenly determined to marry her. The idea of
the marriage of Stavrogin with that lowest of creatures excited my
nerves. Anything more monstrous it was impossible to imagine.[46] At any
rate I married her, not simply because of ‘a bet made after dinner in
one’s cups.’ The witnesses were Kirillov and Peter Verkhovensky, who
happened to be in Petersburg; and lastly, Lebiadkin himself and Prokhor
Malov (who is now dead). No one else ever knew of it, and those who did
swore to keep silence. That silence always seemed to me a kind of
meanness, but it has not been broken up till now, although I intended to
make it public; now I make it public as well as the rest.

Footnote 46:

  After the word “imagine” is struck out: “I will not decide one way or
  another whether into my resolution there entered even unconsciously
  (of course, unconsciously) anger for the wild cowardice which had
  possessed me after the affair with Matryosha. Really, I do not think

“The wedding over, I went to the country to stay with my mother. I went
to distract myself.[47] In our town I had left behind me the idea that I
was mad—which idea still persists even now and undoubtedly does me harm,
as I shall explain later. After that I went abroad and remained there
four years.

“I was in the East in the monastery on Mount Athos and attended
religious services which lasted eight hours; I was in Egypt, lived in
Switzerland, travelled even in Iceland; spent a whole year at Göttingen
University. During the last year I became very friendly with a
distinguished Russian family in Paris, and with two Russian girls in
Switzerland. About two years ago, in Frankfort, passing a stationer’s
shop, I noticed amongst the photographs for sale a portrait of a little
girl, dressed in an elegant childish dress, but very much like

Footnote 47:

  After “distract” is struck out: “and because it had become

I bought the portrait at once, and when I returned to my hotel I put it
on the mantelpiece of my room. There it lay for a week untouched, and I
did not once look at it; and when I left Frankfort I forgot to take it
with me.

“I mention this fact only to prove to what an extent I could master my
memories and had become indifferent to them. I dismissed the whole lot
of them at one go _en masse_, and the whole mass obediently disappeared,
each time, directly I wished it to disappear. To recall the past always
bored me, and I never could talk about the past, as nearly all people
do, the more so that it was, like everything else concerning me, hateful
to me. As for Matryosha, I even forgot to take her picture from the
mantelpiece. About a year ago, in the spring, travelling through
Germany, I forgot absentmindedly to get out at the station where I had
to change, and so went on the wrong line. At the next station I had to
get out; it was past two o’clock in the afternoon and a fine bright day.
It was a tiny German town. I was shown to a hotel. I had to wait, for
the next train did not arrive until eleven o’clock at night. I was even
pleased with my adventure, as I was in no hurry to get anywhere. The
hotel turned out a wretched little place, but it was all wooded and
surrounded with flower-beds. I was given a very small room. I made a
large meal, and, as I had been travelling all night, I fell sound asleep
after lunch at about four o’clock in the afternoon.

“In my sleep I had a dream which was completely new to me, for I had
never had one like it. In the Dresden gallery there is a picture by
Claude Lorraine, called in the catalogue, I think, ‘Acis and Galatea,’
but I always called it ‘The Golden Age,’ I don’t know why. I had seen it
before, but about three days ago, as I passed through Dresden, I saw it
again. I even went on purpose to have a look at it, and possibly for
this alone I stopped at Dresden. It was that picture I dreamt of, but
not as of a picture, but as of a reality.

“A corner of the Greek Archipelago; blue caressing waves, islands and
rocks; fertile shore, a magic vista on the horizon, the appeal of the
setting sun—no words could describe it. Here was the cradle of European
man, here were the first scenes of the mythological world, here its
green paradise.... Here had once lived a beautiful race. They rose and
went to sleep happy and innocent; they filled the woods with their
joyful songs; the great abundance of their virgin powers went out into
love and into simple happiness. The sun bathed these islands and sea in
its beams, rejoicing in its beautiful children. Wonderful dream,
splendid illusion! A dream the most incredible of all that had ever been
dreamt, but upon it the whole of mankind has lavished all its powers
throughout history; for this it has made every sacrifice, for this men
have died on the cross and their prophets have been killed; without
this, nations will not live and are unable even to die. I lived through
all these feelings in my dream; I do not know what exactly I dreamt
about, but the rocks, the sea, and the slanting rays of the setting
sun—all these seemed to be still visible to me, when I woke and opened
my eyes and, for the first time in my life, found them full of tears. A
feeling of happiness, until then unfamiliar to me, went through my whole
heart, even painfully. It was now evening; through the window of my tiny
room, through the green leaves of the flowers standing on the sill,
poured a shaft of bright slanting rays from the setting sun, and bathed
me in their light. I quickly shut my eyes again, as if longing to bring
back the vanished dream, but suddenly, in the middle of the bright,
bright light, I saw a tiny point. The point began suddenly to take a
definite form, and all of a sudden I distinctly pictured to myself a
tiny reddish spider. At once I remembered it on the leaf of the
geranium, upon which, too, had poured the rays of the setting sun. It
was as though something were plunged through me; I raised myself and sat
on my bed.

“(That’s all how it happened then!)

“I saw before me! (Oh, not in the flesh! Would that the vision had been
true!) I saw before me Matryosha, emaciated, with feverish eyes, in
every point exactly as she was when she stood on the threshold of my
room and, shaking her head at me, threatened me with her tiny fist.
Nothing has ever been so agonizing to me! The pitiable despair of a
helpless creature[48] with an unformed mind, threatening me (with what?
what could she do to me, O Lord?), but blaming, of course, herself
alone! Nothing like that has ever happened to me. I sat, till night
came, without moving, having lost count of time. Is this what they call
remorse or repentance? I do not know, and even now cannot say.[49] But
it was intolerable to me, that image of her standing on the threshold
with her raised and threatening little fist, merely that vision of her
then, that moment ‘then,’ that shaking of her head. It is precisely that
which I cannot endure, because since then it has come to me almost every
day. Not that it comes itself, but that I bring it before myself and
cannot help bringing it, although I can’t live with it. Oh, if I could
ever see her in the flesh, even though it were an hallucination![50]

Footnote 48:

  After “creature” is struck out: “of ten years.”

Footnote 49:

  After “even now” is struck out: “The recollection of the deed itself
  is perhaps not even now loathsome to me. Perhaps the memory of it even
  now contains something which is gratifying to my passions.”

Footnote 50:

  After “hallucination” is struck out: “I have other old memories,
  perhaps, worse than this. There was a woman whom I treated worse, and
  she died of it. I killed two men in a duel who had done me no harm. I
  was once mortally insulted, and did not avenge myself. I have it to my
  account that I poisoned some one, deliberately and successfully,
  without being found out. If necessary, I will confess it all.”

“Why, then, do no other of the memories of my life rouse in me anything
like this?—and I had indeed many memories, perhaps much worse in the
judgment of men. They rouse merely hatred in me, and that only because
they are stimulated by my present state; but formerly I forgot them
callously and dismissed them from my mind.

“I wandered after that for nearly the whole of the following year, and
tried to find some occupation. I know I can dismiss the thought of
Matryosha even now whenever I want to. I am as completely master of my
will as ever. But the whole point is that I never wanted to do it; I
myself do not want to, and never shall.[51] So it will go on until I go

Footnote 51:

  After “shall” is struck out: “of this I am perfectly sure.”

“In Switzerland two months later I was seized with a fit of the same
passion and one of the same furious impulses which I used to have
before.[52] I felt a terrible temptation to commit a new crime, namely,
to commit bigamy (for I was already married). But I fled on the advice
of another girl to whom I had confided almost everything, even that I
had no love for her whom I desired so much, and that I could never love
any one. Moreover, the fresh crime would not in any way rid me of

Footnote 52:

  Originally “In Switzerland I was able two months after that to fall in
  love with a girl, or, to speak more accurately, I experienced a fit,

“Thus I decided to have these little sheets printed and three hundred
copies sent to Russia. When the time comes, I shall send some of them to
the police and to the local authorities; simultaneously I shall send
them to the editors of all newspapers with a request that they shall be
published; I shall also send them to a number of people in Petersburg
and in Russia who know me. They will also come out in a translation
abroad. I know that I shall, perhaps, not be worried by the law, at any
rate not to any considerable extent. It is I who am informing against
myself and I have no accuser; besides, the evidence is extraordinarily
slight or non-existent. Finally, the rooted idea that I am mentally
unbalanced and, certainly, the efforts of my family, who will make use
of that idea, will quash any legal prosecution that might threaten me.
By the way, I make this statement in order to prove that I am now of
sound mind and understand my situation. But there will remain those who
will know everything and will look at me, and I at them.[53] I want
every one to look at me. Will it relieve me? I don’t know. I come to
this as to my last resource.

Footnote 53:

  Originally “And the more of those, the better.”

“Once more: if a good search be made by the Petersburg police, perhaps
something might be discovered. The landlady and her husband might be
living even now in Petersburg. The house, of course, must be remembered.
It was painted a bright sky-blue. For myself, I shall not go anywhere,
and for a certain length of time (a year or two) I shall always be found
at Skvoreshniki, my mother’s estate. If required, I will appear



                             CHAPTER IX[54]

Footnote 54:

  This is how the chapter is numbered in the original.

THE reading lasted for about an hour. Tikhon read slowly, and, possibly,
read certain passages twice over. All the time Stavrogin had sat silent
and motionless.[55] Tikhon took off his glasses, paused, and, looking up
at him, was the first to begin to speak rather guardedly.

Footnote 55:

  After “motionless” the following is struck out: “It is strange that
  the signs of impatience, absentmindedness, and even of delirium, that
  had been in his face all that morning, almost disappeared, and gave
  place to calmness and a kind of sincerity, that gave him an air almost
  of dignity.”

“Can’t certain corrections be made in this document?”

“Why should there? I wrote sincerely,” Stavrogin replied.

“Some corrections in the style should....”

“I forgot to warn you,” he said quickly and peremptorily, pulling
himself up, “that all you say will be useless; I shall not postpone my
intention; don’t try to dissuade me. I shall publish it.”

“You did not forget to tell me that, before I began to read.”

“Never mind,” Stavrogin interrupted peremptorily, “I repeat it again:
however great the force of your objections may be, I shall not give up
my intention. And observe that, by this clumsy or clever phrase—think of
it what you like—I am not trying to get you at once to start arguing and
coaxing me.”[56]

Footnote 56:

  After “coaxing” is struck out: “he added, as though he could no longer
  keep it up, and suddenly fell again for a moment into his former tone,
  but he immediately smiled sadly at his words.”

“I shall not argue with you, still less coax you, to give up your
intention, nor could I do it either. Your idea is a great idea, and it
would be impossible to express more perfectly a Christian idea.
Repentance cannot go further than the wonderful deed which you have
conceived, if only....”

“If only what?”

“If it were indeed repentance and indeed a Christian idea.”

“I wrote sincerely.”[57]

Footnote 57:

  Before the words “I wrote sincerely” there is struck out: “This seems
  to me a subtlety; does this really matter....”

“You seem deliberately to wish to make yourself out coarser than your
heart would desire....” Tikhon gradually became bolder. Evidently “the
document” made a strong impression on him.

“‘Make myself out’? I repeat to you, I did not ‘make myself out,’ still
less did I ‘pose.’”[58]

Footnote 58:

  The phrase “Make myself out, etc.,” is struck out.

Tikhon quickly cast his eyes down.

“This document comes straight from the needs of a heart which is
mortally wounded,—am I not right in this?” he said emphatically and with
extraordinary earnestness. “Yes, it is repentance and natural need of
repentance that has overcome you, and you have taken the great way, the
rarest way. But you, it seems, already hate and despise beforehand all
those who will read what is written here, and you challenge them. You
were not ashamed of admitting your crime; why are you ashamed of


“You are ashamed and afraid!”


“Mortally. Let them look at me, you say; well, and you, how will you
look at them? Certain passages in your statement are emphasized; you
seem to be luxuriating in your own psychology and clutch at each detail,
in order to surprise the reader by a callousness which is not really in
you. What is this but a haughty defiance of the judge by the accused?”

“Where is the defiance? I kept out all personal discussion.”

Tikhon was silent. His pale cheeks flushed.

“Let us leave that,” Stavrogin said peremptorily. “Allow me to put to
you a question on my side: we have now been talking for five minutes
since you read that” (he nodded at the pages), “and I do not see in you
any expression of aversion or shame.... You don’t seem to be

He did not finish.[59]

Footnote 59:

  After “he did not finish” is struck out: “You mean you would like me
  immediately to express to you my contempt,” Tikhon said firmly.

“I shall not conceal anything from you: I was horrified at the great
idle force that had been deliberately wasted in abomination. As for the
crime itself, many people sin like that, but they live in peace and
quiet with their conscience, even considering it to be the inevitable
delinquency of youth. There are old men, too, who sin in the same
way—yes, lightly and indulgently. The world is full of these horrors.
But you have felt the whole depth to a degree which is extremely rare.”

“Have you come to respect me after these pages?” Stavrogin said, with a
wry smile.

“I am not going to answer that straight off. But there certainly is not,
nor can there be, a greater and more terrible crime than your behaviour
towards the girl.”

“Let us stop this measuring by the yard.[60] Perhaps I do not suffer so
much as I have made out, and perhaps I have even told many lies against
myself,” he added suddenly.

Footnote 60:

  There is struck out: “I am somewhat surprised at your opinion about
  other people and about the ordinariness of such a crime.”

Tikhon once more let this pass in silence.[61]

Footnote 61:

  After the sentence “Tikhon, etc.,” is struck out: “Stavrogin had no
  thought of going away; on the contrary he began again for some minutes
  to fall into a reverie.”

“And the young lady,”[62] Tikhon began again, “with whom you broke off
in Switzerland; where, if I may ask, is she ... at this moment?”

Footnote 62:

  After “lady” is struck out: “very timidly.”


There was silence again.

“Perhaps I did lie much against myself,” Stavrogin persisted once more.
“Well, what does it matter that I challenge them by the coarseness of my
confession, if you noticed the challenge? I shall make them hate me
still more, that’s all. Surely that will make it easier for me.”[63]

Footnote 63:

  All this passage, from “Well” to “easier for me,” is struck out.

“That is, anger in you will rouse responsive anger in them, and, in
hating, you will feel easier than if you accepted their pity.”

“You are right. You understand.” He laughed suddenly. “They may perhaps
call me a Jesuit and sanctimonious hypocrite after the document, ha, ha,
ha! Yes?”

“Certainly there is sure to be some such opinion. And do you expect to
carry out your intention soon?”

“To-day, to-morrow, the day after to-morrow, how do I know? But very
soon. You are right: I think, indeed, it will in the end happen that I
shall publish it unexpectedly, and, indeed, in a revengeful, hateful
moment, when I hate them most.”

“Answer me one question, but sincerely, to me alone, only to me,” Tikhon
said in quite a different voice; “if some one forgave you for this”
(Tikhon pointed at the pages), “and not one of those whom you respect or
fear, but a stranger, a man whom you will never know, if, reading your
terrible confession, he forgave you, in the privacy of his heart—would
you feel relieved, or would it be just the same to you?”

“I should feel easier,” Stavrogin said in an undertone. “If you forgave
me, I should feel very much relieved,” he added, casting his eyes down.

“Provided that you forgive me too,” Tikhon murmured in a penetrating

Footnote 64:

  After the words “Tikhon murmured, etc.,” there is struck out: “For
  what? What have you done to me? Ah, yes, it is the monastic
  formula!”—“For voluntary and involuntary sin. Every man who commits a
  sin has already sinned against all, and every man is in some way
  guilty for another’s sin. There is no solitary sin. As for me I am a
  great sinner, and perhaps worse than you.”

“It is false humility. All these monastic formulas, you know, are not
fine in the least. I will tell you the whole truth: I want you to
forgive me. And besides you—one or two more, but as for the rest—let the
rest rather hate me. But I want this, so that I may bear it with

“And universal pity for you—could you not bear it with the same

“Perhaps I could not.[65] Why do you....”[66]

Footnote 65:

  After “I could not” is struck out: “You understand very finely,

Footnote 66:

  After “Why do you” is struck out: “do this.”

“I feel the extent of your sincerity and am, of course, very much to
blame, but I am not good at approaching people. I have always felt it a
great fault in myself,” Tikhon said sincerely and intimately, looking
straight into Stavrogin’s eyes. “I just say this, because I am afraid
for you,” he added; “there is an almost impassable abyss before you.”

“That I shan’t be able to bear it? Not able to endure[67] their hatred?”
Stavrogin gave a start.

Footnote 67:

  After “endure” is struck out: “with humility.”

“Not their hatred alone.”

“What else?”

“Their laughter.” Tikhon half whispered these words, as if it were more
than he had strength for.

Stavrogin blushed; his face expressed alarm.

“I foresaw it,” he said; “I must have appeared to you a very comic
character after your reading of my ‘document.’[68] Don’t be
uncomfortable. Don’t look disconcerted. I expected it.”

Footnote 68:

  After the word “document” is struck out: “in spite of all the

“The horror will be universal and, of course, more false than sincere.
People fear only what directly threatens their personal interests. I am
not talking of pure souls: they will be horrified in themselves and will
blame themselves, but no notice will be taken of them—besides they will
keep silent. But the laughter will be universal.”[69]

Footnote 69:

  After “the laughter will be universal” is struck out: “and add to it
  the remark of the philosopher that in other people’s misfortune there
  is always something gratifying to us.”—“That is true.”—“Yet ... you
  ... yourself.”

“I am surprised what a low opinion you have of people and how they
disgust you.” Stavrogin spoke with some show of anger.

“Believe me, I judged rather by myself than by other people!” Tikhon

“Indeed? but is there also something in your soul that makes you amused
at my misery?”

“Who knows, perhaps there is? oh, perhaps there is!”

“Enough. Tell me, then, where exactly am I ridiculous in my manuscript?
I know myself, but I want you to put your finger on it. And tell it as
cynically as possible, tell me with all the sincerity of which you are
capable. And I repeat to you again that you are a terribly queer

“In the very form of this great penance there is something ridiculous.
Oh, don’t let yourself think that you won’t conquer!” he suddenly
exclaimed, almost in ecstasy. “Even this form will conquer” (he pointed
to the pages), “if only you sincerely accept the blows and the spitting.
It always ended in the most ignominious cross becoming a great glory and
a great strength, if the humility of the deed was sincere. Perhaps even
in your lifetime you will be comforted!...”

“So you find something ridiculous in the form itself?”[70] Stavrogin

Footnote 70:

  After “form” is struck out: “in the style.”

“And in the substance. The ugliness of it will kill it,” Tikhon said in
a whisper, looking down.

“Ugliness! what ugliness?”

“Of the crime. There are truly ugly crimes. Crimes, whatever they be,
the more blood, the more horror in them, the more imposing they are, so
to say, more picturesque. But there are crimes shameful, disgraceful,
past all horror, they are, so to say, almost too inelegant....”

Tikhon did not finish.

“You mean to say,” Stavrogin caught him up in agitation, “you find me a
very ridiculous figure when I kissed the hands of the dirty little
girl....[71] I understand you very well, and that is why you despair for
me, that it is ugly, revolting—not precisely revolting, but shameful,
ridiculous, and you think that that is what I shall least of all be able
to bear.”

Footnote 71:

  After “dirty little girl” is struck out: “and all that I said about my
  temperament and, well, all the rest ... I see.”

Tikhon was silent.[72]

Footnote 72:

  After “Tikhon was silent” is struck out: “Yes, you know people, that
  is, you know that I shan’t bear this.”

“I understand why you asked about the young lady from Switzerland,
whether she was here.”

“You are not prepared, not hardened,” Tikhon said timidly in a whisper,
casting his eyes down; “you are uprooted, you do not believe.”

“Listen, Father Tikhon: I want to forgive myself, and that is my object,
my whole object!” Stavrogin suddenly said with gloomy ecstasy in his
eyes. “Then only, I know, that vision will disappear. That is why I seek
boundless suffering. I seek it myself. Don’t make me afraid, or I shall
die in anger.”

The sincerity was so unexpected that Tikhon got up.

“If you believe that you can forgive yourself and attain that
forgiveness in this world through your suffering; if you set that object
before you with faith, then you already believe completely!” Tikhon
exclaimed rapturously. “Why did you say, then, that you did not believe
in God?”

Stavrogin made no answer.

“For your unbelief God will forgive you, for you respect the Holy Spirit
without knowing Him.”

“Christ will forgive too?” asked Stavrogin, with a wry smile and in a
quickly changed tone; and in the tone of his question a suspicion of
irony could be heard.

“It says in the Book: ‘And whosoever shall offend one of these little
ones,’ you remember. According to the Gospel there is no greater

Footnote 73:

  The fourteenth proof-sheet ends here—there appears to be something

“Quite plainly, you don’t want a row, and you are laying a trap for me,
venerable Father Tikhon,” Stavrogin muttered scornfully and with
annoyance, making as if to get up; “in a word, you want me to settle
down, to marry, perhaps, and end my life as a member of the local club,
and visit your monastery on holidays. Why, that’s penance! isn’t it so?
though as a reader of hearts you, perhaps, foresee that it will
certainly be so, and all that is needed now is for me to be nicely
wheedled into it for form’s sake, since I am only too eager for
that,—isn’t it so?”

He gave a wry smile.

“No, not that penance, I am preparing another for you!” Tikhon went on
earnestly, without taking the least notice of Stavrogin’s smile and

“I know an old man, a hermit and ascetic, not here, but not far from
here, of such great Christian wisdom that he is even beyond your and my
understanding. He will listen to my request. I will tell him about you.
Go to him, into retreat, as a novice under his guidance, for five years,
for seven, for as many as you find necessary. Make a vow to yourself,
and by this great sacrifice you will acquire all that you long for and
don’t even expect, for you cannot possibly realize now what you will

Stavrogin listened gravely.

“You suggest that I enter the monastery as a monk.”[74]

Footnote 74:

  After the word “monk” is struck out: “However much I respect you, I
  ought to have expected this. Well, I must confess to you, that in
  moments of cowardice this idea has occurred to me—once having made
  these pages universally known, to hide from people in a monastery, be
  it only for a time. But I blushed at the meanness of it. But to take
  orders as a monk, that did not occur to me even in moments of most
  cowardly fear.”

“You must not be in the monastery, nor take orders as a monk; be only a
lay-brother, a secret, not an open one; it may be that, even living
altogether in society....”

“Enough, Father Tikhon.” Stavrogin interrupted him with aversion and
rose from his chair. Tikhon also rose.

“What is the matter with you?” he suddenly exclaimed almost in fear,
staring at Tikhon. Tikhon stood before him, with his hands clasped, and
a painful convulsion seemed to pass for a moment across his face as if
from the greatest fear.

“What’s the matter with you? What’s the matter?” Stavrogin repeated,
rushing to him in order to support him. It seemed to him that Tikhon was
going to fall.

“I see ... I see, as if it stood before me,” Tikhon exclaimed in a voice
which penetrated the soul and with an expression of the most violent
grief, “that you, poor, lost youth, have never been so near another and
a still greater crime than you are at this moment.”

“Calm yourself!” pleaded Stavrogin, decidedly alarmed for him. “Perhaps
I shall still postpone it.... You are right....”

“No, not after the publication, but before it, a day, an hour, perhaps,
before the great step, you will throw yourself on a new crime, as a way
out, and you will commit it solely in order to avoid the publication of
these pages.”

Stavrogin shuddered with anger and almost with fear.[75] “You cursed
psychologist!”—he suddenly cut him short in fury and, without looking
round, left the cell.

Footnote 75:

  The words “Stavrogin, etc.,” are struck out and several variants
  substituted, none of which, evidently, satisfied Dostoevsky.


                           PLAN OF THE NOVEL

                      _THE LIFE OF A GREAT SINNER_


                      _THE LIFE OF A GREAT SINNER_

                                                                 Page 8.

20/8 December.

—Accumulation of wealth.

—The birth of strong passions.

—Strengthening of the will and of the inner powers.

—Measureless pride and struggle with ambition.

—The prose of life and a passionate belief that incessantly overcomes

—That all should plead; I only demand.

—Not to be afraid of anything. The sacrifices of life.

—The influence of vice; the horror and coldness from it.

—A desire to defile every one.

—The romance of the years of childhood. Maccary.[76]

Footnote 76:

  This is in Roman letters in Dostoevsky’s MS.

—Schooling and first ideals.

—Gets to know everything secretly.

—Alone, to prepare himself for anything.

(He is incessantly preparing himself for something, although he does not
know for what, and—what is strange—he does not care about _the what_, as
though perfectly sure that it will come of itself.)

—Either slavery or domination. He believes. And that only. Unbelief for
the first time—strangely springing up and taking shape only in the
monastery. The little lame girl. Katya. Brother Misha. The Stolen Money.
Underwent punishment. Fearlessness. A Cornfield. Do not kill me, Uncle.
Love of Kulikov. John. Brutilov. The Frenchman Pougot. Upbraids
Brutilov. Goes on with his studies. The diver. _Albert._[77] Shibo.
Receiving the communion. _Albert_ does not believe in God. The old
people. Loves a great many things secretly and keeps them to himself.
They call him a brute and thus he behaves like a brute. Passionate
desire to surprise all by unexpectedly impertinent tricks? But not from
ambition. By himself. The old people. Songs, Therese-Philosophe John,
Brin, Brutilov—Brother, _Albert_. Friends, and yet they torture a
friend; disgusting. A meek, good and pure friend before whom he blushes.
Training himself by hardships and accumulating money. _Humboldt._

Footnote 77:

  Throughout the MS. Dostoevsky writes this name and Lambert (see below)
  in Roman characters.

