In The Image of Christ in Russian Literature: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Pasternak
(Northern Illinois University Press, 2018), Dr. John Givens
of the University of Rochester discusses classics of Russian literature such as The Brothers Karamazov
and Dr. Zhivago
, as well as texts of less renown to English-speaking audiences, such as Tolstoy’s Resurrection.
These texts and others, Givens suggests, portray Christ apophatically: that is, by showing who Christ was not, in order to illuminate who Christ therefore must be. In addition to the novels themselves, Givens cites sources such as personal correspondence and important theological works, thus bringing an English-speaking public to greater depth of understanding than would be possible simply by reading Russian novels in translation. Though focused on a specific topic, Givens’ book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in familiarizing themselves with some of the “greats” of the Russian literary canon.
Aaron Weinacht is Professor of History at the University of Montana Western in Dillon, MT. He teaches courses on Russian and Soviet History, World History, and Philosophy of History. His research interests include the sociological theorist Philip Rieff and the influence of Russian nihilism on American libertarianism.