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The influence of Cervantes' Don Quixote on Dostoevsky's The Idiot is well documented and profound. As Dostoevsky's character Aglaia Epanchin explains, Prince Myshkin is Quixote, "only serious and not comic" (The Idiot 241; pt.2, ch.6). But while Myshkin replicates both the Don's idealistic quest to save the world and his platonic devotion to an idealized woman, Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, the protagonist of Dostoevsky's early novel The Double, presents no less significant if very different parallels to Cervantes' hero. Like Quixote, The Double is a study of the psychological means whereby a flattering illusion about the self is rescued and preserved by secondary paranoid delusions about the outside world. Though there is no mention of Quixote in Dostoevsky's letters prior to the publication of The Double in 1846, several scholars consider it likely that Dostoevsky was already familiar with the book by that time. Jack Weiner points out an explicit reference to Don Quixote in Dostoevsky's Novel in Nine Letters of 1847 and asserts that Dostoevsky must have read Quixote in his youth, probably in Masalsky's 1838 translation (Weiner 90). Paul Debreczeny agrees that the young Dostoevsky, an "avid reader of everything that came off the press" (e-mail to the author) could hardly have missed the Masalsky translation when it appeared. Weiner (97), Victor Terras (23), and John Jones (49, 91) have observed that the summary chapter subtitles in the original version of The Double, deleted by the author in the 1865 edition, are reminiscent of Quixote. And Joseph Frank, arguing that "as first conceived" Golyadkin "had a streak of Quixote in him," quotes a passage deleted in the revision of the novel in which we learn that Golyadkin

December 1
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Department of English

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