They immediately inform him that he is not their brother.

He makes friends with Kulikov. The lady doctor. He sees her in a halo. A
passionate desire to foul himself, to degrade himself in her eyes, but
not to please her. A theft took place. They accuse him, he exculpates
himself, but the affair becomes clear. The step-brother committed the

                                                                 Page 7.

[Sidenote: A strong and permanent trait.]

Disrespect for the people round him, but this is not yet based on
reason, but solely on a repulsion for them. Much repulsion. I eat
grapes. He is beaten and flogged for his repulsion. He only shuts
himself up in himself and hates still more. Haughty contempt for his
persecutors, and rapidity of judgment. Extraordinary quickness of
judgment signifies a strong passionate individuality. He begins to feel
that he ought not to make quick judgments and for this he must
strengthen his will.

[Sidenote: First signs of expansiveness.]

[Sidenote: The mother’s boys are at Sushar’s and at Chermak’s. (Their
           repulsion comes from stupidity.)]

—It is a lie, mon Mushvar.

Arkashka and French conversations.

Arkashka, Brutilov and himself keep together.

At Sushar’s—only Brutilov and his history; altogether two chapters—

All up. Because he slapped Sushar. The beginning of _Albert_.

The boarding-school. An unjust punishment takes place in the house.
Exams. In the country. Self-renunciation. Katya. In the town and in the
boarding-school he surprises by his brutality. _Lambert._ Heroic acts—to
run away with Katya. Kulikov, with him. Murder. He does not forgive any
lie or falsehood and without reasoning instantly rushes into a fight.
For a long time he does not believe Katya, then he put her to the test
and at last intimidated her with the disgrace.

—Strength of will—this he set before himself as the chief thing.

—After Kulikov, he immediately goes to ask about the lame girl.

Just here they caught him.

—In the country the lady doctor falls in love with him.

He caught her with a lover.

The lady doctor. Mr. Alfonsky—characters.

                                                                 Page 9.

At the house of the old people. With the old man—reading Karamzin,
Arabian tales—On Suvorov, etc. On interest on money. He offended the
younger old lady. Ask pardon, I do not want to. He locked them in.
Death. Anna and Vasilissa ran away. They sold Vasilissa. The last
communion. The first confession. Repulsion. Is there a God? Bible and

                               January 2.

He smashed the mirror deliberately.

He decides to keep silent and not to say a single word—

—St. mother: why do you make a show of yourself as a sacrifice? (An
ideal and strange creature.)

Alfonsky, the father. (His speeches to his son and aspirations.)

—A feeling of destruction.

[Sidenote: How many sciences must one know (his conversation with

—Voluptuousness (he wants to remain in this state until he has money).

—And the enormous idea of domination (a direct feeling) is hidden so
deep in him that he does not feel able, by himself, to adjust himself to
these people.

He is surprised at himself, puts himself to the test, and loves to
plunge into the abyss—

—The running away with the little girl and the murderer Kulikov
immediately after his removal from Sushar’s to Chermak’s. (The fact
which produces an overwhelming effect on him and which has even somewhat
unsettled him so that he feels a natural need to contract inwardly and
to reflect so as to lean on something.) He leans after all on money.

[Sidenote: Of God meanwhile he does not think.]

[Sidenote: His silence ends after a year and a half by his confession
           about Kulikov.]

After Kulikov, he is humble at home and in the boarding-school in order
to reflect and

find himself,

to concentrate.

—But he is unsociable and uncommunicative, nor could it be otherwise,
remembering and knowing such a horror, and looking at all the other
children, for instance, as at something perfectly alien to him, from
which he had fled away into another path, into a good path or a bad one—

The blood at times torments him. But the _chief thing_:

[Sidenote: (He is violently carried away by something, by _Hamlet_, for

           The Inhabitants of the Moon.]

It is not this alone that isolates him from everybody, but really his
dreams of power and his enormous height above everything.

From that height he is kept back by science, poetry, etc., _i.e._ in the
sense that these are higher things and that it is therefore necessary
that he should be higher and better in them too.

Only to prepare oneself, but he is strangely _certain_ that it will all
come by itself. Money will solve _all_ questions.

_The chief thing._ The meaning of the first part—Hesitation, insatiable
desire for the ideal, instinctive consciousness of superiority, power
and strength. Looking for a fixed point to rest upon. But at any rate an
unusual man.

                                                            Page 11.[78]

Footnote 78:

  At the top of page 11 is the sentence: “Scenes (cows, tigers, horses,

or better:—Not a single dream of what to be and what’s his vocation
prevented him from amassing money.

—But doubt is always solved by the necessity of money and the chance of
amassing a fortune (he sells himself to the men-servants).

[Sidenote: Concerning a horse that went mad, or a fire.]

The father gave him a flogging—a rupture between them—I do not consider
you my father.

—He sells himself to the men-servants, and for this he is held in
general contempt, but

—Finds a pocket-book—the infatuation that possessed him finally on
account of his exam.—he nearly yields.

But after this the history of Katya’s disgrace, and then the hellish
debauchery with _Albert_, crime and blasphemy and denouncing himself as
accessory to the murder with Kulikov—_straight into the abyss_. The

—Although money concentrates him terribly on a certain _firm_ point and
solves _all_ questions, at times the _point_ wavers (poetry and many
other things) and he cannot find a way out. This state of _wavering_
forms the novel.

—Strengthening of his will, wounds and burns—feed his pride. He wishes
to be ready for anything.

—He made up his mind to make money in an honest way. His hesitation with
regard to the pocket-book.

—Since a great many things at times _move_ him sincerely, in a terrible
fit of spite and pride he plunges into debauchery.

(_This is the chief thing._)

—His estrangement from people was furthered by the fact that they all
looked upon him as an eccentric and laughed or feared him.

—A broken head (pantalons en haut), he is ill.

Then Chermak left him alone. (Mango.)

—By the process of thinking he arrived at the conclusion, for instance,
that it is not necessary to act _dishonestly_, because acting _honestly_
he would make money even _better_, since to the rich all privileges for
any evil are granted even without that.

—_Albert_ and he steal a star from the crown and escape successfully
(_he_ incited), but when _Albert_ began to blaspheme, he began beating
him. And then he declared himself before the court as an atheist.

—Idea: that he could gain a still greater power by flattery, like Von

But no—he thinks—I want to reach the same end without flattery.

                                                                Page 12.

I myself am God, and he makes Katya worship him. (God knows what he does
with her. “I shall love you then when you can do everything.”)

—In the vagaries of his imagination he has endless dreams, up to the
overthrow of God and putting himself in the place of God. (Kulikov had a
strong influence.)

_Problem._ Memento.

     To find the mean    │Act 1. Early Childhood, the old man and
     proportional.       │  woman.

                         │" 2. The family, Sushar, the running
                         │  away and Kulikov—

                         │" 3. Chermak—exams.

                         │" 4. The Country and Katya, debauchery
                         │  with _Albert_.

                           20 Childhood.
                           20 Monastery.
                           40 Before deportation.
                           20 Woman and Satan.
                           40 Heroic Acts.

—Repulsion for people from the very first consciousness as a child
(through the passion of a proud and domineering nature). Out of

—“I will carry it with a high hand, shan’t degrade myself with the
flattery and dexterity of a Brin.”

—And this too is from repulsion for people and from contempt for them
from the earliest years of childhood—

—“Oh, if I only took upon myself the rôle of a flatterer like Brin,—what
could I not achieve!”

—And begins at times to reason: “Shall I not become a flatterer? (he
consults the lame girl about it). This too is a power of the spirit—to
_endure oneself as a flatterer_. But no, I do not want it, it is
foul—besides I shall have an instrument—money, so that they,
willy-nilly, whether they choose or not, will all come to me and bow to

                                    With Kulikov he displays his
                                    spiritual power.

                                    Kulikov does not kill him; but
                                    the murderer, the runaway
                                    soldier, they killed together.

 35 years ago
 born in 1835.

If any one overheard his dreams, he believes he would die; but he
confesses himself in everything to the lame girl.

—Whatever he reads, he tells in a peculiar way of his own to the lame

—“A slap in the face is the greatest offence.” With blood.—

—The first organized dream of the significance of money.

—The lame girl keeps everything _he_ is telling her secret—she does it
without thinking, without his command, having subtly realized it for
herself, so that in most cases he does not remind her of the necessity
of keeping things secret.

The lame girl does not agree to become an atheist.

He does not beat her for that.

                                                                Page 13.

—A single, but detailed psychological analysis of how writers, for
instance, “The Hero of Our Time” (Lermontov), affect a child.

—The indignation of a child at the guests as they arrive; at the
frankness and impertinence which they allow themselves. (Uvar) “How dare
they?”—the child thinks.

—The fall of the old couple.

—The theatre. Sit on my knees—

—They flog him for his repulsion.

—When he and the little girl come to live with the Alfonskys, he tells
her not to say a word about Gogol or about what concerns us, about
travels. She should not say a word.—

—He has read an immense amount (Walter Scott, etc.).

—At the Alfonskys—not brothers. He is made to feel it.

—He pretends to be rude, undeveloped, and a fool.

—With the men-servants.

—Mrs. Alfonsky suggests the idea that they should not mix with the

—At Sushar’s. Alfonsky flogs him. It turns out to be for no fault.

—Mrs. Alfonsky has invented, the running away. With Kulikov—Caught.

—A guest: they call him. They examine him. Candid thoughts.

The guest is surprised.—The house is set on fire, or something—illness.

—_Alfonsky delivers speeches._

—At Chermak’s. Progress in studies, reading. Exam.

—After Exam. Alfonsky makes some one fall in love with—Alfonsky

For the lame girl. With Katya. A cornfield.—Family scenes—Alfonsky, his
friend, a box on the ear.

                         In Moscow, _Lambert_—

About classical education at Chermak’s (Herr Teider).


                                Jan. 27

He is astonished that all these (grown up) people completely believe in
their nonsense, and are much more stupid and insignificant than they
seem from the outside.

(One of the _scholarly_ guests, falls down intoxicated and goes with
gypsies in the Maryin Woods.)

A period of unbelief in God. Essential to write how the New Testament
had affected him. He agrees with the Gospel.

The chief thing meantime is his own _I_ and his interests. Philosophical
questions engage him in so far as they touch him.

                                                            Page 14.[79]

Footnote 79:

  On this sheet Dostoevsky noted: _To begin to send out on Feb. 22, Jan.
  27._ Under the name of _Lambert_ stands the name of the author. On the
  top are several dates—Feb. 10, 15, 22.


The lame girl: and I will tell how you said that you will be a king (or
something ludicrous).

—He wounds her for this—

     _Lambert_ and _he_—a complete  Of what does he speak with the
     picture of depravity. But      lame girl? Of all his dreams—
     _Lambert_ is intoxicated with
     it and finds nothing higher
     than this. National levity.

     But _he_ plunges into          When I am grown up, I shall
     debauchery with an             marry not you. So that it is
     irresistible desire, but also  not necessary to say he dreamt
     with fear. The hollowness,     of this or that, but he went
     dirt, and absurdity of         to the lame girl and said to
     immorality astonish him. He    her this or that. Of what he
     gives it all up and after      will be and of money. _He beat
     terrible crimes he denounces   her_ _because the money did
     himself with bitterness.       not increase._

                                    He talked to her about the
                                    reading of Karamzin, tales,
                                    etc. He was taught French and
                                    German by the young lady, the
                                    old, etc. They went for their
                                    lessons to other children
                                    (there they made fun of him).

                                    Because the lame girl did not
                                    flare into a passion for
                                    Karamzin—he beat her.

                                    He knew the whole Bible—he
                                    told her.

                                    —The history of the world—but
                                    was weak in geography.

     (Dreams of travels, Kul and    He meets Umnov who proves that
     the lame girl.) They read      he knows more than he. Coming
     novels.—He is highly developed home he tells the lame girl
     and knows a great deal about   that Umnov is a fool and knows
     many things. He knows Gogol    nothing and gave the lame girl
     and Pushkin. He never pretends a slight beating; after that
     tenderness for the lame girl   he pays great attention to
     until the time when he carried Umnov.
     her in his arms.—


Do it—cut me off, I don’t want you to study together with my children.

—When the old couple used to be very drunk and roll about, the lame girl
used to cry over them. At first he beat her, but then ceased.

—They killed a goose.—

—The Bible. Jacob bowed three times. He gets muddled with the Bible. The
lame girl laughs.

—The habit of beating her; he did not want to kiss her.

                                    (The lame girl was not frozen
                                    to death.

