on Dostoevsky’s sketches and calligraphy

Fa078014-fad0-11e7-9a34-94e1b34681c34Robert Bird at the TLS:

Dostoevsky’s gateless fortress also reminds us that, as a trained draughtsman, he thought in images no less than in words. He wrote frequently about painting, and many of his key terms suggest visual, rather than verbal communication, from “impression” (vpechatlenie) to “disfiguration” (bezobrazie). In his novels major characters first emerge as faces, and then persist as gazes; think of the self-sacrificing prostitute Sonya Marmeladova staring silently at Raskolnikov in her squalid room, and then at the crossroads. Countless artists and film­makers have been moved to transpose Dostoevsky’s fictions into new works of visual art. It is no great surprise, then, that his manuscripts teem with calligraphic exercises and graphic doodles.

As the culmination of decades of pioneering research, Konstantin Barsht has produced a comprehensive dictionary of graphic devices in Dostoevsky’s manuscripts. The Drawings and Calligraphy of Fyodor Dostoevsky is published in three languages (English, Italian and Russian) as the first entry in a new series, Calligrammes, dedicated to the intersection of graphic art and literature.

more here.