Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The Journal of Literary History and Theory
Peer-reviewed Academic Journal

Machiavelli – Turgenev – Dostoevsky: transformation of the tragicomic motif («Cletia», «The First Love», «The Brothers Karamazov»)



The Renaissance comedy of N. Machiavelli «Cletia» (1525), the story by I.S. Turgenev’s «First Love» (1860), the novel by F.M. Dostoevsky’s «The Brothers Karamazov» (1879–1880) reveals related plot situations and motives. All three texts depict the situations of love rivalry for one woman between two applicants – a father and a son. These situations, having the pathos of a tragicomic paradox, are resolved, however, in several different semantic registers and in several different pretentious fillings. Machiavelli is edifying. Turgenev remains closed in the chamber, private sphere of the personality (and touches little on the general social). In «The Brothers Karamazov», within the framework of Dostoevsky’s analysis of the general contemporary crisis, the author’s skepticism does not find a way to self-overcoming.


Machiavelli; Turgenev; Dostoevsky; tragicomicism; sociohistorical crisis.

DOI: 10/31249/litzhur/2021.51.01

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