Communities of Dialogue Russian and Ukrainian Émigrés in Modernist Prague

Conference | Paper

The Poetics of Recognition and the Poison of Resentment: The Case of the “Superman” Raskolnikov

Erik Martin

Thursday 23 May 2024

11:00 - 11:45


The aim of the talk is to argue that in “Crime and Punishment” (1866), Dostoevsky isn’t primarily presenting a positive model of redemption through suffering. Instead, he rather incriminates suffering as an dead end of a failed mutual recognition. Furthermore, Raskolnikov’s infatuation with his own supposed exceptionality can be examined through this lens.
I further argue, that (Christian) suffering and humility don’t counteract Raskolnikov’s sense of “exceptionality” (his superman complex), but rather represent two aspects of the same resentment, as opposed to recognition.
Hence, Dostoevsky not only levels a similar critique against Christianity as Nietzsche would later, but also subtly comments on Russia’s national aspirations towards exceptionality.