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By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Alan Myers (trans)

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Sample text

Only when we were a considerable distance away did he start voicing protestations against me in rather vigorous terms. But his words barely reached us. ’ She gave me her hand wordlessly, still shaking with anxiety and alarm. Ah, how I blessed the unwanted gentleman at that moment! I gave her a fleeting glance: I had guessed right, she had dark hair—and was extremely pretty; teardrops still glistened on her dark eyelashes, but whether from her recent fright or her previous grief, I don’t know. However, a smile was now playing on her lips.

The Ridiculous Man himself is the same sort of alienated dreamer as the pawnbroker, aware of his oddness and unable to relate to the community, ‘a modern progressive and vile Petersburger’. He represents the tragic end of the road for the Petersburg dreamer: so complete is his introspection and estrangement, that he doubts the reality of the world about him. The ego, long deprived of social intercourse, floats in a vacuum where the only certainty is that of its own inviolability and isolation: I have unaccountably grown somewhat calmer.

Audrey Littlewood (Cambridge, 1989). FANGER, DONALD, Dostoevsky and Romantic Realism (Chicago, 1967). FRANK, JOSEPH, Dostoevsky: The Seeds of Revolt 1821–1849 (Princeton and London, 1976). —— Dostoevsky: The Years of Ordeal 1850–1859 (Princeton and London, 1983). —— Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation 1860–1865 (Princeton and London, 1986). —— Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years 1865–1871 (Princeton and London, 1995). JACKSON, ROBERT LOUIS, The Art of Dostoevsky: Deliriums and Nocturnes (Princeton, 1981).

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