Dostoevskii’s Overcoat: Influence, Comparison, and Transposition
Edited by Joe Andrew and Robert Reid
One of the most famous quotations in the history of Russian literature is Fedor Dostoevskii’s alleged assertion that ‘We have all come out from underneath Gogol’s Overcoat’. Even if Dostoevskii never said this, there is a great deal of truth in the comment. Gogol certainly was a profound influence on his work, as were many others. Part of this book’s project is to locate Dostoevskii in relationship to his predecessors and contemporaries. However, the primary aim is to turn the oft-quoted apocryphal comment on its head, to see the profound influence Dostoevskii had on the lives, work and thought of his contemporaries and successors. This influence extends far beyond Russia and beyond literature. Dostoevskii may be seen as the single greatest influence on the sensibilities of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. To a greater or lesser extent those concerned with the creative arts in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have all come out from under Dostoevskii’s ‘Overcoat’.