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Literary Criticism Russian & Former Soviet Union

Dostoyevsky’s Critique of the West

The Quest for the Earthly Paradise

by (author) Bruce K. Ward

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2010
Russian & Former Soviet Union, Religious, General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2010
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 1986
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Not much attention has been given to Dostoyevsky's concern with the crisis of the modern West, although allusions to almost every aspect of Western civilization—including the political, economic, and social dimensions—are present in his literary works and abound in his secondary writings.

This book points the way to a better understanding of the apparent contradiction between Dostoyevsky's concern with the highest reaches of human spirituality and at the same time with the most detailed developments in domestic and international politics. Ward argues that the apparent polarization of "religious" thought and "political" analysis of the West are held together for Dostoyevsky in his search for the best human order. He demonstrates not only that Dostoyevsky's observations about the West constitute a coherent critique intimately related to the deepest aspects of his though, but also that these can be rendered more systematic and explicit.

What results is an incisve account of both the religious and the political thought of Dostoyevsky, which helps clarify what Dostoyevsky, which helps clarify what Dostoyevsky can teach us about the modern situation of the Western world and about the problem of human order in general, for, as the author states, "it was Dostoyevsky's great virtue as a thinker always to see the pressing issues of his particular time and place in the light of the 'everlasting problems.'"

About the author

Bruce K. Ward was born in 1950 in Vancouver and was raised in Ottawa. After studying philosophy at the University of Toronto, he took his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Studies at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. He taught political philosophy at Brock University (1979–80) and then went to Thorneloe College, Laurentian University, where he has been teaching in the Department of Religious Studies since 1981.

Bruce K. Ward's profile page