A unique edition in publishing history: Dostoevsky's notebooks, in part never before published, reproduced for the first time in their original size and with absolute original colors.
Over 200 illustrations and 150 manuscripts of the author full of sketches, "Gothic" architecture, arabesques and experiments with calligraphy. Including an essay written by their most authoritative scholar, Konstantin Barsht: a fresco of the life and creations of Dostoevsky overflowing with information; pleasant and at the same time rigorous, this volume is intended for enthusiasts, experts, and those who want to learn more about the great Russian novelist.
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky took great interest in the fine arts, often attended art exhibitions, wrote reviews about them, while references to many masterpieces of Russian and world painting can be found in his literary heritage. He seldom and reluctantly spoke of his own personal experiences in this regard. The author’s works and letters contain little information about how important a role drawing played in his artistic process or, by the same token, concerning the wide variety of drawings in his manuscripts. His contemporaries, with few exceptions,
had no idea that the notebooks of this writer and philosopher were literally teeming with depictions of male, female, children’s portraits, arabesques, flourishes, architectural sketches, as well as words written in calligraphy. His silence about this issue is highly significant: it was not in Dostoevsky’s nature to raise for general discussion what constituted for him a personal secret, and such matters of special significance to him.
It is a well-known fact that another writer known for his drawings, Aleksandr Pushkin, left his graphics in Evgeny Onegin’s family album, where «Amongst unintelligible scribbling / There flickered thoughts, remarks, / Portraits, dates, names, / And letters, secret letters…». At the same time, the poet acknowledged that he only drew at times when his “heart was sad”, otherwise «I write, and my heart is not in pain; / The pen distractedly does not wander / To sketch some female legs or faces».
It would not be possible to conceive of Pushkin without his drawings, some of which are no less popular than his literary works. The poet’s attitude towards his drawings was casual, albeit serious and open. He was glad to leave his sketches in family albums, all the more since he made no attempt to conceal them. Dostoevsky, who made as many drawings in his notebooks as Pushkin, had nothing to say about this issue; unlike his literary idol, he seldom included a description of his sketches in the texts of his works.