Matveychev O.А. The Dostoevsky Code. Hermeneutics of Corporeality by Akim Volynsky


Oleg А. Matveychev
Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Prosp. Leningradskii
49/2, 125167 Moscow, Russian Federation
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Abstract. The article examines the history of the origin and conceptual features developed by the famous philosopher, literary critic and art critic of the late XIX – early XX century. Akim Lvovich Volynsky, an innovative method of interpreting works of art for his time, based on the hermeneutics of physicality – deciphering the language of plastics, poses, movements, etc. First used to analyze the symbolic language of Leonardo da Vinci, manifested in his plastic images, this method was actively used by Volynsky to interpret the images of Dostoevsky's characters and identify the hidden intentions of the author. And studying in detail the portraits of heroes painted by the great writer, Volynsky considers them as a symbolic cipher, the key to their characters, spiritual life and signs of future vicissitudes in their destinies; he suggests delving into all the smallest details of the plastic image of the heroes, comparing individual, disparate strokes to reveal the hidden intentions of the author. The article analyzes the concept of the unconscious, an alternative to the Freudian one, related to the hermeneutics of Volynsky's corporeality. If psychoanalysis studies primitive instincts, repressed into the unconscious by external symptoms, then Volynsky, deciphering the anatomical features, gestures, postures, habits, and elements of clothing of Dostoevsky's characters, diagnoses the diseases of higher consciousness (mind, spirit) prevailing in them. The innovative nature of Volynsky's method is shown, which allows to penetrate into the artistic fabric of Dostoevsky's novels, to describe, on the one hand, the psychological characteristics and personal traits of his characters, and on the other – their beliefs, values and life aspirations. The origins of the Volynsky method are analyzed. A hypothesis is put forward about the genetic connection of Volynsky's concept with Spinoza's philosophy, linking the phenomenon of thinking with the real activity of the thinking body. The author believes that Spinoza's proposed solution to the problem of dualism of material and spiritual substances played an important role in the formation of the hermeneutics of Volynsky's corporeality. According to Spinoza, extension and thinking are modes of the same substance, and there is a one-to-one correspondence between them. Applying this approach to the concept of art criticism, Volynsky considered matter, physicality as the key to spirit, and spirit as the key to matter. Volynsky's hermeneutics of corporeality was developed in his philosophy of dance.
Key words: history of philosophy, Russian philosophy, Silver Age of Russian culture, corporeality, hermeneutics, Akim Volynsky, Dostoevsky.

Citation. Matveychev O.А. The Dostoevsky Code. Hermeneutics of Corporeality by Akim Volynsky. Logos et Praxis, 2024, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 5-13. (in Russian). DOI:

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