By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky
The narrator and protagonist of Dostoevsky’s novel The Adolescent (first released in English as A uncooked Youth) is Arkady Dolgoruky, a na•ve 19-year-old boy bursting with ambition and evaluations. The illegitimate son of a dissipated landowner, he's torn among his wish to reveal his father’s wrongdoing and the will to win his love. He travels to St. Petersburg to confront the daddy he slightly understands, encouraged through an inchoate dream of communion and armed with a mysterious rfile that he believes supplies him strength over others. This new English model via the main acclaimed of Dostoevsky’s translators is a masterpiece of pathos and excessive comedy.
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Extra info for The Adolescent (Vintage Classics)
I will note with that, as a phenomenon, that I do not recall a single exception: everybody asked. Some of them seemingly had no need at all to ask; who the devil could have had any need of it, I’d like to know? But everybody asked, everybody to a man. Hearing that I was simply Dolgoruky, the asker ordinarily measured me with a dull and stupidly indifferent look, indicating thereby that he did not know himself why he had asked, and walked away. My schoolmates were the most insulting. How does a schoolboy question a newcomer?
Versilov is the “vital center” of the novel, and the essence of the disorder is reflected in him, but he is always Versilov as seen by his son, and thus he remains an elusive, mysterious, contradictory figure. Arkady’s perception of him is constantly changing, going to extremes of condemnation and adoration, owing to his own ignorance and naıvete’. But the contradictions are not only in Arkady’s perception, but in Versilov himself. As Mochulsky observes: “Versilov the philosopher-deist and bearer of the idea of ‘all-unity,’ and Versilov shattered by two loves – are one and the same man .
He learns the meaning of tactfulness, of attention, of not judging others; he learns the meaning of forgiveness. That is the beginning of his struggle for order in the disordered world around him. When The Adolescent started to appear in Notes of the Fatherland in 1875, it caused considerable amazement. The journal, under the influence of the critic N. K. Mikhailovsky, had become the organ of the populists, who abandoned the extreme rationalism and negation of the nihilists of the 1860s and preached a “going to the land” and the communal values of the Russian peasantry.