                                    They found her. But she
                                    disappeared from the house of
                                    the Alfonskys.)

His incessant thinking. From the time he began to remember himself: What
shall I be and how shall I do it all?

Then doubt: is power alone worth everything and could one not be the
slave of all the strongest.

He began training his will power. He is stung by passions.


                                                                Page 16.

That in each line should be heard: I know what I am writing and I am not
writing in vain.

1. _The First Pages._—(1) The tone, (2) ideas to be artistically and
concisely fitted in.

THE FIRST N.B.—_The Tone_ (the story is a _life_—_i.e._ although from
the author, it must be concise, without being meagre in explanations,
but also representing by means of scenes. In this harmony is needed).
The concision of the story is at times that of Gil Blas. As though no
importance is attached (by the author) to dramatic and scenic passages.

But the dominating idea of the Life should be seen,—_i.e._ although the
whole dominating idea is not explained and is always left vague, the
reader should always realize that the idea is religious, that the Life
is of such importance that it is worth while to begin even from the
years of extreme childhood—also, in the selection of that in which the
_story_ consists, of all facts, there is continuously displayed
(_something_) and the man to be is constantly exhibited and set on a

_Chief Nota Bene_: He began saving money from a vague idea, but that
idea was all the time becoming solid, and showing itself to him in the
further development of the affair.

But the chief impulse was his coming to live at Alfonsky’s.

                                    (1) Caught a mouse.
                                    The lame girl.
                                    The old couple.

                                   │The nurse, bathing, the badge,
                                   │  and retirement.

                                   │Anna and Vasilissa ran away.

                                   │The last communion (the
                                   │  Italian, money from pocket)—

          When I shall be grown up.│The first idea.

                                   │The teacher (drunk).

                                   │The first confession, what has
                                   │  he got there in the little
                                   │  boxes, and in the cup? Is
                                   │  there a God?

                                   │To convert the Devil.

      The beating of the lame girl. The corpse by the hedge.

                                    Vasilissa was sold—

                                    Interest on money and
                                      conversations with the

                                    Readings. On Suvorov. Arabian

                                    Dreams.—Umnov and Gogol—(the
                                      lame girl laughs).

                                    —The old couple grow weaker
                                      and weaker.

                                    He locked them in. He got

                                    Stole with the boy. Thrashed

                                    Fighting with older boys.

                                    —Complete depravity.

                                    He beats the lame girl to make
                                      her fight the boys.

                                    She would like to come out,
                                      but she was thrashed and she

                                    Dreams of power and will.
                                      Umnov (looks at naked girls,
                                      tries to assault the lame

When the old couple died—he is eleven years old, and the lame girl is
ten,—Alfonsky—The old man and woman. Death. He makes a speech to the
lame girl upon how to behave.

—Before that: They teased the lady—fell on her, they were dragged home,
flogging—He was afraid to complain.

The first fight, he rushed to beat the gentleman with the badge.

I shall never play the coward.

—I’ll learn not to play the coward. (He was afraid, but thrashed the

—He cut himself for a test.

—Instruction from the boy as to fornic...on (Therese-Philosophe gave him
a beating for it).

But the book she took away from him.

He began to save money.

To amass (he tells the lame girl).

The lame girl was taken into the Alfonsky family before.[80]

Footnote 80:

  On the left-hand margin Dostoevsky wrote, beginning at the words “They
  caught a mouse” and continuing to this point, “To squeeze all this
  into four folios (maximum).”

He, directly he arrived, puts her through an examination. (Advice to
her: do not speak of Gogol and of nothing of ours.)

First part. The boy is wild, but thinks a tremendous lot of himself.


                                                                Page 18.

—The man-servant Osip—at first he was taken into the house to amuse them
by telling stories, by his jovial character. _Alfonsky_ had whipped
Osip’s brother to death, then he took Osip and pressed him for the army.
Immediately Osip escaped (he is also Kulikov). They killed Orlov. They
part. Kulikov (Osip) let him off.

—In a year and a half’s time the hero’s step-mother weeps at Alfonsky’s
betrayal of her. He keeps a mistress openly. Osip’s sister (for that
reason he whipped Osip’s brother to death). Alfonsky is killed by the
peasants (?).

_The Canvas of the Novel._—The hero’s step-mother, Alfonsky’s wife (a
society lady), when she pined, becoming an old maid, had a fiancé (an
officer or some one—teacher).

But she married Alfonsky. Unhappy and offended by Alfonsky (she slapped
his mistress in the face) she renewed relations with her first lover who
happened to turn up at that time. The boy saw them kissing. “You may
report it to your father,” and then begged him not to tell. The boy kept
silence; but Alfonsky knows that his son knows that he has horns and
that the step-mother has a lover.

He made a row in the village on account of the lame girl. He mocked
Katya. The mother was beside herself because of Katya. In town with
_Lambert_—and so on.

_Here_ (Al——y) who made a row in the village, the peasants _might_ have
killed him, which the boy might witness,—and—

                                     (I may make up about the
                                    step-mother and her lover, and
                                    to what extent and degree the
                                    boy is _involved_ in that

—Alfonsky has a benefactor—and indeed his chief enemy, because he is a
benefactor. All the benefactor’s favours humiliate his pride. The
benefactor does not like to live unless he can act the part of
benefactor, but for one inch of favour demands three yards of gratitude.
Both humiliate themselves, humiliate each other, and hate each other to
the verge of illness.


                                                                Page 17.

—The extraordinary pride of the boy has the result that he can neither
pity nor despise these men.

Nor can he be very indignant with them. He cannot sympathize either with
his father or mother. At the exam, he distinguished himself
unexpectedly,—he wanted to appear an imbecile. He despises himself
greatly because he could not restrain himself and distinguished himself.

—The dangerous and uncommon idea that he is to become an extraordinary
man possessed him from his first childhood. He thinks of it incessantly.
Cleverness, skill, learning—all these he wishes to acquire as a means to
being extraordinary in the future.

Again money seems to him at least not unnecessary, a power useful on all
occasions, and he decides on money:

Knowledge appears to him terribly difficult.

Now again it seems to him that even if he is not to be an extraordinary
man, but most ordinary, money will give him everything,—_i.e._ power and
the right to despise—

And at last he repents and is tormented in his conscience because he
wishes so basely to be extraordinary.

But he himself does not know what he will be.

The pure ideal of a free man flashes across him at times; all this when
at the boarding school.


—He made friends with Osip, about the Khlysti, they almost sleep

—Umnov; he knows Gogol by heart.


                                                                Page 70.

Monastery—God give us and all animals a good night—(To make a study of
Humboldt’s description of animals, Buffon and the Russians.)

—Science as worship.

—About the bear.

—Of his first love and how he became a monk—(chastity).

—On the nature of Satan?

—Anikita goes to Chaadaev to exhort him. He calls Tikhon: the latter
comes, argues, and then asks to be forgiven.

—On little insects and the universal joy of _Living Life_, Tikhon’s
inspiriting stories.

—His friendship with the boy, who allows himself to torment Tikhon by
pranks. (The devil is in him.)

—Tikhon learns of Therese-Philosophe—He blesses him in his downfall and

—Tikhon’s clear stories about life and happiness on earth. Of his
family, father, mother, brothers. Extraordinarily simple and therefore
moving stories from Tikhon of his transgressions against his people, of
pride, ambition, mockery (I wish I could unmake all this again now,
Tikhon says).

This alone is in itself moving, that he has become friends with the boy.

Tikhon’s story of his first love, of children, it is lower to live as a
Monk; one must have children, and it is _higher_ when one has a

—Therese-Philosophe disturbed Tikhon. And I thought that he had already
been hardened. He vowed obedience to the boy. He obeys him.

(Loftily, vigorously, and movingly.)

Tikhon says to a certain lady that she is a traitor to Russia as well as
a malefactor towards her children; of how they are deprived of childish
visions even from their very childhood. The study of them (by Leo
Tolstoi and Turgenev), although they are exact, reveals an alien life.
Pushkin alone is a real Russian.

The boy has at times a low opinion of Tikhon: he is so funny, he does
not know things, he is so weak and helpless, he comes to me for advice,
but at last he perceives that Tikhon’s mind is as strong as a babe is
pure; that he cannot have an evil thought, cannot be tempted, and
therefore all his acts are clear and beautiful.


                                                                Page 71.

Tikhon. On humility (how mighty humility is).

All about humility and free will.

—Of forgiving the unforgivable sinner (that this torment is the most

                                                                Page 19.

The Main Idea.

          May 3/15.

After the Monastery and Tikhon the Great Sinner comes out into the world
in order to be _the greatest of men_. He is sure that he will be the
greatest of men. And in that way he behaves: he is the proudest of the
proud and behaves with the greatest haughtiness towards people. The
vagueness as to the form of his future greatness coincides perfectly
with his youth. But he (and this is cardinal) has _through Tikhon_ got
hold of the idea (conviction) that in order to conquer the whole world
one must conquer oneself only. Conquer thyself and thou shalt conquer
the world. Does not choose a career, but neither has he the time: he
begins to watch himself profoundly. But along with this there are also
certain contradictions:

(1) Gold (amassing) (a family on his hands); amassing money was
suggested to him by a usurer, a terrible man, the antithesis of Tikhon.
(2) Education (Comte—Atheism—Friends). Education—He is tormented by
ideas and philosophy but he masters that which is essential.

Suddenly youth and debauchery. A martyr’s act and terrible crimes.
Self-renunciation. But out of mad pride he becomes an ascetic and
pilgrim. Travels in Russia. (Romance of love. Thirst for humiliation),
etc., etc., and so on.

                         (The canvas is rich.)
                         Fallings and risings.

Extraordinary man—but what has he done and achieved.

_Traits._—Out of pride and infinite haughtiness towards people he
becomes meek and charitable to all because he is already higher than

He wanted to shoot himself (a child was exposed at his door).

He ends with establishing a Foundling Hospital and becomes a Haase.[81]
Everything is becoming clear.

He dies confessing a crime.

Footnote 81:

  F. M. Dostoevsky had evidently in mind the famous Russian doctor and
  philanthropist Haase.




                               V. FRICHE



                      FROM DOSTOEVSKY’S NOTE-BOOKS

BISHOP TIKHON, to whom Stavrogin makes his “Confession,” was conceived
by Dostoevsky as one of the principal characters in the
great—unnamed—novel in five books, the plan of which he communicated in
1870 to A. N. Maikov. The action of the second book, on which Dostoevsky
rested all his hopes, was to take place in a monastery to which a boy,
who had committed a criminal offence, had been sent by his parents. He
was “fully developed and depraved” (a type, as Dostoevsky says, well
known to him), “a little wolf and a nihilist,” who comes in the end to
feel the beneficent influence of Bishop Tikhon. “I want to make Tikhon
Sadonsky in the second book the central figure,” Dostoevsky wrote, “of
course under a different name, but he is also a bishop and will live in
a monastery in retirement.... It is no longer a Konstanjhoglo, nor the
German (I forget his name) in _Oblomov_, nor the Lopukhovs and
Rakhmetovs. True, I shall not create anything, but shall only reveal the
actual Tikhon whom I have long since taken to my heart with rapture.”

When Dostoevsky later conceived the idea of _The Life of a Great
Sinner_, the hero of _The Life_, “sometimes a believer, sometimes an
atheist,” had indeed to be spiritually reborn in a monastery under the
influence of the “holy and grand” figure of Tikhon, and to issue into
life as “the greatest of men.”

When Dostoevsky finally decided on his conception of _The Possessed_,
his intention was to give a conspicuous place to Tikhon, to whom
Stavrogin (the prince) was to give his Confession, and this Confession
adds considerably to Peter Stepanovich Verkhovensky’s story about the
Petersburg period of Nikolai Vsevolodovich’s life (_The Possessed_, Part
I. chap. v.).

In the notes published by L. P. Grossman in his book on Dostoevsky
(notes taken from the Dostoevsky Note-books in the Historical Museum),
there are hints as to Stavrogin’s (prince) meeting with Tikhon, and also
as to the subject of their conversation and the crime of which Stavrogin
repents in his Confession.

Thus Dostoevsky intended the following words to appear in Stavrogin’s
“document”: “And I did all this as an aristocrat, an idler, a man
uprooted from the ground. I admit, though, that the chief factor was my
own wicked will, and had nothing to do with my environment; of course
nobody commits such crimes. But all, who are uprooted from the ground,
do the same kind of things, although more feeble and watery. Many people
do not even notice their nasty acts and think themselves honest.”

Tikhon, who in the note appears under the name of “Bishop,” advises that
this passage shall be struck out, and Stavrogin replies in a grumbling
tone: “I am not a man of letters.”

