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Криницын А. Б. Функция предыстории героя в романном построении Ф. М. Достоевского // Вестник ПСТГУ. Серия III: Филология. 2016. Вып. 3 (48). С. 67-77. DOI: 10.15382/sturIII201648.67-77
In preparatory materials for Dostoevsky’s novels, we see a large number of dramatically evolving plots, typical of adventure novels, whereas in the final variant their number is substantially reduced due to the fact that most events remain in the pre-novel past and in characters’ prehistory. Dostoevsky clearly tends to place all decisive actions of his characters outside the confines of the «present» of the novel. The prehistory can be introduced by means of a story within a story, due to which it approaches the novel’s storyline, the only difference being in the number of details. As a result, it is often impossible to differentiate between (1) prehistory as the beginning of the plot, and (2) characteristics of a personage (in the exposition). The concise prehistory becomes a characterisation of the personage. This characterisation is, in its turn, necessary as a potential for the development of the plot. Dostoevsky thinks through his characters’ biographies in minute details, yet concealing them from his reader. This enables him to complicate the perception of his characters, making the reader think of most unexpected clues. Prehistory looks unstated and the reader feels that the author is always holding something back. Dostoevsky applies a remarkable psychological device: he constructs a psychological novel on the basis of an undeveloped adventure novel. As a result, prehistory contains most important units of the plot, entire novels-in-the-past, pertaining to the main characters and leading directly to the plot. This device becomes most conspicuous in Бесы (The Demons) and enables the author to maintain high degree of tension, characteristic of plots of adventure novels.
Dostoevsky’s novels, adventure novel, idea, prehistory, plot.

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