Authors

Louise Cowan

Document Type

Lecture

Date Range

1995-2005

Abstract

Dostoevsky was the first writer to discover that the novel could be an instrument of discovery–even a kind of prophecy. This is to say that he discovered the novel as a mode of poetry–and in a poem, form and content cannot be separated: the way in which something is said is as much constitutive of the meaning as is the content. Dostoevsky once wrote that for the novelist, the germ, the insight, came first–and one might call that the poem. Then there was the work of constructing the work of art itself, which one might call the novel. Yet the novelist who is also a poet views his potential work with the eyes of his entire culture; there is no way for a writer to write like Homer, say, or Dante in our time–or in Dostoevsky’s.

Comments

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