Iconic transformations in Dostoevsky's post-Siberian works

Gaal, Katalin (2013) Iconic transformations in Dostoevsky's post-Siberian works. Kaleidoscope, 5 1: 81-89.

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Author Gaal, Katalin
Title Iconic transformations in Dostoevsky's post-Siberian works
Journal name Kaleidoscope
ISSN 1756-8137
Publication date 2013-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 5
Issue 1
Start page 81
End page 89
Total pages 9
Place of publication Durham, United Kingdom
Publisher Durham University, Institute of Advanced Study
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In his 2008 study Language, Faith, and Fiction, Rowan Williams draws attention to the recent upsurge of interest in the role of art, aesthetics and beauty in Dostoevsky’s work, and more especially to its engagement with the tradition of Orthodox iconography. Suggesting that “there is more to be said about the part played by icons in the mature works,” he examines their significance in The Adolescent and especially The Devils as a reminder of humanity’s seemingly lost spiritual dimension and a symbol of “brokenness healed and plurality reconciled.” The themes of idealised beauty and redemption, which characterise so much of iconography, are central to the works of
Dostoevsky’s mature art.

My research focus reflects the Orthodox Christian understanding of iconic beauty, according to which it is an intrinsic part of iconic representational and spiritual transformation. Essentially spiritual, transformative beauty transcends the physical dimension, deriving from the beauty of holiness as the contemplator of iconic beauty as transformed through encountering divinity. This theological belief is underpinned by the Byzantine doctrine that the search for spiritual perfection equates to a striving for the beauty of God. A key question for Dostoevsky’s post-Siberian works is the extent to which iconic beauty meets with a response, and is therefore able to transform or transfigure sinfulness. Transformation is an essential and universal characteristic of the spiritual experience, resulting in the transcendence of pain, suffering and ego. The beauty transmitted through iconic representations is a means for effecting this transformation, hence its importance in Orthodox theology.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes This special issue publishes a selection of papers from two conferences. While these two conferences were held on different topics, they shared similarities in that they were both organised by postgraduates as venues for postgraduate and early-career researchers to present their work in relaxed environment. Kaleidoscope is pleased to present the proceedings from these two conferences together as a single volume. The first conference in this issue is a selection of papers from the Rhizomes V: “Diaspora – Language and Place” conference held by the School of Languages and Comparative Studies at the University of Queensland in February 2010. The second group of papers is from the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Midterm Conference 2011 entitled Geographical Futures hosted by the Durham University Geography Department in April 2011. This article was presented at the Rhizomes V: “Diaspora – Language and Place” conference.

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Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Tue, 19 Feb 2013, 11:06:17 EST by Ms Katrina Hume on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures