I'd suggest that the real solution is contained in that once suppressed
chapter of The Possessed termed "Stavrogin's Confession."  The "sin"--he
drove a young girl to suicideso that he could watch and study the
psychological process that led her to that.  And good old Winnicott talks
about the artisti's ruthlessness.  He had no idea.
walter a. davis
Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University <> 


From: Discussion Group for Psychology and the Arts
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Norman Holland
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2010 8:49 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Dostoevsky and suicides

This is from a psychoanalysis blog I subscribe to.  --Norm

FomgJt7dBpSBA/> Dr Leon Burnett: 'The Construction of a Fantasia:
Dostoevsky's Meek Girl and Two Russian Suicides'. Centre for Psychoanalytic
Studies, University of Essex, OPEN SEMINAR	 Add a comment
FomgJt7dBpSBA/> >	

Started by Paul Wadey, Psychologist / Integrative Therapist

Wednesday 2nd June 2010, Room 4N.6.1, 5.00pm - 6:30pm

Dr Leon Burnett: 'The Construction of a Fantasia: Dostoevsky's Meek Girl and
Two Russian Suicides'.

Dr Leon Burnett is a Reader in Literature and Dean of the Faculty of
Humanities and Comparative Studies at the University of Essex. His
publications are mainly in Comparative Literature. Research areas of
particular interest include modern European poetry, literary translation,
myth in modern culture, and Russian literature. He has edited F. M.
Dostoevsky (1821-1881): A Centenary Collection (1981) and Word in Time:
Poetry, Narrative, Translation (1997), and is currently co-editing The Art
of Accommodation: Literary Translation in Russia (publication expected later
this year). From 1992 to 2000 he was the main editor of New Comparison: a
Journal of Comparative and General Literary Studies.

Abstract: In A Writer's Diary (October, 1876), Dostoevsky juxtaposed two
reports of recent and contrasting female suicides, concluding with the
question "which of these two souls bore more torment on earth"? The next
instalment of the journal (November, 1876) contained a single piece of
writing, "The Meek Girl: A Fantastic Story", clearly based on the second of
the two contemporary cases. The suicides served to bring together in
Dostoevsky's mind concepts that he had previously treated separately and, in
his view, unsuccessfully: effacement (in The Double) and enigma (in The
Idiot). Stimulated by a desire to comprehend the "psychological sequence" of
events leading up to the act of suicide, Dostoevsky returned in "The Meek
Girl" to these concepts, transferring the focus from male protagonists to an
unnamed female character. I shall be looking at how, in this late work, he
took up the challenge of finding an appropriate form to express an
impenetrable theme.
By Paul Wadey, Psychologist / Integrative Therapist