“The Double” of Dostoevsky and the authorship of “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign”.

Wooden church in Plyos at the last rays of the sun. Isaac Levitan, 1888. This is what the house of Sergius of Radonezh should have looked like.


The role of an idol and an image as a double of reality is considered. A hypothesis has been proposed that the «national saint and reverend» double of Sergius of Radonezh completely eclipsed the national poet — the creator of «The Tale of Igor’s Campaign» and Russian folk tales.

But it’s still a pity — sometimes over our victories
Pedestals rise that are higher than victories.

Bulat Okudzhava “You can’t bring back the past…”



“The Double” of Dostoevsky in the context of «The Grand Inquisitor» poem.

Almost any object or phenomenon has a real side, “as it is,” and another from which this object or phenomenon is seen or presented from the outside. Also there may even be several such external views. An image can arise spontaneously or be created consciously, for some purpose. To prove the sphericity of the Earth, Magellan’s experiment was needed. The apparent movement of the Sun across the sky does not mean that it is rotating.

The artist Alexander Demyanenko was wildly popular, but the unique image of “Shurik” he created in the cinema completely eclipsed the actor himself. Demyanenko was a brunette, but in the movies he became a dyed blonde. The actor became a hostage of an intelligent and cheerful student, the creator of a time machine. “Shurik” would never have received any serious role, although since childhood he dreamed of “Hamlet”. The emerging double role began to dictate its will for the actor.

Anichkov Bridge on the Fontanka in St. Petersburg. Sculptures of the Dioscuri brothers.
Anichkov Bridge on the Fontanka in St. Petersburg. Sculptures of the Dioscuri brothers.

Bulat Okudzhava created in his songs the image of the small Moscow street “Arbat” as something completely unique and magical. Arbat of Okudzhava had a great commercial success and it turned the street into one colorful boutique. Okudzhava sang:

Your pedestrians are not big people
They are clicking their heels, rushing about business…

Today’s Arbat pedestrians are visitors to restaurants, cafes and fashion stores loitering in their free time. Nothing remains of the quiet street about which Okudzhava sang. Modern street sent the old one to eternal rest.

The author of the famous song “Poplar fluff, heat July…” made a mistake. The fluff from poplars flies in June, not in July, but no one will change the words of the song, although this will not even break the rhyme. What difference does it make when it flies? It is easier to allow the impossible than to correct what is generally accepted. No one will correct the writings of the Abrahamic religions in order to put the process of creation of the Universe described there in agreement with modern achievements of astrophysics.

Idols, images-double of ordinary people, are often created with the aim of raising the authority of some teachings. Half a century ago, in almost every city of the USSR, the central or one of the central streets or squares bore the name of Lenin. An innumerable number of monuments were erected to him. In order to elevate the status of the ruling communist ideology at that time, Lenin, as the main saint, was required to be strictly revered. Image-double Lenin had almost nothing in common with the real person, and the overthrow of the idol became one of the most powerful incentives for the collapse of the USSR in the 90s. A revived monument can completely destroy what created it. Who can resist the statue of the Commander when he wants to walk “on the ringing slabs”?

The commander’s steps are angry and booming.
I decided: as in old good times,
Shouldn’t I walk on the slabs, ringing them? —
And the crowds fled into the alleys,
When I pulled out my leg with a groan
And the stones fell off me.

Vladimir Vysotsky “Monument”

Illustration for ``The Copper Horseman'' by Pushkin. F.N. Benois, 1905
Illustration for «The Copper Horseman» by Pushkin. F.N. Benois, 1905

In Ivan Karamazov’s poem “The Grand Inquisitor” from Dostoevsky’s book “The Brothers Karamazov”, the action takes place during the harshest Inquisition in Spain, in Seville. There appears someone similar to Jesus, not “in heavenly glory, like lightning flashing from east to west,” but in the same very “human form in which he walked among men for three years fifteen centuries ago.” He resurrects the girl just as Jesus resurrected Jairus’s daughter in the Gospels: “Talitha Kumi and the maiden rose.” The Grand Inquisitor, who saw this, orders the guards to seize the wanderer and bring him to the gloomy prison of the holy judgment court. Then, the old cardinal explains to Jesus in detail why, while alive, he is the main enemy of the church and the first who deserved to be burned at the stake. The Seville night “smells of laurel and lemon,” which refers to “The Stone Guest” by A.S. Pushkin.

