Transcendent Love
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In Transcendent Love: Dostoevsky and the Search for a Global Ethic, Leonard G. Friesen ranges widely across Dostoevsky's stories, novels, journalism, notebooks, and correspondence to demonstrate how Dostoevsky engaged with ethical issues in his times and how those same issues continue to be relevant to today's ethical debates. Friesen contends that the Russian ethical voice, in particular Dostoevsky's voice, deserves careful consideration in an increasingly global discussion of moral philosophy and the ethical life. Friesen challenges the view that contemporary liberalism provides a religiously neutral foundation for a global ethic. He argues instead that Dostoevsky has much to offer when it comes to the search for a global ethic, an ethic that for Dostoevsky was necessarily grounded in a Christian concept of an active, extravagant, and transcendent love. Friesen also investigates Dostoevsky's response to those who claimed that contemporary European trends, most evident in the rising secularization of nineteenth-century society, provided a more viable foundation for a global ethic than one grounded in the One, whom Doestoevsky called simply "the Russian Christ." Throughout, Friesen captures a sense of the depth and sheer loveliness of Dostoevsky's canon.



Publié par
Date de parution 15 mai 2016
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268079857
Langue English

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DOSTOEVSKY and the Search for a GLOBAL ETHIC

University of Notre Dame Press Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
Copyright 2016 by the University of Notre Dame
All Rights Reserved
Published in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Friesen, Leonard G., author.
Title: Transcendent love : Dostoevsky and the search for a global ethic / Leonard G. Friesen.
Other titles: Dostoevsky and the search for a global ethic
Description: Notre Dame, Indiana : University of Notre Dame Press, 2016. | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2016004190 (print) | LCCN 2016012848 (ebook) | ISBN 9780268028978 (hardback) | ISBN 0268028974 (cloth) | ISBN 9780268079857 (epub) | ISBN 0268079854 (epub) | ISBN 9780268079819 (pdf) | ISBN 0268079811 (pdf)
Subjects: LCSH: Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 1821-1881-Criticism and interpretation. | Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 1821-1881-Ethics. | Ethics in literature. | Religion in literature. | Jesus Christ-In literature. | BISAC: RELIGION / Christianity / Literature the Arts. | PHILOSOPHY / Ethics Moral Philosophy.
Classification: LCC PG3328. Z6 F75 2016 (print) | LCC PG3328. Z6 (ebook) | DDC 891.73/3-dc23
LC record available at
This e-Book was converted from the original source file by a third-party vendor. Readers who notice any formatting, textual, or readability issues are encouraged to contact the publisher at .
eISBN 9780268079857 This paper meets the requirements of ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (Permanence of Paper) .
For Anna Ruth, Isaac Paul, and Laura Katarina
Why Dostoevsky? Why Now? Why Here?
Orphans Lament: Seeking the Ethical in a Suicidal Age
To Bow at the Crossroads: The Joy of an Unreasonable Ethic
In Search of a Universal Reconciliation: Two Speeches, One Vision, and The Means to Save the World
Conclusion: Dostoevsky s Ridiculous Ethic, for His Time and Ours
This book-length essay seeks to make three contributions to the multi-disciplinary field of globalization and ethics. First, it is a study of Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky. I suggest that this great Russian writer has much to offer when it comes to the search for a global ethic, an ethic that he believed was necessarily grounded in an active, extravagant, and transcendent love. Second, I investigate Dostoevsky s response to those who claimed that contemporary European trends-most evident in the emergent secularization of society-provided a more viable foundation for a global ethic than one grounded in the One whom he called simply the Russian Christ. Third, I attempt to do this while still capturing a sense of Dostoevsky s depth and sheer loveliness, especially as this study is also intended for comparative ethicists and nonspecialists who may not be familiar with his work. Dostoevsky, after all, believed that the ethical life was sublimely beautiful, even as it recklessly embraced suffering and unreasonably forgave others.
I thank Mr. Ken Styles, who first introduced Dostoevsky to me when he assigned Crime and Punishment to our literature class at Beamsville District Secondary School in the early 1970s. He assured us that this was a famous novel, and we believed him-though we did not know why-even after we had finished reading it. Several years later I encountered a Dostoevsky novel in a third-year undergraduate course in Russian culture taught by Professor J. W. Dyck at the University of Waterloo. It was The Brothers Karamazov , in English translation, and I can still recall my first encounter with the phantasmagoria of the Grand Inquisitor s legend.
I set Dostoevsky aside almost immediately after the course ended. In a way it could not have been otherwise, for I subsequently entered graduate studies and thereafter began a career as a Russian historian when social history was the rage. I followed suit and was not drawn to Dostoevsky despite the fact that I lived in his city (St. Petersburg, then known as Leningrad) for a year and traveled there often in the years that followed. Only recently have I retraced his steps, sought out his last home, and stood at his graveside. Only recently have I marveled at the city and its people through his eyes.
