Humiliated and Insulted
Translated by Ignat Avsey
First published in 1861, Humiliated and Insulted plunges the reader into a world of moral degradation, childhood trauma, 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 and original 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.
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.
Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist, more than Gauss!
Irrespective of its value as a work of art, this novel possesses a deep autobiographical interest also, as the character of Vanya, the poor student who loves Natasha through all her sin and shame, is Dostoevsky’s study of himself.
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.
The only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–81) is considered one of the greatest writers of all time. His works include such seminal novels as Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Karamazov Brothers.