Chloe Kitzinger

Dissertation Fellow
Chloe Kitzinger Image

In her dissertation, “Illusion and Instrument: The Lives of Characters in Dostoevsky and Tolstoy,” Chloe Kitzinger focuses critical attention on a central but underexplored problem in the history and theory of the novel: that realist characters exist independently from the author’s control, and even from the constraints of form, a technical illusion she calls a character’s “mimetic life.”  Kitzinger suggests that Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were themselves preoccupied with questions of how this illusion of “life” is produced, what conditions maintain it, and at what points it starts to falter. Investigating the character systems of four novels with widely differing narrative structures—Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky’s The Adolescent and The Brothers Karamazov—Kitzinger provides an account of the narrative sources and limitations of mimetic illusion in the novel and analyzes the productive tension between mimetic character and the bounds of form.