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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Tatyana V. Kovalevskaya
  • Pages: 403–428
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
  • Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
  • Rights – URL: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent: Current State of Research
  • DOI:
  • EDN:

  • Year of publication: 2022
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Kovalevskaya, T.V. “Charles Gounod’s Faust and Dostoevsky’s Artistic Principles.” Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent: Current State of Research. Editor-in-Chief T.A. Kasatkina. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2022, pp. 403–428. (In Russ.)

Information about the author:

Tatyana V. Kovalevskaya, DSc in Philosophy, Docent, Full Professor, European Languages Department, Institute of Linguistics, Russian State University for the Humanities, Miusskaya Sq. 6, 125993 Moscow, Russia.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The article considers the “Faustian” scene in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Adolescent as the musical embodiment of Dostoevsky’s central poetic device: statements with maximum formal similarity and maximum semantic divergence. This device is contextualized within Mikhail Bakhtin’s polyphonic novel concept and within the context of the history of polyphony as a musical phenomenon starting with its origins in the Western European music. We follow Larisa Gogotishvili’s suggestion that Mikhail Bakhtin’s polyphony is not the polyphony of the 18th–19th century (Johann Sebastian Bach, for instance) but the 20th-century polyphony (Arnold Schoenberg) and propose that Bakhtin’s and Dostoevsky’s concepts of polyphony have different origins (relativist in Bakhtin and epistemological in Dostoevsky) and consequently serve different purposes: Bakhtin affirms a multiplicity of voices as a matter of principle, while Dostoevsky strives to ultimately overcome this multiplicity by covering as many concepts of reality as possible. The breadth of Dostoevsky’s conceptual range is intended to overcome humans’ epistemological limitations and avoid dangerous cognitive traps that lie in statements that are formally close but semantically different.

  • Keywords: The Adolescent, Hector Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique, polyphony, Mikhail Bakhtin, Arnold Schoenberg.


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