Stavrogin's Confession and The Plan of The Life of a Great Sinner With Introductory and Explanatory Notes
The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.
THE PLAN OF
THE LIFE OF A GREAT SINNER
The Russian Government has recently publisheda small paper-covered book containing Stavrogin’sConfession, unpublished chapters of Dostoevsky’snovel The Possessed, and Dostoevsky’s plan orsketch of a novel which he never actually wrotebut which he called The Life of a Great Sinner.The circumstances in which these MSS. werediscovered are described in the note of theRussian Government which we give below. Ourtranslation of Stavrogin’s Confession and of theplan is from the text as published by the RussianGovernment. We have added translations ofintroductory or explanatory notes upon the twoMSS. by V. Friche, V. Komarovich, and N.Brodsky. The notes by Friche and Komarovichare given in the book published by the RussianGovernment, that by M. Komarovich appearedin Builoe (No. 18, 1922).
It should be added that there are two different6versions of the unpublished chapters of ThePossessed in existence, and they have both beenpublished for the first time this year. The secondversion, which is in the Pushkin Department ofthe Russian Academy of Sciences, was publishedin Builoe. We have not included it, since itappears to be an earlier version than that publishedby the Russian Government. It should be notedthat M. Komarovich’s note refers to this versionin the Academy of Sciences.
|New MSS. of F. M. Dostoevsky: Note by the Russian Government||9|
|Stavrogin’s Confession. By F. M. Dostoevsky||17|
|The Plan of The Life of a Great Sinner. By F. M. Dostoevsky||85|
|Stavrogin’s Meeting with Tikhon. By V. Friche||115|
|Introduction to the Unpublished Chapter of The Possessed. By V. Komarovich||125|
|The Unfulfilled Idea: Note on The Life of a Great Sinner. By N. Brodsky||145|
NEW MSS. OF F. M. DOSTOEVSKY
On November 12, 1921, in the presence of A. V.Lunacharsky, Commissar of Education, and M. N.Pokrovsky, Assistant Commissar of Education,in the Central Archive Department of the RussianSocialist Federative Soviet Republic there wasopened a white tin case numbered 5038 from theState Archives containing F. M. Dostoevsky’spapers.
In the case were twenty-three articles: note-books,bags, and bundles of letters and otherdocuments. On one of these note-books, whichis bound (187 numbered pages), is written: “encas de ma mort ou une maladie grave”; theseare business papers and instructions of AnnaGrigorevna Dostoevsky, the writer’s wife. Onpages 53-55 she has written: “List of note-books10in which Fedor Mikhailovich wrote theplans of his novels and also some biographicalnotes, copies of letters, etc.” Madame A. G.Dostoevsky gives a list of fifteen such note-bookswith a short description of their contents anddisposal: Nos. 1 and 2, Crime and Punishment;No. 3, Crime and Punishment and The Idiot;Nos. 4-5, Journal, 1876; No. 6, Journal, 1881;Nos. 7 and 8, The Raw Youth; No. 9, BrothersKaramazov; No. 10, The Idiot; No. 11, TheEternal Husband; Nos. 12-15, The Possessed.Of these fifteen note-books enumerated by A. G.Dostoevsky the following were deposited on herinstructions in the Historical Museum: No. 7,No. 12, and No. 13. Note-book No. 8 was in1901 “transferred to Lubov Fedorovna Dostoevsky”(Dostoevsky’s daughter), and No. 9 wasdeposited elsewhere. The other note-books ofDostoevsky given in A. G. Dostoevsky’s list,with the exception of No. 11, i.e. Nos. 1-6, 10,14, and 15, were found in the white case whenit was opened on November 12 at the CentralArchive Department.
On the first page of these note-books A. G.Dostoevsky has, in her own handwriting, given abrief list of their contents, as follows:
1. Variant of the novel Crime and Punishment, underthe title On Trial. (Raskolnikov tells his story.)
2. Materials for the novel Crime and Punishment.
3. Draft of letter to Katkov.
1. Variant of the novel Crime and Punishment.
2. Materials for the novel Crime and Punishment.
3. Materials for the tale The Crocodile.—Answers toSovremennik.—Notes.
4. Letter to Katkov (1865) explaining the fundamentalidea of Crime and Punishment.
1. Materials for the novel Crime and Punishment.
2. Materials for the novel The Idiot.
Journal, 1876. January, February, March.