This passage is not in Stavrogin’s Confession. The idea that many people
sin in the same way, yet go on living (“in peace and quiet with their
conscience”), is expressed there not by Stavrogin, but by Tikhon. And it
is Tikhon, not Stavrogin, who says that the latter’s moral fall is a
result of his being uprooted from the ground (words inserted by
Dostoevsky in the text of the proofs while correcting them).

In these published notes there is also some indication of the motive
which decided Stavrogin to make his “document” public:

“Tikhon says: On earth people must be happy.

“(Prince): I am an idler and I am bored. I know that on earth one can be
happy (and must be happy) and that there is something which gives
happiness, but I do not know what it is. No, I am not one of the
disappointed. I think I am one of the corrupt and idle.

“The Prince says to him: I want to test my strength and I will tell you
about the little girl.”

As can be seen from Stavrogin’s Confession, he did commit his crime from
“boredom.” Not satisfied with Stavrogin’s admission of this in the text,
Dostoevsky tried to heighten the motive by adding the following words in
the margin: “I say frankly, I was sometimes by no means far from
thinking that I should be exiled to Siberia. The main thing is—I am
bored. I was so bored that I could have hanged myself, I think. I
remember, at that time I was much taken up with theology. That, it is
true, diverted me a bit, but later I felt still more bored.”

Finally, in one of the notes published by Grossman the reason is
indicated why Stavrogin, when it comes to the point, gives up the idea
of publishing his “document”: “the Bishop says that the confession of
faith is all right, but that faith without deeds is dead, and he demands
a still higher deed, a still more difficult act, a _moral labour_, as if
he said: ‘Well, Prince, are you capable of this?’ And the Prince admits
that he is a Prince, he confesses that he has lied and takes back his
words: in the end—Uri.”[82]

Footnote 82:

  _I.e._ the idea of Stavrogin’s going away with Dasha to Switzerland
  and living there as a Swiss citizen.

To these notes of Dostoevsky, which are already known, we are now able
to add a series of new notes taken from Dostoevsky’s Note-book which is
in the Central Archives (No. 15 in A. G. Dostoevsky’s list).

On page 30 we find:

    “Lisa[83] pays attention to Nechaev.[84]

    He kills Shatov.

    Lisa is convinced that _he_ (Stavrogin) had killed him.

    She hurries off to him.

    (Meanwhile the Prince[85] and Tikhon; before that the Prince and
        Shatov. Everything as before.)

    Lisa runs away with Nechaev. St. Tr.[86] And the book-pedlar. He
        dies. The Prince hanged himself. Everything as before.”

Footnote 83:

  Lisa, _i.e._ Elisabeth Nikolaevna Drosdov.

Footnote 84:

  Nechaev became Peter Verkhovensky.

Footnote 85:


Footnote 86:

  Stepan Trofimovich, Peter Verkhovensky’s father.

This, clearly, is quite a different version of the end of the novel so
far as it relates to Lisa. Another indication as to the meeting of
Tikhon and Stavrogin is found on page 37:

    “Sum total. Stavrogin as a character.

    All noble impulses to a monstrous degree.

    (Tikhon) and all passions (_with unfailing boredom_).

    He throws himself on the girl[87] and on the beauty.[88]

    He did not really love the beauty but despised her, but flared up
        with passion (illusory and momentary, but infinite) and, as soon
        as he has committed the crime, he is disappointed. He escaped
        punishment, but hanged himself.”

Footnote 87:

  Dasha or Darya Pavlovna.

Footnote 88:

  Elisabeth Nikolaevna.

There is also a hint with regard to one detail in the supposed
conversation between Tikhon and Stavrogin. On page 38 we find: “He
confesses to Tikhon that he gets fun out of making game of the beauty.”
But actually Stavrogin does not make game of Elisabeth Nikolaevna, and
she is scarcely mentioned in the Confession and in the conversation with

There is also a hint with regard to the crime committed by Stavrogin on
page 37: “No one knows the secret of the marriage[89] except Dasha and
the beauty. Only Tikhon knows about the little girl.”

Footnote 89:

  Stavrogin’s marriage to the lame girl.

Finally, on page 36 there is a hint with regard to the passage in the
novel to which Stavrogin’s meeting must be referred: “Stavrogin advises
Dasha to give up S. T. and run away with him to Switzerland, to Uri. He
had already done this before. Here there is a misunderstanding with S.
T., who, to spite her, tells her he is a cuckold ... and Dasha goes to
her brother. At the same time (the beauty showed jealousy) she warns him
that Stavrogin is married to the lame girl. The beauty is in despair,
since all her hopes are lost (for she suspects that the prince is in
love with her, and she herself is madly in love with him); she laughs at
Dasha; she runs and gives herself to the prince. Immediately after this
the murder of the lame girl.

                       (He went to Tikhon).”[90]

Footnote 90:

  Below is added: “The prince buries the lame girl, and Kuleshov (Fedka
  the murderer) confesses that it was he who did it.... And the beauty
  quickly went out of her mind.”

Such are the hints and notes out of which eventually grew the chapters
of “At Tikhon’s,” and we do not know the reason why they were not
included by Dostoevsky in _The Possessed_. Some details of Stavrogin’s
Confession were later used by Dostoevsky for the character of Versilov
in _The Raw Youth_.



                       TO THE UNPUBLISHED CHAPTER


                            _THE POSSESSED_

                             V. KOMAROVICH


                        THE UNPUBLISHED CHAPTER


                            _THE POSSESSED_

THE chapter of _The Possessed_, Stavrogin’s confession of his terrible
crime, excluded from the completed novel, first became known to
Merezhkovsky. Mrs. F. M. Dostoevsky (Anna Gregorievna Dostoevsky,
Dostoevsky’s widow) originally intended to invite Merezhkovsky to edit
the 1906 Jubilee Edition of Dostoevsky’s Works and showed him the
precious fragment in manuscript. In his book, _Tolstoi and Dostoevsky_,
M. preserved his first impression of that reading by saying that it
surpasses the bounds of the possible in its concentrated expression of
horror. A. G. Dostoevsky hesitated to publish the chapter in full, and
gave parts of it only in her edition of 1906 as a supplement to _The
Possessed_. Her hesitation is understandable: Stavrogin’s terrible
confession was not a complete secret even to Dostoevsky’s
contemporaries. Excluded from the novel at Katkov’s request, the
Confession became known by hearsay, and round these rumours grew up the
dark legend of Dostoevsky as a Marquis de Sade. It was the doing of his
enemies and of faithless friends.[91] But the feeling which kept the
author’s widow from publishing the fragment of _The Possessed_ must not
restrain the student of Dostoevsky. Indeed, the dark legend that
Dostoevsky was a sensualist is based (by N. Strakhov chiefly) either on
an obscure calumny, or on coarse and callous surmises as to the mystery
of that troubled and too exacting conscience which was the mark of
Dostoevsky’s character. And we believe that the surest way of freeing
Dostoevsky’s memory from those false accusations is by means of open
enquiry and the fullest understanding of Dostoevsky as an artist.

Footnote 91:

  See Turgenev’s letter of Sept. 24, 1882, to Schedrin; also N. N.
  Strakhov’s letter of Nov. 28, 1883, to Leo Tolstoi.

“The scene from Stavrogin (the rape, etc.),” of which Strakhov speaks in
the letter to Tolstoi, is preserved in the Dostoevsky Archives which
belong to the Pushkin Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences.[92]
It is a note-book of seventy-seven pages carefully executed in the
handwriting of A. G. Dostoevsky, a copy, although unfinished, of a
hitherto unknown manuscript of Dostoevsky. It is not difficult to
determine the place which had been intended for that fragment in _The
Possessed_. The manuscript is headed “Chapter IX. At Tikhon’s.” From the
contents it can be seen that the chapter so numbered must be referred to
Part Second of the novel. In our fragment the following incidents are
supposed to have already taken place: Shatov’s box on Stavrogin’s ear
(the last chapter of Part I.) and Stavrogin’s conversation with Shatov
in the night (the first chapter of Part II.). On the other hand
Stavrogin’s public declaration of his marriage with Maria Timofeevna
(Chapter X. Part II.) is only expected and is still being considered by
Stavrogin and Tikhon. Thus, our Chapter IX. ought to follow immediately
after Chapter VIII. of Part II. (“Ivan the Tsarevich”), where the
maddened Peter Verkhovensky confesses in a passionate whisper his
incredible love of Stavrogin, and where Stavrogin—in the highest state
of tension (as was ever the case with Dostoevsky)—reveals his true self.
(Stavrogin as Ivan Tsarevich, the unknown “he” of all Russia, is hiding
himself, the “beautiful” and “sun,” but through Verkhovensky’s wiles is
already enslaved by the demon of nihilism.) Yet Stavrogin has two ways
and two inclinations which constitute the basis and centre of the novel
so far as it affects the religious destinies of Russia. Apart from the
temptations of nihilism, he, like the future Aliosha Karamazov, knows
also the way to the monastery and to religious obedience. Thus after the
embraces of the devil—Verkhovensky (in Chapter VIII.)—there is the
confession to Tikhon (in our Chapter IX.).

Footnote 92:

  The author of this article, published in _Builoe_, No. 18, 1922, seems
  at the time of writing to have been ignorant of the version of
  Stavrogin’s Confession published by the Central Archives.—TRANSLATORS.

The question which has to be answered first by the student of this
fragment is the question of its relation to the text of the finished
novel, _The Possessed_. Is this Chapter IX. a part of the artistic
whole, which, against the artist’s wish, has accidentally been omitted,
and which therefore must now be restored to its proper place in that
whole? Or is it one of those numerous fragments of Dostoevsky’s, which,
corresponding to some early but subsequently altered scheme of the
novel, have been detached from the finished novel, and have not been
included in the final text by the artist, but are now preserved only in
Dostoevsky’s rough manuscripts as curious examples of the complex origin
of his books? As to the first of these suppositions, the words of N.
Strakhov, which there is no reason to distrust, speak quite clearly.
“The scene from Stavrogin (the rape, etc.) Katkov did not want to
publish.” Thus the omission of the chapter “At Tikhon’s” from the novel
did not arise from the artist’s decision, but from an external cause,
the request of the editor of the _Russkìi Vèstnik_ where _The Possessed_
was appearing.

Strakhov’s evidence is confirmed by the connection which exists between
the omitted Chapter IX. and Dostoevsky’s creative activity generally,
and also with _The Possessed_ as an artistic whole.

The motif of a cruelly insulted little girl, developed in Stavrogin’s
Confession, is evidently one of Dostoevsky’s long-standing and enduring
ideas. In the year 1866, at the time of his friendship with the family
of the Korvin-Krukovskys, Dostoevsky told this idea of his as “a scene
from a novel planned by him in his youth.” The hero of the novel one
morning goes over all his recollections in memory, and “suddenly in the
very heat ... of pleasant dreams and bygone experiences begins to feel
an awkwardness—something like an inner pain, an alarm.... It appears to
him that he must recollect something, and he makes efforts, strains his
memory.... And suddenly, he actually called to mind, as vividly and
realistically as if it had happened yesterday ... whereas for all these
twenty years it had not worried him at all. He remembered how once,
after a night of debauchery and under provocation from his friends, he
had raped a little girl of ten.”[93]

Footnote 93:

  _Reminiscences of Childhood_, by Sophie Kovalevsky.

The connection between this idea and Stavrogin’s Confession is
indisputable. The recollection of a sin after a long forgetfulness leads
straight to the closing scene of Stavrogin’s Confession and to the last

But there are several connecting links between that idea (which in 1866
he thought of as of long standing and remote) and Chapter IX. of _The
Possessed_. Putting aside _Crime and Punishment_, where Svidrigailov’s
vision before his death is also an echo of that idea, _The Life of a
Great Sinner_, which was conceived by him in the years 1869 and 1870,
was without doubt to have developed the theme of the injured girl.

The hero of _The Life_ was meant to show by the whole course of his
existence the religious consistency of life in general, and the
inevitability of the acceptance of God. _The Life_ in its first parts
was to tell the story of the constant and increasing immersion of man in
sin. To the artist this utter absorption of the hero in sin was a
necessity. Here Dostoevsky by artistic experiment tested one of his
dearest and most secret ideas—his belief that each personality and man’s
life on earth generally will not desert, nor can desert, the kingdom of
the Grace of the Spirit so long as it preserves itself entire; that sin
has nothing ontological in itself; that man’s soul is by its very nature
a “Christian.” If the notes of _The Life_ are read attentively, one sees
how Dostoevsky tries to bring the sin and downfall of his hero to the
utmost limits, to the last boundary—and this is in order that
Dostoevsky’s optimistic belief in the essential illumination of life
through Grace should be more strikingly justified, and should prevail in
the end of _The Life_ where “everything is becoming clear,” and the
(“great”) sinner turns to God and dies confessing his crime.

