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Winter Notes on Summer Impressions [Paperback]

Gary Saul Morson , F. M. Dostoevsky
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 12.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Sep 1997 0810115182 978-0810115187 New edition
In June 1862 Fyodor Dostoevsky left Petersburg on his first excursion to Western Europe. Ostensibly a trip to consult Western specialists about his epilepsy, Dostoevsky also wished to see firsthand the source of the Western ideas he believed were corrupting Russia. Over the course of his journey he visited a number of major cities, including Berlin, Paris, London, Florence, Milan and Vienna. He recorded his impressions of everthing he saw, and published them as "Winter Notes on Summer Impressions" in the February 1863 issue of "Vremya" ("Time"), the periodical he edited.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 78 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; New edition edition (30 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810115182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810115187
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,172,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821, the second of a physician's seven children. His mother died in 1837 and his father was murdered a little over two years later. When he left his private boarding school in Moscow he studied from 1838 to 1843 at the Military Engineering College in St Petersburg, graduating with officer's rank. His first story to be published, 'Poor Folk' (1846), was a great success.

In 1849 he was arrested and sentenced to death for participating in the 'Petrashevsky circle'; he was reprieved at the last moment but sentenced to penal servitude, and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison at Omsk, Siberia. In the decade following his return from exile he wrote The Village of Stepanchikovo (1859) and The House of the Dead (1860). Whereas the latter draws heavily on his experiences in prison, the former inhabits a completely different world, shot through with comedy and satire.

In 1861 he began the review Vremya (Time) with his brother; in 1862 and 1863 he went abroad, where he strengthened his anti-European outlook, met Mlle Suslova, who was the model for many of his heroines, and gave way to his passion for gambling. In the following years he fell deeply in debt, but in 1867 he married Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (his second wife), who helped to rescue him from his financial morass. They lived abroad for four years, then in 1873 he was invited to edit Grazhdanin (The Citizen), to which he contributed his Diary of a Writer. From 1876 the latter was issued separately and had a large circulation. In 1880 he delivered his famous address at the unveiling of Pushkin's memorial in Moscow; he died six months later in 1881. Most of his important works were written after 1864: Notes from Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1865-6), The Gambler (1866), The Idiot (1869), The Devils (1871) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880).



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About the Author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (Russian: Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский; IPA: [ˈfʲodər mʲɪˈxajləvʲɪtɕ dəstɐˈjefskʲɪj]; 11 November 1821 - 9 February 1881 ) sometimes spelled Dostoevsky, was a Russian writer of novels, short stories and essays. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russian society. Although Dostoyevsky began writing books in the mid-1850s, his best remembered work was done in his last years, including Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. He wrote eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels and three essays and is often acknowledged by critics as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature. Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born and raised within the grounds of the Mariinsky hospital in Moscow, in Russia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping portrait 20 Oct 2005
By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book relates the author's vivid impressions during his travels all over Europe in the second half of the 19th century. His main targets are France (Paris) and England (London).
Dostoyevsky gives us a biting and cynical portrait of the French: parvenus and bourgeois who make a mockery of 'liberté, égalité, fraternité'.
In England, he is confronted with child prostitution in London's Haymarket: a most terrible and moving scene of a child of only six, black and blue beaten, barefoot, who tries to lure him to have sex with her. On the other side of the social spectrum, the Anglican clerics preach a religion for the wealthy and don't even hide it. A most pregnant sketch of the fat and the meagre.
Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Insight into Dostoyevsky's Thinking 28 April 2011
By Colin C
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book, which was written before Dostoyevsky's great masterpieces from 'Crime and Punishment' onwards, and describes a whistlestop European tour which took in Germany, Italy, France and Britain among other countries. The reminiscences presented here are often quite amusing (his description of fellow travellers in his railway carriage), sometimes unintentionally so, when he mistakes Belgium for France and proceeds to criticise the French based on people he has seen and met in Belgium. He also enthusiastically admits to not having seen many of the tourist sights in most of the cities he visited.

The most worthwhile material, though, comes when Dostoyevsky comments on the great Russian debate of te nineteenth century whether to try to be 'European' and westward-looking, or (as he himself believed as a Slavophile) to focus on bringing about Russia's mystical, unique destiny, without slavishly copying Europe, both good and bad. There is plenty on the latter, especially on poverty and despair among 'the masses' in London, as well as well-aimed critiquse of the aloof Anglican church and the French bourgeoisie.