There are two Jesuses in the poem. One is an idol, an abstract image, the main saint of the cult. The other is the original, who appeared in blood and flesh and is capable of some new words and actions. The revived idol is the most terrible enemy for the authority of its double. What the historical Jesus really was and how exactly the transformation of a living person into a product of mythology, an instrument of the church service took place is a separate big topic. There is also an opinion that Jesus never existed at all and this is a pure myth. In Bulgakov’s novel “The Master and Margarita”, talking at the Patriarch’s Ponds with Satan, Woland, Berlioz reasons:

“There is not a single Eastern religion,” said Berlioz, “in which, as a rule, an immaculate virgin would not give birth to a god.” And the Christians, without inventing anything new, created their own Jesus in the same way, who in fact was never alive.»

However, Woland insists:

Keep in mind that Jesus existed.

It is much safer for the viability of any religion if the prototype “god” never existed at all. There is no chance of meeting Zeus, Apollo or Yahweh. You can’t have dinner with them, “drop into Yar (that was the name of a famous restaurant from the times of Pushkin) even for a quarter of an hour,” however, if at the center of the cult is a living person, as in the case of Leninism or Christianity, then everything is completely different. You can’t have dinner with Lenin either, but as a result of “glasnost and perestroika,” his image acquired real human traits that are not always acceptable for an eternal idol. Today, only a madman can erect a monument to Lenin.

The subject of the transformation of Jesus is very interesting in itself, but it does not answer the question: who exactly and for what purpose created Christianity and whether “God” exists, and if he exists, what he is. Many researchers of the historical Jesus are convinced atheists. The role of world religions in the formation and evolution of modern civilization is especially obvious if you look at the history of mankind on the largest scale. It was the Abrahamic religions that determined what most of our world looks like today, although other religions also had a huge influence on the development of humanity.

It is very unlikely that large-scale religions arose spontaneously, on their own. In a conversation at the Patriarch’s Ponds, after mentioning several proofs of the existence of God, Woland asks his interlocutors:

If there is no God, then, the question arises, who controls human life and the entire order on earth?

To manage, you need, after all, to have an accurate plan for some, at least somewhat decent, period. Let me ask you, how can a person manage if he is not only deprived of the opportunity to draw up any plan for at least a ridiculously short period of time, well, say, a thousand years, but cannot even vouch for his own tomorrow?

“Gods” of different religions are very different from each other. In Islam, God resembles a gracious and merciful sultan; in Judaism, he is impersonal, although once he appeared in the form of a bush burning with cold fire. In these religions, images of “god” are prohibited. In Christianity, “god” looks like a wandering Jewish preacher, and here they do not skimp on images. The gods of the Greco-Roman pantheon also did not have a ban on their images and in this sense they are closer to Christianity. Images of ancient gods served as an incentive for the development of sculpture and painting.

If “god” really exists and wants to communicate with people, “have dinner, drop into Yar for at least a quarter of an hour,” in what form would it be better for him to appear? Ivan Karamazov noted that the best part of his poem could be why exactly Jesus is recognized on the streets of Seville. If «god» decides to walk on the slabs ringing or simply address people with some kind of message, then how can he identify himself? The image of a “god” from any religion is his “Double”. In proving its authenticity, the original will have to fight many doubles, and the creation of a new religion will give birth to another double.

With every step he took, with every kick of his foot on the granite of the sidewalk, Mr. Golyadkin’s heart, exactly the same, completely similar and disgusting depravity, jumped out as if from underground. And all these completely similar ones immediately after their appearance began to run one after another and in a long chain, like a string of geese, they stretched and hobbled after Mr. Golyadkin Sr., so that there was nowhere to run away from completely similar.

Mr. Golyadkin’s double appears on the banks of the Fontanka River near the twin bridges, the architectural culmination of which is the Anichkov Bridge, associated with the myth of the twin brothers Dioscuri. Interpretations of the Dioscuri myths included the origin of the gods through the posthumous deification of mortals.

The night of the appearance of the double is described in the darkest tones and refers to Pushkin’s “The Copper Horseman”.

It was a terrible November night — wet, foggy, rainy, snowy, fraught with fluxes, runny noses, fevers, toads, fevers of all possible kinds and varieties — in a word, all the gifts of St. Petersburg November. The wind howled in the empty streets, raising the black water of the Fontanka above the rings and fervently touching the skinny lamps of the embankment, which in turn echoed its howls with a thin, piercing creak, which formed an endless, squeaky, rattling concert, very familiar to every St. Petersburg resident. It was raining and snowing at the same time. Jets of rainwater, broken by the wind, sprayed almost horizontally, as if from a fire pipe, and pricked and cut the face of the unfortunate Mr. Golyadkin, like thousands of pins and hairpins. In the midst of the silence of the night, interrupted only by the distant hum of carriages, the howl of the wind and the creaking of lanterns, the splashing and murmur of water flowing from all the roofs, porches, gutters and cornices onto the granite platform of the sidewalk was sadly heard.