Sin, the deepest sin, is not innate in, but accidental to, man—this
belief of Dostoevsky’s dominated _The Life_, and led the artist to
contrive situations in which the extremes of sin could be shown. To
Dostoevsky the violation of the little girl was an extreme of this sort.
This theme was provided by the writer with a view to the religious
trials of the hero of _The Life_, for among the notes of the plan there
is the following: “He makes an attempt on the lame girl....”

It should be plain that Dostoevsky’s interest in this conception had
risen not from personal recollections, and was not maintained by them,
but by the artist’s desire to find some adequate way of expressing in
the plot his religious conception of the world.

But it is not only the conception of Chapter IX. that is anticipated by
the plan of _The Life_. There is a deeper and closer connection between

The note, “he makes an attempt on the lame girl,” occurring in the plan,
is closely connected as a particular development of the general idea
with the other note, “straight into the abyss.” But this last is
intimately connected with another and quite different note, brief but of
great significance in the eyes of Dostoevsky, “The Monastery.” The Great
Sinner, the violator of the little girl, doing penance to Tikhon in the
monastery, was meant to form the second part of _The Life_, and in the
plan is sketched out by independent notes.

It is at the same time the artistic skeleton of our Chapter IX. of _The
Possessed_. The relations between Tikhon and the Great Sinner merely
anticipate the dialogue between Stavrogin and Tikhon. “He vowed
obedience to the boy” (_i.e._ Tikhon to the Great Sinner); “Friendship
with the boy who allowed himself to torture Tikhon by pranks (The devil
is in him).” These notes are closely related to those passages of the
dialogue of Chapter IX. where Tikhon humbly lowers himself before
Stavrogin, asks to be forgiven, confesses his love for Stavrogin, while
Stavrogin is haughty and mocking.... “The boy has at times a low opinion
of Tikhon, he is so funny, he does not know things, he is weak and
helpless, comes to me for advice; but at last he realizes that Tikhon is
strong in mind, as a babe is pure, and that he cannot have an evil

This note appears already as a simple sketch of the dialogue between
Stavrogin and Tikhon, in which the relations of the sinner and the
ascetic are depicted in this double way by vacillations between
suspicious mockery and adoration.

The close correspondence between Stavrogin’s Confession and the plan of
_The Life_ can be explained by the history of the logical construction
of _The Possessed_. That novel grew from the complicated re-fashioning
of the originally simple idea which, as it grew larger and broader, drew
into itself fragments of _The Life_, which had been conceived at the
same time, but had not yet been executed. Stavrogin’s appearance in _The
Possessed_ in the part of the principal hero marks a comparatively late
stage in the conception of that novel, which coincides with Dostoevsky’s
determination not to write _The Life_. Stavrogin’s character introduced
into the novel the broad religious and artistic problems of _The Life of
a Great Sinner_. The Great Sinner’s meeting with Tikhon and his
confession was an organic part of _The Life_, foreseen by Dostoevsky
even in the first moments of inspiration.[94]

Footnote 94:

  See Dostoevsky’s _Biography_, _Letters_, etc., pp. 202, 233, etc., in
  the original.

In so far as Stavrogin is the Great Sinner, his meeting with Tikhon and
confession (_i.e._ our Chapter IX.) are a necessary part of _The
Possessed_. This conclusion is justified by Dostoevsky’s direct
evidence. There is no doubt that Dostoevsky had Chapter IX. (At
Tikhon’s) in view when he says to Katkov, in his letter of October 8,
1870, that in _The Possessed_, which was at that time being published in
the _Russkìi Vèstnik_, he “wants for the first time ... to deal with a
certain group of people which has as yet been little dealt with in
literature. I take Tikhon Sadonsky to be the ideal of such a character.
He too is a priest living in a monastery in retirement. With him I
confront the hero of my novel and bring them together for a time.”[95]
That is, up to the end of writing the novel, Dostoevsky himself
considered that Chapter IX. was a necessary, inseparable, and essential
part of it. The relationship between _The Life of a Great Sinner_ and
_The Possessed_ explains that necessity.

Footnote 95:

  See “Dostoevsky as contributor to _Russkìi Vèstnik_” in _Builoe_, No.
  14, 1919; F. M. D.’s unpublished letters from 1866 to 1873.

Turning to the completed text of _The Possessed_, we find signs of the
seemingly accidental disappearance of Chapter IX. Without that chapter
certain details of the novel appear to be incomplete. Stavrogin, when he
awoke “looking stubbornly and curiously at an object in the corner of
the room which had struck him, although there was nothing new or
particular there....”[96] Shatov, seeing Stavrogin out, says to him:
“Listen, go and see Tikhon ... Tikhon, the late Bishop, who through
ill-health lives in retirement in this city, in our Yefimev-Bogorodskii
Monastery.”[97] The first two details (we could indicate others) are,
without Chapter IX., superfluous and have no artistic foundation. And
only Stavrogin’s confession about the devil who persecutes him, only his
meeting and conversation with Tikhon, only Chapter IX., give to these
details the sense of that anticipation of motive which Dostoevsky was so
fond of using.

Footnote 96:

  See _The Possessed_ (original), Edition 1888, vol. vii. pp. 212-213.

Footnote 97:

  See _ibid._ p. 238.

Finally, by excluding Chapter IX. from the novel, we violate the
characteristic grace of Dostoevsky’s construction. We violate
Dostoevsky’s aesthetic principle, according to which the action in its
early stages advances by motives concealed from the reader, and only
when it approaches the catastrophe is the hidden cause immediately made
clear by the hero’s lengthy confession. Such a “belated exposition” is
Raskolnikov’s theory, communicated only after the murder. “The Revolt”
and “The Legend of the Great Inquisitor”—Ivan Karamazov’s Confession—are
communicated to the reader only after he already knows that Ivan has
consented in his own mind to patricide (“Voluptuaries”). There is also
the case of Versilov’s confession to his son—after the absurd letter to
Madame Ahmakov and immediately before the catastrophe. Stavrogin’s
confession before the catastrophe, together with events in the last
chapter of the second part and the chapters of the third part,
correspond perfectly to this obviously characteristic principle in the
construction of Dostoevsky’s novels.

Such are the reasons for thinking that Chapter IX. was accidentally
excluded and that it is necessary to restore it to its proper place in
the novel.

There are, however, reasons leading to an opposite solution of the
question, and they are the more convincing.

If we compare the character of Stavrogin, as he appears in the novel,
with the new material which our fragment (Chapter IX.) adds to that
character, important and deep-seated contradictions are at once
apparent. A pale mask concealing behind itself indifference to good and
evil—such is Stavrogin as we know him in the novel. Chapter IX.
ostensibly brings to life that dead inert force by means of his
religious experiences. Here Stavrogin’s Confession, however absurdly
expressed, is a penance, _i.e._ the act of a live religious will. “You
have discovered a great way, an unheard-of way,” Tikhon says to
Stavrogin, “to punish yourself in the eyes of the whole world by the
disgrace which you have deserved; you submitted to the judgment of the
whole church, without believing in the church.” There is also a true
humility in Stavrogin: “You ... speak to me exactly as to an equal,” he
says to Tikhon; and Tikhon replies: “Your saying that I speak to you as
to an equal, although involuntary, is a splendid saying.” And finally,
the last verdict of the confessor: “For your unbelief God will forgive
you, for you truly respect the Holy Spirit without knowing him.” If this
Confession were included in the novel, then Stavrogin’s end, his
callous—in a religious sense—suicide, would be perfectly impossible and
artistically unprepared for. A man who “truly respects the Holy Spirit”
could not have written the letters before his death to Darya Pavlovna;
Dostoevsky would have prepared a completely different end from the end
of Stavrogin for the elect of the Spirit: “the citizen of the canton of
Uri hanged here behind the door, etc.”

This inconsistency in the principal character of the novel, which arises
if Chapter IX. is included, clearly forbids any such inclusion. Besides,
there are direct proofs that at the time he finished work on _The
Possessed_, and also later, Dostoevsky considered that Chapter IX. was
excluded from the novel. The words of the Apocalypse, “And to the Angel
of the Laodicean Church,” would hardly have been repeated by Dostoevsky
at the end of the novel in the last talk of Stepan Trofimovich with the
“book-pedlar,” if he had not considered that Chapter IX. was finally
excluded from the text.

Although _The Possessed_ was published more than once after 1871,
Dostoevsky, though no longer bound by Katkov’s censorship, did not
include Chapter IX. And finally, the following fact gives us the
clearest evidence as to how Dostoevsky regarded the fragment in relation
to the text of _The Possessed_: a considerable part of Stavrogin’s
Confession was inserted by Dostoevsky almost without alteration in the
confession of Versilov (_The Raw Youth_), in 1874.[98] The artist might
have used for the new novel the material of the rough draft of the
preceding novel, but could not possibly have used a fragment of the
authentic text.

Footnote 98:

  Compare the passage in Stavrogin’s Confession from “A year ago, in the
  spring, going through Germany, I absentmindedly left the station
  behind me,” to the words “A whole shaft of bright slanting rays from
  the setting sun rushed out and poured their light over me,” with the
  corresponding passage of Chapter VII., Part III., of _The Raw Youth_,
  third edition, 1888, pp. 461-462.

Thus, both the completeness of Stavrogin’s character and the definitely
expressed wish of the author compel us to conclude that Chapter IX. was
not accidentally omitted, but did not belong to the novel. It is a
variant of the manuscript, but nothing more. How then are we to
reconcile this conclusion with the one which tells in favour of the
opposite solution? Surely Dostoevsky’s letter of October 8, 1870, to
Katkov clearly refers to our fragment as a necessary part of the novel.

The date, although it coincides with the beginning of the publication of
the novel, does not fix the final moment of the conception of _The
Possessed_. The autumn of 1870 is the time when the idea of _The
Possessed_ had become closely related in Dostoevsky’s mind with the idea
of _The Life of a Great Sinner_. Stavrogin is almost identified with the
hero of _The Life_. And since the crisis of that Life, as it was
planned, was the repentance of the sinner and his conversion to God with
Tikhon’s help, Dostoevsky had then planned the same conversion for
Stavrogin. At that moment (the final moment in the creation of the
novel, for the first part was already being published) Dostoevsky might,
indeed, have thought that Chapter IX.—the story of the meeting of the
sinner with Tikhon and the beginning of his repentance—was necessary.

The second part of the novel was evidently written by Dostoevsky with
the determination to show the “great sinner” (Stavrogin) converted. Our
Chapter IX. corresponds to the “serene” Stavrogin who does not appear in
the novel, and of whom a few hints are preserved in the rough draft
which no doubt issue from the idea of _The Life_.

The hesitation and vacillation as to the plan of the novel spread over
so long a time that, when he was finishing the second part of the novel
(Chapter IX.), Dostoevsky was even nearer to the plan of _The Life of a
Great Sinner_ than to the form which _The Possessed_ finally took. He
still meant to represent his great sinner, Stavrogin, in the light of
Grace. But, as he worked on the last chapter of the novel and approached
the catastrophe in the third part, Dostoevsky evidently realized that it
was impossible to carry out the religious and artistic objects which he
had in view. Dostoevsky did not find himself possessed of the artistic
powers needed to convert the Great Sinner, and everything that was
leading up to the expected conversion (Chapter IX.) was abandoned. Only
an echo of his original intention is left—not in the novel even, but on
the first page, in the quotation from the Gospels of the promise to the
sinner that he shall find salvation at the feet of Christ. The crimes of
the hero appeared to the writer at the end of his work suddenly, and
against his expectation, like a stronghold, enduring and

And in this sketch of the evolution of the significant idea of _The
Possessed_ is shown, I think, the usual course of Dostoevsky’s artistic
problems and their solution. _The Idiot_, _The Raw Youth_, and _The
Brothers Karamazov_ had all, like _The Possessed_, been meant originally
to reveal that desire for “universal harmony” cherished by Dostoevsky,
the universal Hosannah which Dostoevsky, the thinker, had visualized as
the hidden essence of the universe, clouded, but only accidentally, by
the phantom of sin. But each time, in the finished work of Dostoevsky,
the artist, there triumphed a sterner, but for all that a more
religious, conception of the world as a world subject to sin, beyond the
Grace of the Spirit, which is granted it as a gift, but not hidden in
the substance of nature.

Stavrogin’s Confession, as it echoed Dostoevsky’s optimistic view, had
inevitably to disappear in his masterpiece.