All in all, for anyone who treasures his novels or are curious as to his view of the world, this is a worthwhile read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping portrait. 21 Nov 2002
By Luc REYNAERT - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Vivid impressions of the author during his travel all over Europe in the second half of the 19th century. His main targets are France (Paris) and England (London).
He gives us a biting and cynical portrait of the French: parvenus and bourgeois who make a mockery of 'liberté, égalité, fraternité'.
In England, he is confronted with child prostitution in London's Haymarket: a most terrible and moving scene of a child of only six, black and blue beaten, barefoot, who tries to lure him to have sex with her. On the contrary, the Anglican clerics preach a religion for the wealthy and don't even hide it. A most pregnant portrait of the fat and the meagre.
A book to recommend.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly funny, and relevant! 6 Jan 2011
By Geoff Puterbaugh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Granted, nineteenth-century Russia was almost a different planet from modern America. But what do you think of these comments about the Frenchified Russians Dostoevsky disliked?

"It may be that reality around us looks none too lovely even yet; but then we are so wonderful ourselves, so civilized, so European that the common people feel sick at the very sight of us. We have now reached the point where the common people regard us as complete foreigners, and do not understand a single word of ours --- and this certainly is progress, whatever you say. We have now reached a point where our contempt for the common people and the basic principles of their being is so profound that even our attitude to them is stamped with a new, unprecedented and kind of supercilious disdain...and this is progress, whatever you say.

"And then how self-confident we now are in our civilizing mission, with what an air of superiority we solve all problems, and what problems! There is no soil, we say, and no people, nationality is nothing but a certain system of taxation, the soul is a tabula rasa, a small piece of wax out of which you can readily mould a real man or a homunculus --- all that must be done is to apply the fruits of European civilization and read two or three books. And then how serene, how majestically serene we are, because we have solved all problems and written them off."

For some strange reason, this passage made me think of the current situation in the United States.

Maybe we need to craft our own solutions to our problems, and not rely on the Wisdom of the French!

"Whatever you say," this is a very interesting book, in which Dostoevsky sometimes sounds just like H. L. Mencken.

By the way, Joseph Frank, who wrote the book on Dostoevsky, thinks that "Winter Notes on Summer Impressions" is, in an important way, a preliminary draft of that strange masterpiece, Notes from the Underground.

Highly recommended for a cold winter night!
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Capitalism critcism 5 Dec 2001
By Lennin Arriola - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In this book Dostoevsky seems to take his time to criticize capitalism ( or so I find), takes as an example French society,
criticizes the accumulation of money and the adulation of god money (Baal), the servilism that comes with it, analyzes the way marital relations are, that is in relation with capitalism (Bribri and Ma biche ).
I found it pretty good, although it requires you to have knowledge of many things of the time it was written, (for instance can you remember who is Guizot?) and be used to the style of Dostoevsky.
5.0 out of 5 stars Author-on-Author 14 Jun 2013
By F.J. Nanic, Author of STREET WALTZING - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although written more than a century ago, it's highly recommended for every American that has never been overseas. It'll help him understand better the differences between all those nations that had come over here and formed this melting pot. In fact, it's fascinating that in his genes he might be harboring all of those juxtaposing characters.
I love the part when he is in Germany visiting Cologne:
"The bridge is excellent, of course, and the town is justly proud of it, but I thought it was too proud of it. Naturally this made me angry. Besides, the collector of pennies at the entrance to the marvelous bridge should not have made me pay that reasonable tax with an air of fining me for some misdemeanor of which I myself was not aware. I don't know, but it struck me that the German was trying to bully me."
It goes on and I'm not going to rewrite the whole thing here.
What has struck me is that this book, written more than a hundred years ago, sounds more fresh than most of the modern writers combined.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Autonomous principle entirely equal... 23 April 2010
By Dag Stomberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Winter Notes ... was used by Dostoevsky as a stamping ground of
literary investigations to produce dramatized fiction on the margin
of acceptability. Some of us expect the characters of all of his
novels to be exceptional from Western European behaviour. And so:
vive la difference!

Contemporary discussion of the nature of whether he was just an
excellent nineteenth century novelist or a prophetic visionary!
Or, both?

Dag Stomberg
St. Andrews, Scotland
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