I found myself returning to Dostoevsky thanks in part to a medical diagnosis in 1997 that reoriented my life. Existential matters took on a greater urgency for me, though such a reorientation may have happened naturally as I entered into, and then departed from, the period known as middle age. Somehow along the way I began to read Dostoevsky s writings, in almost all instances for the first time. I was surprised when other Russianists told me that they were also largely unfamiliar with Dostoevsky s works. On one occasion scholars at Ural State University in Ekaterinburg, Russia, urged me to spend a term there so that their own students could learn something about the writer whom all revered but few bothered to read. My reawakened interest in Dostoevsky coincided with an opportunity I received from my university to found an interdisciplinary program on global issues. My own reading gradually shifted to global ethics, a field from which I soon realized the Russian voice was absent, as was Dostoevsky s in particular. It was with that realization that the seeds for this volume were sown.
I owe a great debt to those who traveled with me over the past several years and who made significant contributions to this book. Thank you to Peter Erb for wise counsel at the start of this journey and for encouraging me to take on a different kind of writing project at this point in my career. Thank you to Boris Khersonsky, who first urged me to write this particular book, just to get it out of my system. He was right. Wayne Dowler and Matthew Kudelka thoughtfully and critically engaged with this manuscript along the way, and it is all the better for their efforts. The Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University has been a most congenial setting for me to teach and conduct research; I am very fortunate. Weekly lunches with George, David, and fellow colleagues have been especially memorable. Beyond the university I owe a word of gratitude to Ardith and Marvin ( 2008) Frey, who lived out the core truths of this study at a time when I was merely beginning to discern them.
I am delighted to have this work published by the University of Notre Dame Press, which has long been a leading voice for thoughtful reflection in the humanities. I am honored to be included with authors as distinguished as Alasdair MacIntyre and Vigen Guroian, and I hope that my contribution will be seen as worthy of the path that others have blazed. I thank Charles Van Hof for his initial interest in this work and his willingness to move it forward. Stephen Little has been as thorough, demanding, and supportive an editor as one could hope for; I thank him and the many others at the press who helped prepare Transcendent Love for publication. Thank you also to the press s two external readers, whose observations and suggestions significantly improved the final shape of this study.
No fellow traveler has meant more to me in my entire adult life than Mary. Over more than thirty-eight years of marriage she has taught me a great deal about love and ethical engagement. Mary also knows more than anyone how much Dostoevsky became a part of my life during these past years, for his writings were always close at hand and forever scattered around our home. There was one exception to this, and it occurred in May and June of 2008, when I promised Mary not to take anything written by Dostoevsky along as we wandered about the Italian peninsula. Yet even this did not stop us, on one particular day in Florence, from setting out to locate the very apartment where Dostoevsky lived in 1867 and 1868 as he finished work on The Idiot . The impact of Dostoevsky s writings on me was such by then that he was never truly absent from my mind or heart. Through all of this and more, Mary s role in my life cannot be overstated, nor can my debt to her.
I dedicate this study to our three dear children, who have brought deep joy to our lives. I hope that this study will be part of the plethora of conversations and ruminations that will engage them in the years to come. I have written it in the hope that they and their generation will always seek out deep ethical truths, even if they find themselves part of a larger culture that seems dangerously fixated on nothing in particular, existentially and ethically speaking. Why not choose instead to engage Dostoevsky s depiction of the ethical life as sublimely beautiful, transformatively forgiving, and transcendently lovely?
So it is that I dedicate this book to Anna, Isaac, and Laura, and to a love that transcends, eternally.
Isthmus Bay November 2015
The Adolescent
The Brothers Karamazov
Crime and Punishment
Notes from a Dead House
The Idiot
Pol noe sobranie sochineni v tridtsati tomakh F. M. Dostoevskago
Notes from Underground
A Writer s Diary (Diary of a Writer)
Winter Notes on Summer Impressions
Why Dostoevsky? Why Now? Why Here?
This study gives Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky a voice in the ongoing discussion about what it means to be ethical. I argue that this great nineteenth-century Russian writer has much to contribute t

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