In this paper I respond to Elżbieta Mikiciuk’s polemic with my article: The Brothers Karamazov: Dostoevsky’s Tainted Hosanna (“Slavia Orientalis” 2017, nr 1; the polemic was published in “Slavia Orientalis” 2017, nr 2). I use this opportunity to look at my article anew and restate my interpretative approach to Dostoevsky’s last novel as well as the line of argumentation I had decided to adopt. The substance of my response relies heavily on the point evoked several times by E. Mikiciuk, concerning my “biased” selection of citations from the novel which generates a “one-dimensional”, “manipulated”, and “false” image of Christianity as a religion that approves of an “economic” idea of God, a God from whom one has to “buy” a right to salvation. Recalling narrations of starets Zosima on the problem of involuntary suffering and death, and meditating on an indefi nite, unpredictable or highly ambiguous nature of such characters as Dymitr and Alyosha Karamazov or Smerdyakov, I emphasize the radical openness and polyphonic nature of Dostoevsky's text which allows for manifold, even contradictory readings and understandings of the same fragments of his complex works. Further, I develop a key thesis that both theological/religious interpretations of Dostoevsky’s oeuvre, as supported by Elżbieta Mikiciuk, and philosophical/ existential ones, as advanced by me, are feasible and valuable as long as they remain anchored in a close reading and do not lay claims to representing the one and only valid approach to his literary universe. The paper ends with a conclusion in which I encourage a mutually inspirational dialogue (the agon, if you will) between these two exegetic strategies. Such a dialogue seems essential for a reinvigoration of Dostoevsky’s literary work, against which one should continuously measure himself in a constant, even painful at times, sense of insuffi ciency of his/her interpretative insight facing a paradoxical, axiologically ambivalent, and strictly polyphonic oeuvre.
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