What first attracted you to Dostoevsky’s work?
Nietzsche once said that Dostoevsky was “the only person who has ever taught me anything about psychology.” I became obsessed with Dostoevsky’s work during my early twenties when I read The Idiot, a masterpiece which became for me not only a source of psychological insight, but also of philosophical thought and spirituality – my other passions, aside from theatre and literature. He is one of those rare writers whose influence extends far beyond his immediate discipline.
It was fascinating for me as a student of Empiricist philosophy, who was dissatisfied with the rational positivist approach taught to me at LSE [London School of Economics and Political Science], to dwell on the “Shakespeare of the lunatic asylum”, and have a chance to explore the darker and more irrational sides of human nature. It was a revelation to realise that Dostoevsky’s philosophical thought is at the root of Existentialism, a branch of philosophy that resonates with me very strongly. And to find out that most existentialist thinkers, including Sarte and Camus, have at some stage addressed the issues raised by Fyodor Mihailovich. (more…)