Discovering Russian Literature discussion

Fyodor Dostoevsky
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HISTORY, CULTURE, RELIGION > Atheism is Russian literature?

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message 1: by Elise (new)

Elise | 4 comments I have two questions:

1: Are there any atheist Russian authors who wrote at a similar time to Dostoevsky?
I've read a couple Dostoevsky's books and am currently reading "Devils". I'm really enjoying it but was wondering if there was another Russian author from a similar time period I could read who had a different view of religion than Dostoevsky. Were all Russians extremely religious back then and had similar views to Dostoevsky?

2: Is my understanding of Dostoevsky's religious views correct?
I don't know much about Dostoevsky's religious views except from what I've read in some of his work. My impression is that God was extremely important to him in everything he did. Also that he had a contempt for atheists, that he thought they were close to nihilists? Am I completely off the mark here?

Many thanks.


message 2: by Vrixton (new)

Vrixton Phillips (sirredcrosse) | 24 comments You might not see many atheist writers until the late 19th/early 20th century, particularly from those that were pro-revolution. The Orthodox church was and continues to be extremely important in many parts of Russia


message 3: by Elise (new)

Elise | 4 comments Vrixton wrote: "You might not see many atheist writers until the late 19th/early 20th century, particularly from those that were pro-revolution. The Orthodox church was and continues to be extremely important in m..."

Thank you :) that makes sense.


message 4: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 17 comments I think Ivan Turgenev might be of interest to you. He's officially considered agnostic, but from what I hear, there is a lack of religious themes in his work that would be palatable to an atheist. However, the problem with reading Turgenev as a Russian author is that he is criticized as not being very Russsian and tended to prefer Western European ideas to anything organically Russian. This might make him more palatable to others, but it also makes him less representative of a Russian point of view, if that's important to you. Disclaimer: I've never read Turgenev, and everything I know is through other people's opinions.

If you've read "Devils", the self-important writer who gives a reading is based on Turgenev. Both Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy couldn't stand him.


message 5: by Nick (new)

Nick Riso (nickriso) | 7 comments I agree with Mickey, Turgenev is definitely your man. I mean, he introduced the world to the term 'nihilism' in Fathers and Sons, so that'd be a great starting point. Read Dostoevsky's Wikipedia too, he struggled with religion for a good amount of time in his life.. He took a major turn after he was released from Siberia.


message 6: by Elise (new)

Elise | 4 comments Mickey wrote: "I think Ivan Turgenev might be of interest to you. He's officially considered agnostic, but from what I hear, there is a lack of religious themes in his work that would be palatable..."

Thank you very much. I really do enjoy reading Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy and want to read more, but I also want to see what other opinions there were at the time :)

Thank you again.


message 7: by Elise (new)

Elise | 4 comments Nick wrote: "I agree with Mickey, Turgenev is definitely your man. I mean, he introduced the world to the term 'nihilism' in Fathers and Sons, so that'd be a great starting point. Read Dostoevsky's Wikipedia to..."

Thank you, I think I own a copy of Fathers and Sons - I'll give it a read :)
I'll also look at his wiki, thank you :)

I'm quite new to Russian literature and really appreciate all the helpful comments!


message 8: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 17 comments Elise wrote: "Thank you very much. I really do enjoy reading Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy and want to read more, but I also want to see what other opinions there were at the time :)

Thank you again."


You are very welcome, Elise! Now that we are Goodreads friends, feel free to ask me anything. My undergraduate degree is in Russian language, literature, and history and I don't often get to use it much in real life, so it makes me happy to find any use for it at all.


message 9: by Bunny (new)

Bunny Burns (BHHBurns) | 7 comments This is a very interesting thread, Elise! I only wish I had more to add to it, except to say that I'll be reading the books suggested.


message 10: by Jakub (new)

Jakub Sládek | 1 comments Both Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy struggled with the question of God, especially Tolstoy, who went really nuts later in his life. However, I can only admire the way Dostoyevsky was able to create his atheist heroes in his books.

The Kingdom of God Is Within You by Tolstoy can answer a lot of your questions about his views.


message 11: by Eva (new)

Eva | 5 comments Turgenev among others is also sometimes criticised not only for his "pro-Western" views, but also his "non-religious belief". If that topic and Dostoevsky in particular interest you, I can recommend reading "A writer's diary" by him. There he lays out his views on an array of topics (religion, suicide, war, murder, writing, of course, etc.) in a non-fictional way. Really interesting. I'm reading it right now.


message 12: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Somers (afsomers) | 13 comments Eva wrote: "Turgenev among others is also sometimes criticised not only for his "pro-Western" views, but also his "non-religious belief". If that topic and Dostoevsky in particular interest you, I can recommen..."

Elise wrote: "I have two questions:

1: Are there any atheist Russian authors who wrote at a similar time to Dostoevsky?
I've read a couple Dostoevsky's books and am currently reading "Devils". I'm really enjo..."


Hi Elise,

Did you, or are you planning to read the Karamazov Brothers? In there you'll find the famous "The Grand Inquisitor". This will help you to understand how FD thought about God. I recommend that you read it as part of the whole story. Let me know what you think, enjoy.


message 13: by Cosmic (new)

Cosmic Arcata | 6 comments Elise wrote: "Nick wrote: "I agree with Mickey, Turgenev is definitely your man. I mean, he introduced the world to the term 'nihilism' in Fathers and Sons, so that'd be a great starting point. Read Dostoevsky's..."

I really enjoyed Turgenev's book Fathers and Sons. Some things to look for is the name of the peasants farm. How families were being formed. What people are reading in the book. The metaphors that mirror evolution.

Here is a thread i started, please add to it if you have something you wish to discuss.
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


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Fathers and Sons (other topics)

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Ivan Turgenev (other topics)