Oscar Wilde claimed that Humiliated and Insulted
is not "at all inferior to the other great masterpieces" and Friedrich Nietzsche is said to have wept over it. Its construction is that of an intricate detective novel, and the reader is plunged into a world of moral degradation, childhood trauma and, above all, unrequited love and irreconcilable relationships. At the centre of the story are a young struggling author, an orphaned teenager and a depraved aristocrat, who not only foreshadows the great figures of evil in Dostoevsky's later fiction, but is a powerful literary presence in his own right. This new translation catches the verve and tumult of the original, which - in concept and execution - affords a refreshingly unfamiliar glimpse of the author.
'The real nineteenth-century prophet was
Dostoevsky, not Karl Marx.'
'Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist, more than Gauss!'
'The only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn.'
'... This note of personal feeling, this harsh reality of actual experience,
undoubtedly gives Humiliated and Insulted something of its strange
fervour and terrible passion, yet it has not made it egotistic; we see
things from every point of view, and we feel not that action has been
trammelled by fact, but that fact itself has become ideal and imaginative.'
'The novels of Dostoevsky are seething whirlpools, gyrating sandstorms,
waterspouts which hiss and boil and suck us in. They are composed purely
and wholly of the stuff of the soul. Against our wills we are drawn in,
whirled round, blinded, suffocated, and at the same time filled with a
giddy rapture. Out of Shakespeare there is no more exciting reading.'
Read an excerpt from Humiliated and Insulted
By the same author: