|About the Book|
Most discussions of sexuality in the work of Dostoevsky have been framed in Freudian terms. But Dostoevsky himself wrote about sexuality from a decidedly pre-Freudian perspective. By looking at the views of human sexual development that were available in Dostoevskys time and that he, an avid reader and observer of his own social context, absorbed and reacted to, Susanne Fusso gives us a new way of understanding a critical element in the writing of one of Russias literary masters. Beyond discovering Dostoevskys own views and representations of sexuality as a reflection of his culture and his time, Fusso also explores his artistic treatment of how children and adolescents discover sexuality as part of their growth.Some of the topics Fusso considers are Dostoevskys search for an appropriate artistic language for sexuality, a young narrators experimentation with homoerotic desire and unconventional narrative in A Raw Youth- and Dostoevskys approach to a young mans sexual development in A Raw Youth and The Brothers Karamazov. She also explores his complex treatment of a childs secret sexuality in his account of the Kroneberg child abuse case in A Writers Diary- and his conception of the ideal family, a type of family that appears in his works mainly by negative example. Focusing mainly on sexual practices considered deviant in Dostoevskys time--both because these are the practices that his young characters confront and because they offer the most intriguing interpretive problems--Fusso decodes the authors texts and their social contexts. In doing so, she highlights one thread in the intricate thematic weave of Dostoevskys novels and newly illuminates his artistic process.