Literature and philosophy have been traditionally linked in Russian cultural history, and many Russian thinkers have addressed specifically literary issues in their works. Lev Shestov represents one of the best examples of this phenomenon, his whole philosophy being close to literature in a variety of ways. Regarded as a representative of existential philosophy and a pre-cursor of Sartrian existentialism, Shestov started his writing career essentially as a literary critic with his unconventional studies of Tolstoi and Dostoevskii, and he has also written on other classical Russian writers. In his treatment of literary works he was first and foremost interested in the existential experience of the writer, whose oeuvre he regarded mostly as evidence of this experience. This produced some highly original, even if controversial, literary criticism and served as a welcome complement to existing, more conventional, studies on Russian literature. This paper examines Shestov’s literary criticism, discusses his method and its conclusions, and demonstrates that in his approach Shestov anticipated such modern critical trends as the psychoanalytical method and the postmodernist method of ‘narrative psychology’
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