After Reception Theory
Fedor Dostoevskii in Britain, 1869-1935

Lucia Aiello

Legenda (General Series)


25 September 2013  •  148pp

ISBN: 978-1-907975-44-8 (hardback)  •  RRP £80, $110, €95

ISBN: 978-1-351192-31-6 (Taylor & Francis ebook)


More often than not, monographs on the reception of an author are either detailed, chronologically organized accounts of the reputation of that author, or studies in literary influence. This study adopts neither of those approaches and deals with the reception of Fedor Dostoevskii in Britain from a double perspective. The detailed analysis of primary sources such as reviews, essays and monographs on Dostoevskii is associated here with a critical investigation of the dynamics of the reception process. On the one hand, the available sources are examined with the intention of exposing their underlying ideological tensions and impact on British literary circles. On the other hand, Fedor Dostoevskii's novels are shown to function as a prism, through which significant aspects of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British intellectual life are refracted. In the final analysis, by using Dostoevskii as an exemplary case study, this book develops both a methodology that aims at clarifying what we mean when we refer to 'reception' and a theoretical alternative to prevalent notions of reception.

Lucia Aiello is Deputy Director of the Languages for All Programme at the University of York. She gained her PhD from the Bakhtin Centre, University of Sheffield, in 2001, and has taught Italian and comparative literature at various British and American universities based in Italy. She has published on Dostoevskii, Emily Dickinson, Amelia Rosselli, and Anna Banti, and is co-founder and assistant editor of the Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies.


  • ‘This new study complements a number of existing accounts of Dostoevsky reception in Britain and adds to our understanding of Anglo-Russian cul- tural exchange more generally. It also explores the current state of reception studies in the literary humanities (which it views rather pessimistically), creatively blurring the distinction between ques- tions of individual aesthetic reaction (‘reader response’) and patterns of transmission and cultural exchange.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 51.1, January 2015, 87
  • ‘This book calls attention to the complexity of reception and literary criticism, analyzes temporal and geographic context, and stresses the importance and nuances of the cultural context in which a work and its criticism arise. Aiello's study re-evaluates a familiar theoretical framework, providing a new perspective for scholars in the field.’ — Megan Luttrell, Slavic and East European Journal 58.4, Winter 2014, 722-24
  • ‘Fedor Dostoevskii once wrote in a letter to his brother, ‘Man is a mystery. It needs to be unravelled.’ Lucia Aiello’s new monograph traces the broad scope of social, psychological, and, most frequently, biographical criticism in Britain that has sought to unravel the mysteries of his major works.’ — Patrick Jeffery, Modern Language Review 111.2, April 2016, 600-601 (full text online)

Bibliography entry:

Aiello, Lucia, After Reception Theory: Fedor Dostoevskii in Britain, 1869-1935 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013)

First footnote reference: 35 Lucia Aiello, After Reception Theory: Fedor Dostoevskii in Britain, 1869-1935 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Aiello, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Aiello, Lucia. 2013. After Reception Theory: Fedor Dostoevskii in Britain, 1869-1935 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Aiello 2013: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Aiello 2013: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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