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Literary Precedents for The First Circle

This Study Guide consists of approximately 6 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The First Circle.
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The term "polyphonic" was first coined to describe Dostoevsky's novels, like The Brothers Karamazov (1880), which follow several protagonists through multiple narrative viewpoints.

Dostoevsky's technique created long and complex novels. Like Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn needs several hundred pages to explore his numerous characters and investigate multiple themes.

The First Circle also recalls the lengthy novels of Leo Tolstoy. In Anna Karenina (1877), for instance, Tolstoy posits several protagonists who move in distinct worlds and whose stories develop separately. Like Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn senses the critical influence of social environment upon character.

The novels of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Solzhenitsyn have in common a serious, philosophic purpose. These novelists share a tragic vision of human life. Each sees the baleful effects of modern physical environment and intellectual milieu upon humanity's spiritual nature. The soul's effort to live with dignity and autonomy is constantly undercut by the selfish flesh, the confused intellect, and the...

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This section contains 151 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The First Circle Short Guide
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