formula still exist, who really cares?nMillions of average Americans regularlynpurchase these books, but how many willnever reread them for their subtlety or insight?nLiterature (to use the term loosely)ngenerated within such a constrictednparadigm is, as novelist John Barth putsnit, “exhausted.” For Barth and other avantgardenwriters like him the way out ofnthis exhaustion is the sweeping repudiationnof the bourgeois origins of the novel.nBourgeois themes must be replaced bynubiquitous sex and entropy (usually seasonednwith radical politics); bourgeoisnaccessibility of style must give way tonexperimentation with the obscure, illogical,nand random; even the bourgeoisnaudience must be superseded by an elitenreadership of college professors and despairingnintellectuals. The life infusedninto their new amoral and surrealisticnfiction, however, looks suspiciously likenpostmortem muscle spasms.nX hough the death of the novel is notnNicholas R2hevsky’s focus in RussiannI’stinor in OznI’l’tiT lsliiu) is JI1 iittor. pl.iywrijjhi.niiuisk-jjii. :iii(l r.ioiillciir—.sort iil’:! Diidli:ynMiKiri- liir ilic Ni:« uvi anil FIdllynwixiil ik-iiii-iiil(.’lk'(‘tiLiN. .Mr. I .sliimv.nwho is half Kiissian. rtxi-nll> piilili.slu-d •^nbooli i-nlilli.'(.l My Russia (.\M\’K-ink-.nUrown ). whifh. wliik- piirporli'(ll Ixiii};nahoiil ihal iaiul in IXirasia. sivins tonili’scrihi.’ :tiri’mion OI’IIK’ :iiilliII miKlihor.s’nwalls until thfsi- collapsi.’ innitinIhi’ir ui.-i0il. .iiul iluii lidp li> ahiijlilnIhciii .1 link’ lui’tlii’i’ au’a liiini whi-ri’nthcvhad hctji hi-loiv.nisn’t ihal ni.-i}>hhorl (••|li-lp ton14inChronicles of CulturenLiterature and Ideology, his study cannhelp the reader understand the phenomenonnand how it might be reversed. Indeed,nif the novel is inherently a bouigeoisnart form, it seems peculiar that a countrynlike Russia, slow to develop a middleclassnculture, should have produced sonmany of the world’s greatest masters, includingnTolstoy and Dostoevski. Thoroughlynmiddle-class America has yet tonengender such a pair. But the reason isnnot that the Russian authors were antibourgeois.nMany of their sympatheticncharacters are middle-class folk facednwith middle-class problems—^making anmarriage work, paying the bills, helpingna friend with alcoholism, making itnthrough school. Moreover, their style isnnot daunting to an average reader. What,nthen, constitutes their genius and makesntheir works deathless? It is their passionatencelebration of human values foundnamong every social class but transcendingnthe peculiarities of any one of them.nG. K. Chesterton’s observation aboutnthe great and the common man is espe-nLlKI-RAl Cl I iiRi: 1nn-hnikl thciti”) sweet? It (.-onjiirfs upnvisionsof till'(.-ntiiv Ri-il Aini) niakiii}>nsanipl(.-j’s and i|iiolin^ Doroilix IVoinn//)(‘ W’iziircl ()/():: “Ihi-rc-s no plaiiliki-nhonic.” .nd tlu-n-‘s no plaii- likenlr. I stinov’s snbjett. at least not tninthe spatioteni| plaiie eotisiiler lonhe reaJll’:nni Kiissia is nrit.lnil iiiiiR’a.sdiiiiil.siiiiicliini’sni’in a kinik:rj!,irti’ii.nWed like lo suggest that 1r. I stinovnenroll.nnncially applicable to the great Russiannnovelists: “A great man in any age mustnbe a common man, and also an uncommonnman. Those that are only uncommonnmen are perverts and sowers ofnpestilence.”nFinances, courtship, derring-do, andnsocial manners are all elements of majorn19th-century Russian fiction, but its ultimatenconcern, Rzhevsky finds, is withnman’s “nonterrestrial dimension,” hisnsoul, its power to improve or degenerate,nand its quest for love and meaning,nin time and eternity. Not surprisingly,nthe systems of belief held by Herzen,nDostoevski, Leontiev, and Tolstoy, theirn”ideologies” in Rzhevsky’s lexicon, werenall profoundly influenced by Russian Orthodoxy.nAs they reacted to currents ofnmodem thought, all four men rethought,nadapted, and sometimes flatly rejectednportions of that legacy; however, theynexplored it deeply, recognizing its continuingnrelevance for modern man. AsnHerzen declared in an early work, “Mannmust be connected to God, [must find]npeace in him, [rise] up to him in love.”nHerzen, it’s true, did drift: away from thisnvision, but Dostoevski, a far greaternwriter, “never abandon[ed] the core valuesnpostulated in his Orthodox heritage.”nThus, in his last novel. Brothers Karamazov,nwhen Rakitin explains that in thenutilitarian gospel “one can love humanityninstead of God,” Dmitri responds,n”Only an idiot can maintain that.”nThe English novel, of course, begannwith a religious heritage, although it wasnnot explicitly prominent. Moreover, antheology of predestined damnation fornall but a few capriciously selected soulsnwas not really congenial for a genre implicitlynstressing the importance of thenindividual and his choices. So, after jettisoningnProtestantism in &vor of a strictlynsecular viewpoint. Hardy, Crane, andnDreiser moved to a naturalistic denial ofnman’s free will and cosmic importance.nIn contrast, the Orthodox heritage gavenDostoevski reasons for joyously affirmingnthe divine worth of the individual—neven as he plumbed the darkest abyssesnof the psyche—and made the transform-n