Reflection Of Dostoevsky’s Ideas In Wilde’s Play “Vera, Or The Nihilists”


The article analyzes the typological similarity in the perception of nihilism in F.M. Dostoevsky’s novel «The Possessed» and Oscar Wilde’s play «Vera, or the Nihilists». Wilde knew the works of outstanding contemporary Russian writers, the topic of conspiracies and popular disorders was relevant to the writer. Wilde was one of the first in English literature to comprehend seriously the activities of revolutionary and terrorist organizations. The article substantiates the similar perception of forming a nihilistic worldview among young people in the last third of the XIX century by Dostoevsky and Wilde. The paper compares ideas of Dostoevsky's novel and Wilde's play about the relationship of conspirators with the authorities, scandalous or criminal methods of their activity, nihilists’ selfish goals hidden behind ideological attitudes. Both authors show nihilism as one of the consequences of weakening piety, strengthening materialistic tendencies. Wilde shared Dostoevsky's idea of the inability to comprehend the laws of the world order only with the help of reason. The article points out some similarities between the image of Shatov and the image of Tsarevich Alexis as victims of nihilism. Each of the authors puts his own meanings into female images, but both have a negative attitude towards socially active heroines. Using the artistic possibilities of the text, the writers emphasize the anti-human essence of nihilism, the similarity of «The Possessed» and «Vera» is also evident in the fact that each of the authors offers his own utopian idea of the progressive movement of society based on faith.

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31 March 2022

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Valova, O. M., & Shcherbakova, T. V. (2022). Reflection Of Dostoevsky’s Ideas In Wilde’s Play “Vera, Or The Nihilists”. In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 103-111). European Publisher.