From Pushkin in “The Copper Horseman”:

Above the darkened Petrograd
November breathed the autumn chill.

Golyadkin notes:

What a weather, thought our hero, wow! will there be a flood? Apparently the water has risen too much.

The only thing that cannot be harmed by any flood or natural disaster is the bronze sculpture of Peter the Great, The Double of the Creator of St. Petersburg.

And with his back turned to him,
In the unshakable heights,
Over the indignant Neva
Stands with outstretched hand
Idol on a bronze horse.

Another reference in the text of «The Double» is to Goethe’s “Faust.”

Some lost little dog, all wet and shivering, tagged along with Mr. Golyadkin and also ran sideways beside him, hurriedly, with its tail and ears between its legs, looking at him timidly and intelligently from time to time. Some distant, long-forgotten idea — a memory of some long-ago circumstance — now came into his head, knocked like a hammer in his head, annoyed him, did not get rid of him. «Eh, this nasty little dog!» Mr. Golyadkin whispered, not understanding himself.

What “circumstance” does Golyadkin remember? When Faust brought home a black poodle he met on a walk, she took on the human image of Mephistopheles. Faust was on the verge of suicide, and the devil invited him to experience all the joys of life at the cost of his soul. In Russian literature, the direct analogue of “Faust” was Zhukovsky’s poem “The Twelve Sleeping Virgins,” which greatly influenced Pushkin’s poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila.” With the help of Mephistopheles, Faust becomes a double of himself. In Maturin’s novel Melmoth the Wanderer there are two John Melmoths. One is a young man, like Eugene Onegin, who came to accept his uncle’s inheritance, the other, also John Melmoth, is a half-man, half-demon who has long ago made a pact with the devil. In “Eugene Onegin,” while characterizing Eugene, Pushkin mentions Melmoth several times. Onegin was a big fan of different masks:

What will he present to us so far?
What will it appear now? Melmoth,
Cosmopolitan, patriot,
Harold, Quaker, bigot,
Or someone else will flaunt a mask,
Or he will just be a kind fellow,
How are you and me, how is the whole world?

At the end of the story, a very positive doctor of medicine, the German “Rutenspitz” turns into “Spitzruten”, sending the main character presumably to a madhouse. An interesting analogy with Bulgakov’s book “The Master and Margarita”. At the end of the book, Satan Woland sends the Master along with Margarita to eternal rest. Addressing them he says:

Don’t you really want to walk with your girlfriend during the day under the cherry trees that are beginning to bloom, and in the evening listen to Schubert’s music? Wouldn’t it be nice for you to write by candlelight with a quill pen? Don’t you really want to sit over the retort, like Faust, in the hope that you will be able to fashion a new homunculus? There, there. A house and an old servant are already waiting for you there, the candles are already burning, and soon they will go out, because you will immediately meet the dawn.

The mention of Faust here is noteworthy. Bulgakov’s Woland is Satan, an analogue of Mephistopheles. When talking with Berlioz, Woland called himself a German and sometimes switched to speaking with an accent. Sending Golyadkin to a madhouse, the terrible Rutenspitz also mentions light (licht = light in German) and servants and says with an accent:

You will receive a official apartment with firewood, licht and servants, which you do not deserve.

The Master’s apartment in the real world is occupied by someone who can be compared to a “double,” and the Master himself finds himself in virtual space, “in places much more remote than Solovki.” Sending the Master to the “house of rest” at first glance seems like an encouragement, and Golyadkin a punishment, but in essence this is almost the same thing. In both cases, the final decision is made by Satan, that is, the character is openly negative. This is exactly what happens with real people and the memory of these people, when the place of a real person in the world is taken by a “pedestal that is higher than victories.” And the Grand Inquisitor speaks about this in his monologue, describing the temptations of a terrible and intelligent spirit, the spirit of self-destruction and non-existence.

The authorship problem of “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign”.

