Joseph Frank (1918–2013), the eminent literary scholar and biographer of Dostoevsky, died in March 2013 at the age of ninety-four. He was well known for his interpretations of literary modernism, essays on twentieth-century French and German literature, and reflections on the great theorists of the novel. The unique approach and meticulous scholarship of his five-volume study of Dostoevsky (published 1976–2002) made it one of the great achievements in literary scholarship.

On the morning of December 22, 1849, Dostoevsky was condemned to death. Arrested eight months earlier for participation in a radical discussion group, he had languished in prison. Resisting the temptation to soften his fate by implicating others, he read Jane Eyre and...

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