Journal, 1876. April, December.
The Possessed. Notes for the end of the novel.
In addition to these note-books which werein A. G. Dostoevsky’s list, there were also foundin the white case three other note-books notmentioned by her, namely, (1) containing materialsfor The Raw Youth, in a linen binding, 204 pages;(2) unbound, 33½ folios, also containing materialfor The Raw Youth (one of these may be eitherNo. 7 or No. 8 above); (3) containing materialsfor The Idiot, 144 pages.
Everything of value in these note-books willbe published in a book, now being prepared,which will include Dostoevsky’s letters found inthe case; they cover the period 1839-1855,mostly to his brother, as well as the period 1866-1880,13the latter being to his fiancée and futurewife, A. G. Dostoevsky. The new note-bookswill make it possible to understand with someaccuracy and completeness the method of workby which Dostoevsky produced such masterpiecesas Crime and Punishment, The Raw Youth, andThe Possessed. Besides these, there are scatteredthrough the note-books subjects of stories (TheCrank), long tales (The Seekings), poems (Imperator),which were planned but not written.
In addition to the list which Madame Dostoevskygives in the note-book marked “en cas dema mort, etc.,” she also mentions one othernote-book in which fifteen proof-sheets of ThePossessed had been pasted. This note-book wasalso found in the white case. On the first pageof it A. G. Dostoevsky has written: “In thisnote-book (in proof-sheets) are a few chaptersof the novel The Possessed, which were not includedin it by F. M. Dostoevsky, when it was publishedin Russkìi Vèstnik. The first chapter (proof-sheets1-5) was first published in the eighthvolume of the jubilee edition of the CompleteWorks in the section ‘Materials for the novelThe Possessed.’” (This last statement is not quitecorrect. In the “Materials,” to which A. G.14Dostoevsky refers, the first chapter is not publishedin full, the first twenty lines not being included.)“The other chapters,” A. G. Dostoevsky continues,“have never been published.”
Below the reader will find the text of thesetwo hitherto unpublished chapters of The Possessed.We have thought it necessary also to republish thefirst chapter, because all these chapters form awhole and should be given together, and alsobecause the beginning of the first chapter wasnot published in the Supplement to Vol. VIII. ofthe jubilee edition. The fifteen proof-sheetspasted in the note-book—particularly after thefirst chapter—are covered, in the margins andthe text itself, with a vast number of corrections,insertions, and additions in Dostoevsky’s handwriting.
We give below the text of the proofs withonly a few of the author’s corrections. We haveomitted passages which Dostoevsky struck outwithout substituting a variant, though we givesuch passages in the footnotes. We have madea few corrections about which there could be nodoubt. All the other corrections and additions,which are extremely numerous, will be given ina book of new materials on Dostoevsky which15is under preparation. It is clear that the authorhimself did not consider that these marginalcorrections and additions were final. This isshown by the fact that there are several mistakesin the text and the punctuation is not alwayscorrect, while often there are several differentcorrections of the text in the margin and it is notclear which correction is to be preferred; otherpassages are incompletely corrected, and, lastly,several corrections inserted in the text give arough version in which the same idea is expressedmore than once in different words.
The plan of The Life of a Great Sinner,which we give below, is taken from F. M.Dostoevsky’s note-book which is in the HistoricalMuseum. This plan has recently been publishedby L. P. Grossman in his book on Dostoevsky,but not in full nor accurately, with such importantomissions that the text given below can alone beconsidered accurately to reproduce the original.
Nikolai Vsevolodovich did not sleep that night,and all the time he sat on the sofa, often gazingfixedly at a particular point in the corner nearthe chest of drawers. All night long the lampburnt in his room. About seven o’clock in themorning he fell asleep where he sat, and, whenAlexei Egorovich, according to invariable custom,came into his room at half-past nine preciselywith a cup of coffee and, by coming in, wokehim, he seemed unpleasantly surprised that heshould have slept so long and that it was alreadyso late. He hastily drank his coffee, hastilydressed himself, and hurriedly left the house.To Alexei Egorovich’s hesitating question “Anyorders?” he made no reply. He walked along20the street looking at the ground, deep in thought,save that now and then he looked up for a moment,raised his head, showing a certain vague butviolent uneasiness. At one crossing, not farfrom the house, a crowd of peasants, about