Due to the unusualness and high originality of “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” found at the end of the 18th century, from the beginning of the 19th century and in fact to modern times, assumptions have been made that this text is not an “original”, but a late forgery. Through the works of many linguists, primarily A.A. Zaliznyak, it was shown that “The language of «The Tale of Igor’s Campaign» is the correct Old Russian of the 11th–12th centuries, which is superimposed with orthographic, phonetic (partly also morphological) features characteristic of the scribes of the 15th–16th centuries in general and the scribes of the North the west of the East Slavic zone in particular.” This completely excludes the possibility of any modern forgery. However, all attempts to find the author of this work have so far been unsuccessful.

Wooden church in Plyos at the last rays of the sun. Isaac Levitan, 1888. This is what the house of Sergius of Radonezh should have looked like.
Wooden church in Plyos at the last rays of the sun. Isaac Levitan, 1888. This is what the house of Sergius of Radonezh should have looked like.

Again, in view of the exceptional author’s originality of the text, it is difficult to imagine that a simple copyist of the 15th century, and these were usually people with little education, would make any significant amendments and “corrections” to a poetically inclined text. The most famous chronicles have reached us in rewritten form, but with complete preservation of the linguistic features of the original. When studying the text of «The Tale», these chronicles are taken as the standard of the language of their century. This is a continuation of the Orthodox Church tradition of icon painters. When creating an icon, they must exactly repeat the old image, line by line, point by point. However, if “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” was created in the 15th century, this is not the author’s material and not just pure copy, but rather a creative alteration and somewhere correction of older material. At that time, only one person could take on such responsibility and it was Epiphany the Wise, who is called today the first Russian professional writer.

Epiphany became known primarily for creating the lives of Stephen of Perm and Sergius of Radonezh. Both Epiphany and Stefan of Perm, studied at the Grigorievsky Gate in Rostov. After the Tatar-Mongol invasion, this educational institution within the walls of the Spassky Monastery in Rostov took on the role of the central university of all Rus’. It is known that the Grigorievsky Gate was famous for its library. It was suggested that Epiphany could also be the author of “The Tale of the Life and Repose of Grand Duke Dmitri Ivanovich, Tsar of Russia” and even “Zadonshchina,” however, due to the difficult political situation in Rus’, the writer chose to remain anonymous. Sergius of Radonezh was born in or near Rostov, so it is logical to assume that he also learned to read and write and became acquainted with ancient Russian literature at this famous ancient Russian university, which means he received the best education that could be obtained at that time in Rus’.

In “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” a very clear call is made for the unification of all Russian princes against the foreign enemy. Such a call could be especially relevant only in the 14th century just before the Battle of Kulikovo, therefore the actual time of creation of the original version of «The Tale» should be the 70s of the 14th century. A bright personality of that time, who called for the unification of Rus’, as follows from his biography, was Sergius of Radonezh, and it can be assumed that he was the one, who created “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign.”

Wooden church in Plyos at the last rays of the sun. Isaac Levitan, 1888. This is what the house of Sergius of Radonezh should have looked like.
Wooden church in Plyos at the last rays of the sun. Isaac Levitan, 1888. This is what the house of Sergius of Radonezh should have looked like.

If Sergius studied at the Grigorievsky Gate using books and chronicles of the 12th century, then his language should have followed the grammar, morphology and spelling that he received in the depths of the library. In addition to purely Russian texts, he was probably familiar with foreign language and translated literature and, in particular, knew well who Homer was. Leo Tolstoy’s book “War and Peace” was written 160 years ago and, obviously, Tolstoy did not take part in the War of 1812. The Battle of Igor took place 160-180 years before the estimated time of creation of “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign.” Today’s schoolchild, studying Tolstoy’s language, will write essays in his language and there is nothing special about it.

Fundamental changes in the Russian language began to occur starting from the 15th century, after the young Moscow State began to proclaim the patriotism, pathos and solemnity of the idea of the Third Rome. This is called the “Second South Slavic influence”. The language of “The Tale” for modern Russian and Ukrainian is a common ancestor. Only in the 15th century the separation of these languages began. The biography of Sergius mentions that at first he had problems with literacy, but then he received literacy “from God.” This may mean that while engaged in literary creativity, Sergius could make serious deviations from generally accepted rules, and although this did not reduce the quality of his texts, Epiphany had the right to edit and rewrite some passages.

It is known that Sergius wrote mainly on birch bark. There are enough birch forests in the area of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, and parchment was very expensive.