                          THE UNFULFILLED IDEA

                          INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO

                      _THE LIFE OF A GREAT SINNER_


                               N. BRODSKY


                          THE UNFULFILLED IDEA

CREATIVE ideas and conceptions circled perpetually round the agitated
Dostoevsky like a whirlwind. His soul knew no rest, he was always at
boiling-point, and he rushed simultaneously along different roads in
different directions. Artistic visions raced before him in many streams
at the same time. “Ideas were born in his head like spray in a
whirlpool,”—such was A. E. Risenkampf’s memory of Dostoevsky as a boy
when a pupil in the College of Engineering. The same impression of a
dynamic spirit, saturated through and through with ideas and visions,
Dostoevsky also produced when he was a mature man. “Listen, listen,” was
his usual beginning as he entered upon the discussion of a problem that
interested him, so we read in the reminiscences of Prince V. M. “‘I’ll
tell you what,’ he would add, and then would clutch his head, as though
there immediately rushed into it so many ideas that he found it
difficult to begin. Very often for that reason he began to speak from
the end, from the conclusion, from a few very remote, very complicated
entanglements of his thought; or he would express the first and
principal idea and then would develop the parentheses, and begin
expressing supplementary and explanatory ideas or anything that occurred
to him _à propos_ at the moment.... This sudden inspiration was so
strong in him that it was felt not only in him but around him....”[99]

Footnote 99:

  Prince V. M., _Reminiscences of F. M. Dostoevsky_, “Dobro,” No. 2-3,

This intellectual peculiarity of Dostoevsky’s is easily verified when
one listens to his own confessions. “I have a multitude of ideas,” he
wrote in 1845 to his brother Michael, when he had just begun his
literary career. “There is so much that is new in my life every day, so
many changes, so many impressions.... I am always busy, I have a
multitude of ideas and I write incessantly,” he wrote in 1846. In 1849
he writes to his brother: “I do not waste time in vain; I have thought
out three stories and two novels, one of which I am writing now.” When
he came out from prison in 1856 he wrote to A. Maikov from
Semipalatinsk: “I can’t tell you what agonies I suffered through not
writing at the galleys. And yet work was boiling within.” ... A few
years later we have the same confession, which proves the incessant,
complex, and many-sided activity of Dostoevsky’s spirit. In 1868 he
wrote to A. Maikov from Florence: “I have a tremendous novel in my head
now.” “I have an idea for a fairly long story of twelve printed sheets,
which attracts me. I have another idea.” “I have a number of themes,” he
writes to Maikov in 1870. “I have six stories conceived and planned
out,” he writes to N. N. Strakhov in 1870.

It is no wonder that Dostoevsky, possessed by a clamorous multitude of
visions, could not arrest them all, and could not fix them in print.
Every instant new subjects occurred to him and new characters. Somewhere
in the subconscious part of him all this material was melted into one
monolithic whole, but it gushed out so impetuously and variously on the
surface and overflowed into so many channels that it was impossible to
catch all the details and all the particulars. N. N. Strakhov,
Dostoevsky’s intimate friend, left a remarkable description which
testifies to the unrestrained overflow of Dostoevsky’s imagination. “New
characters, new schemes for novels, new problems occurred to him
incessantly; they besieged him. They even hampered his work.” Strakhov
says, “Certainly he only wrote a tenth part of the novels which he had
thought out and carried about with him, sometimes for many years. Some
of them he told in detail and with great enthusiasm, and he had endless
schemes like this which he had not time to work out.” Neither Strakhov
nor the other memoir writers (with the exception of Sophie Kovalevsky)
told Dostoevsky’s admirers about those plans of which he spoke “with
great enthusiasm.”... In Dostoevsky’s note-books there remain traces of
his creative ideas, “ideas for new stories,” plans of unfinished works,
“memento. For my whole life.” Thus on one page I found a note: “In 1860,
(1) The Darling, (2) Spring Love, (3) The Double (to re-write it), (4)
Memoirs of a Convict (fragments), (5) Apathy and Impressions.” “Spring
Love” is the title of a novel of which only the plan is left.... Under
the date Nov. 23, 1859, he put down the “plan of the tragedy _Fatum_.
Plan of Comedy: the lady places the married teacher under arrest because
he is married.” Among the stories of Makar Ivanovich (in _The Raw
Youth_) there was a story about “a squire who rebuilt a village that had
been destroyed by fire. Stinking Lizzie. How the Holy Monks killed a
monk, etc.”[100]

Footnote 100:

  From unpublished materials.

On Dec. 11, 1868, Dostoevsky announced to Apollon Maikov that he had
conceived the idea of a “tremendous novel. Its title is _Atheism_ (it
will not be ready for two years).” The author attributed great
importance to this novel. “When I have written this last novel, then I
can die—I shall have expressed myself completely.” “Now I believe that I
shall express the whole of myself in it,” he wrote of the same novel, in
March 1869, to Madame S. A. Ivanov-Khmirov.

The principal character of the novel was meant to be “a Russian man of
our society, _not young_, not highly educated, but not uneducated, of
some standing, and _suddenly_, when already on in years, he loses his
belief in God. All his life he was occupied with his business, and never
got out of the rut, and distinguished himself in nothing until the age
of forty-five. (The solution of the problem is psychological: deep
feeling, a man, and a Russian.) The loss of his belief in God affects
him tremendously (indeed, the action in the novel, the setting, are
huge, Dostoevsky wrote on Dec. 11, 1868, to A. Maikov). He looks about
everywhere among the younger generation, among atheists, Slavophils and
Westerners, among Russian fanatics and hermits, among priests; by the
way, he gets stuck fast on the hook of a Jesuit propagandist, a Pole;
from him he descends into the abyss of Khlistovshchina [a fanatical
Russian sect], and at last he finds Christ and Russia, the Russian
Christ and the Russian God.” “Two or three characters have shaped very
well in my head, among them a Catholic enthusiast, a priest (of the kind
of Fanier’s St. Francis),” Dostoevsky wrote to Madame S. A.
Ivanov-Khmirov on March 8, 1869, confident that his novel is “a real
poem”; “it must have a great effect on account of its theme”; “it will
attract the reader involuntarily.” But that novel was not written—new
ideas crowded in.... Yet the mysterious threads of the creative idea
were not torn. They are combined in other entanglements, in another
novel of which Dostoevsky wrote to Strakhov on March 24, 1870, that its
“idea has been alive in me for three years.”[101] That new novel was
intended for the magazine _Sarya_. The author wrote that the “whole plan
of the novel was ‘ripe.’” “During three years a great deal has become
ripe”; “the idea of the novel demanded a large volume”; in its bulk at
any rate, the same as Tolstoi’s _War and Peace_. “The novel will consist
of five very long stories (about fifteen printed folios each). The
stories are quite separate from one another, so that they could even be
sold separately, and published in various magazines (except the two
stories in the middle),” so he wrote to A. Maikov on March 25, 1870.
“The common title will unite them into a whole novel.”

Footnote 101:

  “This future novel has been tormenting me now for more than three

In his letter to N. N. Strakhov of March 24, 1870, we hear about the
title of the novel _The Life of a Great Sinner_. Dostoevsky’s letter,
written on the following day to A. Maikov, gives very valuable
particulars about the novel. The action of the first book takes place as
far back as the forties. “The main question which runs through all the
books is the same which has tormented me, consciously and unconsciously,
all my life—the existence of God. The hero is at different times in his
life an atheist, a believer, a fanatic, and sectarian, now again an
atheist. The action of the second book will take place in a monastery. I
place all my hopes on this second book. Perhaps they will say at last
that I have written not merely trifles. (To you alone, Apollon
Nikolaevich, I make the confession: I want to make Tikhon Sadonsky in
the second book the central figure, of course under a different name,
but he is also a bishop and will live in a monastery in retirement.) A
thirteen-year-old boy who took part in a criminal offence, highly
developed and depraved (I know that type), the future hero of the whole
novel, is placed in the monastery by his parents (educated, of our
class) to be educated there. The young wolf and nihilist of a boy makes
friends with Tikhon (you surely know the character and the whole aspect
of Tikhon.) I shall put Chaadaev also here in the monastery (also of
course under a different name). Why should not Chaadaev spend a year in
a monastery? Suppose that Chaadaev, after his first article, for which
his mental state was examined into by doctors every week, could not bear
it any longer and published, let us say, abroad a pamphlet in French. It
is extremely likely that for this offence he might have been sent to
spend a year in a monastery. Belinsky, for instance, Granovsky, even
Pushkin might come to Chaadaev as visitors. (It is not Chaadaev; I only
take that as a type in my novel.) In the monastery are also Pavel
Prusky;[102] Golubov[103] is also there, and the monk Parfeny.[104] (In
this world I am an expert, and I know the Russian monastery from my
childhood’s days.) But the chief thing is—Tikhon and the boy. For the
love of God do not tell any one the contents of the second part. I never
tell my themes beforehand; it feels awkward; but to you I confess
myself. To others it may not be worth a farthing, but to me it is a
treasure. Don’t tell them about Tikhon. I wrote to Strakhov about the
monastery, but I did not write about Tikhon. Perhaps I shall represent a
grand, positive, holy character. It is no longer a Konstanjhoglo, nor
the German (I forget his name) in _Oblomov_, nor the Lopukhovs and
Rakhmetovs. True, I shall not create anything, but shall only reveal the
actual Tikhon whom I have long since taken to my heart with rapture. But
I shall, if I succeed, consider even this an important deed for myself.
Do not then tell it to any one. But for the second book, for the
monastery, I must be in Russia.[105] Ah, if only I succeed in it! The
first book is the childhood of the hero. It is understood that children
are not in the scene; there is a love story.”

Footnote 102:

  A sectarian of the old faith, who founded a printing-office in the
  ’60’s to print the books of the old faith; later embraced orthodoxy.

Footnote 103:

  Editor of the journal of the old faith, _Istina_, in the ’60’s;
  embraced orthodoxy under the influence of the monk Pavel.

Footnote 104:

  Author of the book in three volumes, _The Story of My Wanderings in
  Russia, Moldavia, Turkey, and the Holy Land_; Moscow, 1856.

Footnote 105:

  Dostoevsky was at that time in Dresden.

Dostoevsky attributed to this novel the importance of a personal
confession and final summing up. “This will be my last novel.” “I
consider this novel as the last word in my literary career.” Six years
had to be spent in work on it. Interrupted by the idea and plan of _The
Possessed_, busily engaged in writing for the _Russkìi Vèstnik_,
Dostoevsky was waiting the moment when he could sit down to his large
canvas “with pleasure.” But the novel was only planned out with any
distinctness in its first stage, in the rough draft of the syllabus; and
the individual characters, ideas, and scenes have been dispersed in a
series of subsequent novels.

Among Dostoevsky’s manuscripts, preserved by his widow, A. G.
Dostoevsky, and handed over by her to the Russian Historical Museum, are
Dostoevsky’s note-books, and in one of them is the detailed plan of a
novel portraying the principal hero in the days of his childhood in the
monastery and after he came out of the monastery. The plot of the novel
changed in the course of writing; now the boy is with his family, now
from the beginning he is with the Alfonsky family. The details of the
novel were also erratic: its “canvas” could always be covered with new
patterns. The novelist’s favourite word “invent” serves to indicate that
the plan of the novel in question could by no means be considered

Footnote 106:

  The original draft gives the following characteristics of the hero:

  —No authority.

  —Germs of the most violent physical passions.

  —Inclinations towards boundless power and unshakable belief in his
  authority. To move mountains. And is glad to test his power.

  —Struggle—his second nature. But quiet, not stormy.

  —Despises falsehood with all his strength.

We publish the _complete_ text of the plan of _The Life of a Great
Sinner_, preserving all the peculiarities of the writing and punctuation
of the original.

The novel was planned during various months in 1869-70.

The significance of this novel autobiographically is undeniable.
Strakhov has already called Dostoevsky the most subjective of writers. A
great many things show that in _The Life of a Great Sinner_ Dostoevsky
intended to dissect his soul, to open its wounds, to free himself from
the tormenting impulses of his _ego_, to chastise the outbreaks of his
spiteful, vicious thoughts, to lay bare before himself the secret places
of his soul, and to bring out into the light of day that darkness, so as
to disperse it—like Gogol, who fought the defects of his own spirit in
describing the characters in his books.

The hero of _The Life_ is not of course a portrait of the writer; the
details of the description are invented,[107] but _The Life_ gives hints
of the most interesting kind for an understanding of the writer’s

Footnote 107:

  Evidently Dostoevsky got some material for his “model” in I. N.
  Shidlovsky, a friend of his youth, who serves also as the prototype of
  Stavrogin in the first stages of work upon him.

The whole background in the first part is steeped in the raw material of
real life, of recollections of the writer’s actual experiences. “Brother
Misha”—is he not Michael, one of Dostoevsky’s younger brothers? Sushar
is Nikolai Ivanovich Souchard, the French teacher who gave lessons to
the Dostoevsky children. _Chermak_ is Leontii Ivanovich Chermak, in
whose boarding-school Fedor Dostoevsky spent the years 1834-37. _Umnov_
is a playmate of the Dostoevsky brothers who used to come to their
house, the Vanichka Umnov who brought them various books and books in
manuscript (for instance _The House of the Mad_, by Voyekov, etc.).

The list of authors and books known to the well-read hero of _The Life_
takes us vividly into the childhood and youth of Dostoevsky himself. The
New Testament, the Bible, Gogol, Pushkin, Walter Scott, Karamzin, works
on history and geography, _Arabian Nights_, etc.—all these are confirmed
by Dostoevsky’s own accounts of the early years of his life and in the
reminiscences of him by his brother Andrei Mikhailovich. The latter,
speaking of their family readings, points out first of all that the
father and mother read aloud the usual books to their children: _The
History of the Russian State_ by Karamzin, and above all volumes xi. and
xii. Karamzin’s _History_ was Fedor Dostoevsky’s table-book, and he
always read it when he had nothing new to read. Karamzin’s stories _Poor
Lisa_ and _Marfa Possadnitsa_ were also read aloud, also _Letters of a
Russian Traveller_. Dostoevsky himself owned to N. N. Strakhov (December
2, 1870): “I grew up on Karamzin”; and in _The Journal of a Writer_
Dostoevsky said that at the age of ten he “already knew almost all the
principal episodes of Russian history from Karamzin.” Andrei
Mikhailovich Dostoevsky says: “I saw Walter Scott most often in the
hands of my brother Fedor.” To a correspondent who asked Dostoevsky to
advise him about his daughter’s reading, Dostoevsky wrote in 1880: “When
I was twelve, during my summer holiday in the country I read Walter
Scott all through. From that reading I took with me into life so many
splendid and lofty impressions that they certainly formed a great force
in my soul for the struggle against impressions of a tempting, sensual,
and corrupting kind.” According to the recollections of Andrei
Dostoevsky, Pushkin was read many times and was almost learnt by heart.
Gogol, too, was one of his brother’s favourite writers in boyhood.
Referring to Dostoevsky’s love for Gogol, A. E. Risenkampf recorded that
Dostoevsky as a boy recited to him by heart whole pages from _Dead
Souls_. Concerning the New Testament Dostoevsky wrote: “I come from a
Russian and religious family. We in our family knew the New Testament
almost from early childhood.” As a boy of eight he was greatly impressed
by hearing in church the Bible story of Job.[108]

Footnote 108:

  Madame A. G. Dostoevsky made the following note in the margin of the
  title-page of _Brothers Karamazov_ (seventh edition, p. 308), beside
  the quotation “A hundred and four sacred stories from the Old and New
  Testament.” “Fedor Mikhailovich learnt to read from this book.” The
  book is in the F. M. Dostoevsky Museum. (From unpublished materials.)

Relations of F. M. Dostoevsky remember that the stories from the
_Arabian Nights_ were told to the brothers Dostoevsky by an old woman,
Alexandra Nikolaevna, who used often to visit the family. She would tell
one story after another, and the children would not leave her side. In
F. M. Dostoevsky’s own words he was very fond of books of adventure.
_The Inhabitants of the Moon_ is evidently the title of a book which was
very popular in the thirties—“Of the Inhabitants of the Moon and other
remarkable discoveries made by the astronomer Sir John Herschel during
his stay at the Cape of Good Hope, translated from the German,
Petersburg, 1836.” That infatuation for the theatre, particularly for
_Hamlet_, which possessed the hero of _The Life_ finds confirmation also
in Dostoevsky’s biography.[109]

Footnote 109:

  See complete edition of F. M. Dostoevsky’s Works, vol. i., Petersburg,
  1883, p. 11; N. N. von Voght, “To the Biography of Dostoevsky,” in
  _Istoricheskii Vèstnik_, 1901, xii. p. 1028. See also Dostoevsky’s
  letter of Aug. 9, 1838, to his brother Michael.

The frequency in _The Life_ of details based on facts taken by the
author from his boyhood inevitably introduces a question as to the right
of the student to look for a _personal_ key in the author himself to his
hero’s character. Indeed, many of the hero’s spiritual experiences
testify to their subjective character.

He loved to test himself; he trained his will-power; he accustomed
himself to “self-torment.” This thirst for self-torment, this anxiety to
spend himself in suffering, so as to be convinced of his ability to
“endure,” was characteristic of Dostoevsky himself. A letter is brought
to him from his brother. “I have invented a new kind of enjoyment for
myself—a most strange one—to make myself suffer,” he tells his brother
Michael, in a letter of January 1, 1840. “I take your letter, turn it
over in my hand for several minutes, feel if it is full weight, and,
having looked at it sufficiently and admired the closed envelope, I put
it in my pocket.... You won’t believe what a voluptuous state of soul,
feeling, and heart there is in that! And so I sometimes wait for a
quarter of an hour....”

The hero of _The Life_ is unsociable, “uncommunicative,” keeps a great
many things to himself, is reserved and avoids people. Michael
Dostoevsky in 1838 calls his brother “reserved,” not without reason.
Fedor Dostoevsky, writing to him about the “strange and wonderful
things” in his life, says “that he will never tell any one this long
story.” In the College of Engineering, Dostoevsky, according to the
recollection of his fellow-students, usually sat or walked alone, and
kept himself apart from all. In 1854 he wrote from Semipalatinsk: “I
live a lonely life here; I hide myself from people as usual.” That
avoidance of human beings in the hero of _The Life_ was fed by his
contempt for them, by a feeling of repulsion, and sprang from “a proud,
passionate, and domineering nature.” Let us call to mind a fragment from
Dostoevsky’s letter to his brother Michael in 1847: “But, Lord, what a
multitude of disgusting, narrow-minded, grey-bearded wiseacres,
connoisseurs, Pharisees there are, who _pride themselves_ on their
experience, _i.e._ on their insignificance (for they are all made to the
same measure), who eternally preach contentment with one’s lot, belief
in something, sobriety in life, and satisfaction with one’s place,
without having realized the meaning of those words,—a satisfaction which
is like monastic flagellation and denial,—and with inexhaustible petty
spite they condemn a strong, fiery soul who cannot endure their banal
daily time-table and calendar of existence. They are scoundrels with
their farcical earthly happiness. They are scoundrels!”

The hero of _The Life_ had by nature a sharply defined sense of
personality, a consciousness of his superiority, of inner strength, of
his own uniqueness. Does not the very same tone sound in the proud and
“hyperbolical” admissions of Dostoevsky himself, when intoxicated by the
success of _Poor Folk_, his first literary venture?[110] “A crowd of new
writers has appeared. Some are my rivals. Herzen (Iskander) and
Goncharov are especially remarkable among them. They are highly praised.
But the first place is mine for the time being and, I hope, for ever.”

Footnote 110:

  “I am now nearly drunk with my own fame.” (F. D.’s letter of Nov. 16,

Much later, when he had served hard labour, he writes (Oct. 1, 1859) to
his brother from Tver: “Towards the middle of December I will send (or
bring myself) the corrected _Double_. Believe me, brother, that the
correction, provided with a preface, will be worth a _new novel_. They
will at last see what _The Double_ is like. I hope I shall make them
even too deeply interested. In a word, I challenge them all. And,
finally, if I do not correct _The Double_ now, when shall I do it? Why
should I lose a superb idea, the greatest type, in its social
importance, which I was the first to discover, and of which I was the
prophet?” The gigantic individualism of the hero of _The Life_, stressed
more than once by the author, is to be heard in Dostoevsky’s
characteristic admission to Apollon Maikov: “Everywhere and in
everything I reach the furthest limit; I have passed beyond the
boundaries of all life” (Aug. 16, 1867).

Certain eccentricities in the character of the hero of _The Life_ are
worth attention. He loved to “surprise everybody by unexpectedly rude
pranks”; “behaved like a monster”; “offended an old woman.” Something of
the kind, certain collapses in his spiritual life and in his relation to
people, were to be found in Dostoevsky. Thus on his own admission he was
rude to the officer who taught algebra in the College of Engineering
(1838). In his letter to his brother (1847) he gives himself the
following characteristics: “I have such a bad repulsive character....
For you and yours I am ready to give my life, but at times, when my
heart is melting with love, you can’t get a kind word from me. My nerves
do not obey me at such times.... How often I have been rude to Emily
Fedorovna,[111] the noblest of women, a thousand times better than
myself; I remembered how I used sometimes to be deliberately cross with
Fedya whom at the same time I loved even better than yourself....”

Footnote 111:

  The wife of Michael Dostoevsky.

There flared up at times in the hero of _The Life_ “a feeling of
destructiveness,” and the same feeling showed itself in Dostoevsky’s
view of the world when he was a boy. “Up till now I did not know what
wounded vanity meant,” he wrote on Oct. 31, 1838. “I should blush if
that feeling possessed me ... but—do you know?—I should like to crush
the whole world at one go.” Those plunges into “abysses” and the
voluptuousness of the hero of _The Life_ have their counterpart in
certain details which Dostoevsky himself relates of his youth.
“Good-bye,” he ended his letter to his brother of Nov. 16, 1845; “the
little Minnies, Claras, Mariannes, etc., are enchanting, but they cost a
terrible amount of money. The other day Turgenev and Belinsky scolded me
terrifically for my disorderly life.”

“The idea of amassing money,” one of the hidden thoughts of _The Great
Sinner_, had early engrossed the attention of the greatest martyr in the
ranks of poverty-stricken writers, who all his life long was in need of
money and passionately awaited the chance of living and working in
conditions of security like Tolstoi and Turgenev. “Money and security
are good things. When shall I get rid of my debts?” “Money—I have not
one brass farthing.” “It is very painful.” “If you can save me, do.” “I
am again in such straits as to be ready to hang myself.” “I am really in
an awful state now.... I have not got a farthing.” “All my life I have
worked for money, and all my life I have been constantly in need.” “How
can I write when I am hungry?... Damn myself and my hunger. But my wife
is nursing, and she _herself_ has to go and pawn her last woollen skirt.
And it has been snowing now for two days. And then they ask me for
artistry, for purity of poetry, without strain, without violence, and
they point to Turgenev and Goncharov! Let them only see in what
conditions I work ... ”—that is the cry, echoing like a groan through
Dostoevsky’s letters at various periods of his life, particularly when
he was abroad, and during the years when _The Life of a Great Sinner_
was being shaped. We have to suppose that the religious problem was
being solved by Dostoevsky much in the same way as it was in the life of
the hero of the novel—by “stretches” of belief and unbelief.

An analysis of _The Life_ which reveals the autobiographic substratum
lets us see with greater certainty the _personal_ traits in those other
novels of Dostoevsky’s into which _The Life of a Great Sinner_ split
off. Versilov’s son, born Dolgorukov (_The Raw Youth_), with his “idea
of discipline,” approaches the character in Dostoevsky’s unwritten novel
who in this respect, by the way, is akin to Stavrogin. The hero of _The
Possessed_, with his falls, “abysses,” and depravity, is also akin to
the Great Sinner. The pages about “Tushar’s” boarding-school, the
exposed child, the figure of Lambert in _The Raw Youth_, are taken from
_The Life_. In certain particulars the Great Sinner approaches Ivan
Karamazov and Dmitri Karamazov. Tikhon of _The Life_ passed into _The
Possessed_ and _Brothers Karamazov_ in the characters of the Bishop and
of the old monk Zosima.[112]

Footnote 112:

  A few expressions, typical of Dostoevsky, are found in _The Life_ and
  in his later works: thus, the expression “sacrifice of life” found
  place there and in _Brothers Karamazov_ (Part I. Book I. chap. v. p.
  33; third edition of F. M. Dostoevsky’s Works).

Thus the novel connects the most important works of Dostoevsky’s later
period, and is allied in certain details with the early experiments, for
instance with _Notes from the Underworld_. But much of what he had
planned remained unexecuted and faded in the working out of the chosen
themes. Where is the broad picture of the people’s religious life, with
their world of sectarians and believers of the Old Faith, into which the
Great Sinner plunged? The pale figure of Makar Ivanovich Dolgorukov, the
pilgrim, is very far from corresponding with a great “poem.” The
principal character became much diminished and spiritually toned down in
the “raw youth,” Versilov.

The sketch of the unwritten novel is generally valuable for the light it
throws upon Dostoevsky’s habits of creation. _The novel was not
written._ The huge canvas would not have been covered by the mass of
characters that hovered in the writer’s imagination. The novels
_Atheism_ and _The Life of a Great Sinner_ clearly prove that Dostoevsky
could not cope with the swarm of his creative imagination. He could not
tame and conquer the rush of his elemental visions. His soul burnt too
fiercely to be satisfied with an inferior light. All in flames, his soul
set on fire and destroyed the flashing visions. And it seems as if iron
necessity alone chained the writer to the desk and made it possible for
us to read his works. There is something _accidental_ in the published
works of Dostoevsky. They do not represent the _whole_ creator; they are
paler than his original conceptions.

                                THE END

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 ● Transcriber’s Notes:
    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was corrected.
    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.
    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.
    ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

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