Frank's essays provide a discriminating look at four of Dostoevsky's most famous novels, discuss the debate between J. M. Coetzee and Mario Vargas Llosa on the issue of Dostoevsky and evil, and confront Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism. The collection also examines such topics as Orlando Figes's sweeping survey of the history of Russian culture, the life of Pushkin, and Oblomov's influence on Samuel Beckett. Investigating the omnipresent religious theme that runs throughout Russian culture, even in the antireligious Chekhov, Frank argues that no other major European literature was as much preoccupied as the Russian with the tensions between religion and rationality. Between Religion and Rationality highlights this unique quality of Russian literature and culture, offering insights for general readers and experts alike.
The first portion of the volume concerns France, with both essays on individual writers such as Paul Valï¿½ry, Jacques Maritain, Albert Camus, Andrï¿½ Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Yves Bonnefoy and a piece on French intellectuals between the wars.The second part concerns Germany and Romania, with essays on Ernst Juenger, Gottfried Benn, Erich Kahler, E. M. Cioran, and others.
The volume concludes with essays on problems of literary criticism, in dialogue with such critics as Gary Saul Morson, Ian Watt, T. S. Eliot, and R. P. Blackmur. These essays also discuss the history of the novel and the question of "realism."
The author concludes that Dostoevsky badly misunderstood Western liberalism, but grappled very well with the psychology of the radical terrorist. This is explained with reference to his intellectual revolution, which is seen as consisting of six stages from his early works of the 1840s.