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The Grand Inquisitor Chapter Summary & Analysis - Ivan's "Literary" Preface Summary

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Ivan's "Literary" Preface Summary

Ivan Karamazov prepares his brother, Alyosha, to read a poem he's written. The poem takes place in 16th Century Spain, during the height of the Spanish Inquisition. Ivan tells Alyosha of the long tradition of stories and plays featuring Christ, Mary, the canon of Saints, Archangels and even God himself as characters, speaking words invented by various authors, and performing acts not mentioned in any holy texts. These extra-Biblical fictions were not generally counted heresy, Ivan points out. On the contrary, they were well received, by both religious and secular authorities. Most notably, Ivan cites the enthusiastic response to Victor Hugo's Biblically inspired piece celebrating the birth of the Dauphin during the reign of Louis XI.

Ivan spends a relatively large amount of time telling Alyosha about the Biblically-inspired tale of Mary's visit to Hell, where she witnesses such...

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This section contains 891 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Grand Inquisitor Study Guide
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The Grand Inquisitor from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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