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AbstractDostoevskij, Tolstoj , and the Battle for the "New Word"
Since the beginning of his career, Dostoevskij had been concerned with his position in the Russian literary field. One of the writers with whom he fought not only a commercial, but also a symbolic battle, was Lev Tolstoj: after reading Straxov’s review of War and Peace in 1869, Dostoevskij became increasingly convinced that Tolstoj, unlike Puškin, had been unable to say “a new word”, and in the Diary of a Writer he launched a full-scale attack against him. By employing specific rhetorical strategies, Dostoevskij tried to persuade readers not to consider Tolstoj as a “guiding writer”; at the same time, Dostoevskij advanced his own candidacy, not only as a “guiding writer”, but as the writer who would be able to reveal Puškin’s “new word” and convey it to the common reader.