Studies in East European Thought 62 (3-4):413-429 (2010)

Abstract
The article investigates Dostoevsky 's juridical discourse and demonstrates that the apologist of the Russian soul had a genuinely European mind. In his novel The Idiot in particular, in which the death penalty and imprisonment are explored, Dostoevsky unmasks— more radically even than Victor Hugo— the supposedly civilised and lenient forms of modern criminal justice. Dostoevsky 's criticism is ahead of its time; his arguments resemble those subsequently put forward by Foucault. A comparison with Anatoly Pristavkin's report on post-Communist crime and jurisdiction underscores the topicality of these reflections.
Keywords Death penalty  Imprisonment  Russian soul  Western civilisation  Psychology  Writing  Painting  Compassion
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DOI 10.1007/s11212-010-9123-x
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