The second edition of the
Diary of a Writer (1876-1877) marked a crucial point in Dostoevskii’s literary career. In spite of critics’ attacks, many ordinary readers were overwhelmed by Dostoevskii’s charisma and began writing to him from different parts of Russia, expressing their views of the moral, social and political issues dealt with in the
Diary. Such success was guaranteed also by the original rhetorical style of the
Diary of a Writer, which aimed to involve readers and persuade them to share Dostoevskii’s beliefs. By concentrating on new material, consisting of correspondence between Dostoevskii and his readers, and applying a new methodology, reader-response criticism and genre studies, the author investigates how Dostoevskii’s rhetoric in the
Diary of a Writer affected the Russian reading public, transformed Dostoevskii’s image in Russian society, and reawakened national identity.
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2007. 229 pp.
Contents: The Role of the Reader in Dostoevskii’s Creation – The Diary of a Writer: Author, genre, and ideal reader
– The Reactions of Russian Society: The press debate, readers asking for help, women readers, young students, nationalist
readers, Jewish readers.