The monastery of Blessed Sergius have so much poverty and lack of wealth,
so even books were written not on parchment, but on birch bark. (original was in old Russian)

Because his works were written not on parchment, but on fragile birch bark, this ultimately led to the fact that all of them were lost. The latest indication of their existence was in the description of the books of the Trinity-Sergius Monastery, compiled in the 17th century, which mentions “packages on the tree of the wonder-worker Sergius.

To unite Rus around the Muscovite State and strengthen the idea of the “Third Rome”, it was necessary to have their own, not some kind of already existing Roman-Constantinople saints. This task was set before the best writer of his time, Epiphany the Wise. Since this task came from the grand dukes of the nascent state, the funding for the project was likely to be extremely generous.

In the life of Stephen of Perm, Epiphany puts his literary and linguistic abilities and, first of all, the creation of the Perm language as the main achievement. When creating the life of Sergius of Radonezh, Epiphany could have serious problems. Apparently, Sergius’s main achievement was the creation of purely Russian national fairy tales, legends and epics, which were distributed throughout Rus’ on birch bark with the same success as Vysotsky’s tapes. Almost certainly the so-called “Russian folk tales” that have come down to us, despite the fact that they are called “folk”, had a very specific author — Sergius of Radonezh, and in the fairy tale “Ruslan and Lyudmila” Pushkin calls exactly him the learned cat. Suppose that in our time it occurs to someone to canonize Vladimir Vysotsky as a “Reverend”, especially if he were more loyal to the church and religion: indeed, his former fantastic popularity should not be wasted. How to turn Vysotsky into a “saint”?

Numerous attempts to prove that Yesenin did not commit suicide, but was killed by some “evil forces”, were caused by the desire of the church to take him into circulation. Within the framework of religion, suicides are not buried or venerated. It is interesting that Yesenin’s biography in the ZhZL series, where an attempt is made to justify him, has gone through at least 6 editions. Why do you need the truth when a lie is much more profitable and pleasant? However, a book from the same ZhZL series by Zakhar Prilepin, published in 2020, examines Yesenin’s life, on the contrary, very objectively and should be considered today the best book on this topic.

To visually compare the inner world of a real ancient Russian poet and the pedestal that stood above his victories, you can put two images side by side. One is a painting by Vasnetsov, illustrating the Russian folk tale «Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf» and the other is a modern view of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, created in honor of the memory of St. Sergius of Radonezh. So presumably the original differs from its Double right this way.

It is possible that the biography of Sergius of Radonezh, created by Epiphany, initially consisted of three parts. The first part examined the youth and maturity of Sergius and was revised by Paphomius Logothetes and Simon Azaryin to create the canonical being of the «venerable». They added miracles traditional for Byzantine saints and deliberately processed them with the aim of exalting the role of the church. The second part, which has not reached us, contained a description of what actually made Sergius widely popular in the 14th century: his literary work. “Holy venerable” and “free poet” are, in general, very distant concepts, but in the case of the life of Stephen of Perm, Epiphany managed to successfully combine them. Unlike Sergius, Stefan had almost no connection with Moscow and the Moscow establishment, and therefore deviations from the traditional principles of “holiness”, for example the absence of miracles, were met in the case of Stefan of Perm with much greater tolerance.

The third part of the biography of Sergius of Radonezh was supposedly “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign”, as a specific example of his work. The customer and sponsor of Epiphany’s work was most likely the son of Dmitri Donskoy, Yuri Zvenigorodsky. It was Sergius of Radonezh who baptized him 6 years before the Battle of Kulikovo in Pereslavl-Zalessky. Monk, according to the laws of the Orthodox Church, does not have the right to baptize children, but it is possible that the christening was only an excuse to invite Sergius to the grand ducal house. In fact, he was invited simply so that the family of the great princes could gawk at this Russian folk miracle. Sergius created the “The Tale” specifically for this purpose. Taking a description of Igor’s campaign from the Ipatiev Chronicle, Sergius transformed it into a poetic text calling for breaking out of the red flags of the Tatar-Mongol yoke.

And, clinking the bottle against the glass,
Which I took out from the bookshelf,
He blurted out: «Yes, this is about me!
About us, about everyone, what the hell are wolves?!»

Well, that’s it — now, of course, something will happen.
For three years now there have been five calls a day.
Big people are calling me,
So that I could sing to them «Wolf Hunt».

Vladimir Vysotsky «The time for introductions and preludes has passed…»

Yuri Zvenigorodsky specifically asked Epiphany to find and write down the text of «The Tale of Igor’s Campaign». By that time, about 50 years had passed since the creation of this work, and 30 years had passed since the death of Sergius. It was necessary to carry out a lot of work to find old crumbling birch bark letters and collect them into one product.

Illustration for the Russian folk tale ``Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf'' by V.M. Vasnetsov.
Illustration for the Russian folk tale «Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf» by V.M. Vasnetsov.
Trinity-Sergius Lavra, created in honor of Sergius of Radonezh. Fairy tale double.
Trinity-Sergius Lavra, created in honor of Sergius of Radonezh. Fairy tale double.

The first thing that catches your eye when reading “The Tale” is its diversity and versatility. Perhaps this precisely reflects the fact that a complete version of the “The Tale” does not exist at all and that what Epiphany created is a “patchwork epic” mostly consisting of the words of Sergius, but with additions and corrections by Epiphany the Wise. Some places in the birch bark documents may have been so worn out that Epiphany simply used the “best approximation.” He called himself a good “isographer.”

The initial attempt to canonize Sergius was unsuccessful. The text of Epiphany describing his literary activity has not been preserved, since this is unacceptable for a “reverend”. But the “The Tale” was able to survive precisely because its authorship was hidden from the guardians of religious decency. Just one mention of pagan ancient Russian gods is worth it. Since «The Tale» describes the events of the 12th century, it is natural to assume that the author lived somewhere far… away from Moscow.

The one and only version of the “The Tale”, created by Epiphany from the scattered birch bark letters of Sergius, probably settled in a place that was safe for it — the Grigorievsky Gate, where the youth Bartholomew was remembered and loved. During the time of Ivan the Terrible, books from the seclusion were transferred to the Rostov Epiphany Monastery, and maybe somewhere else. Thus, “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” accidentally survived and was found at the end of the 18th century by A.I. Musin-Pushkin. The text written by Epiphany, most likely, was never copied by anyone and we have it in its most intact form, however, calling this work “the word of Sergius” would not be entirely accurate.

In the context of Dostoevsky’s “Double” and the subject “Thou shalt not make unto thee any image” it is necessary to consider the gradual process of transformation of the national poet and storyteller into a dumb saint. The appearance of Sergius with his literary opuses in a religious and princely society of traditional values was probably similar to the appearance of Golyadkin at Berendeev’s ball at his daughter’s birthday party. It is interesting that the village of Kuchkovo, the future Moscow, was located between two “residential tracts” — Golyad and Berendeevo. This means that Klara Olsufyevna should be compared in the context of the story with Moscow and the Moscow state, to which the self-proclaimed poet was so partial. Dostoevsky has a description of a similar story, when in “The Idiot” prince Myshkin showed up at the Epanchins’ house for a viewing as Aglaya’s groom. In much the same way, Sergius appeared in 1374 in Pereslavl Zalessky with Dmitry Donskoy, and his speech probably resembled the monologue of prince Myshkin. Could such a “sick person” become a church leader of the state?

At the end of the evening at the Epanchins, prince Myshkin begins to have an epileptic fit. When Golyadkin was thrown out into the street, standing on the bank of the Fontanka, he was in such bad condition that he was already beginning to think about death. From the biography of Sergius of Radonezh it is known that upon returning from Pereslavl Zalessky he became very ill and it is possible that it was a psychological illness such as depression.

I walked home — in the morning, like an old man —
Children were sliding downhill at my feet
And a neat first learner
Went to school to get his A’s.

Well, it serves me right —
Only the first one A’s get…
No need to approach alien people’s tables
And respond if they call.

Vladimir Vysotsky “In a restaurant…”

To recover from depression, Sergius began to engage in strict monastic practice, thanks to which he later became famous as the “venerable elder.” This can be compared to Faust’s decision to experience all the delights of life. A double of the poet appears — a monastic ascetic. Klara Olsufievna’s groom will probably be a certain Vladimir Semyonovich, one of the guests at her birthday, a young man who was “more like an elder than a young man… to what a high degree can virtue bring a person!” Slowly but surely, the monastic ascetic completely displaces the poet from life and in the end Rutenspitz, the doctor of human souls, to whom Golyadkin so openly trusted his innermost thoughts at the beginning of the story, turns into Spitsruten and sends the poet to an eternal settlement under the cherry trees to listen in the evening Schubert music.

This is the reason why today no one can find the author of «The Tale of Igor’s Campaign».

In 1877, in «The Diary of a Writer», Dostoevsky wrote about «The Double»: «This story was not a positive success for me, but its idea was quite bright, and I have never conducted anything more serious in literature than this idea…».

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