Patrick Jeffery

Patrick JeffPatrick Jefferyery is an Assistant Lecturer in the School of English at the University of Kent. In 2015 he completed his PhD under the title ‘John Middleton Murry and Fyodor Dostoevsky: Jesus and the Narrative Self’. It studies the way in which Murry, an influential critic and author of the Modernist period who fell out of favour following a ‘mystical experience’ and vague spiritual conversion, utilized the figure of Jesus in his writing as a representative of the perfect, harmonious human being, much in the way Dostoevsky often did in his celebrated novels. Rather than insisting on Jesus’ real-life existence, both authors use him as a myth, a kind of radical fiction, whom they saw as an essential object of response to stimulate a sense of belief that they felt was lacking in their respective time periods, disaffected post-war Britain and pre-Communist Russia. Dostoevsky was one of Murry’s author-heroes that he championed as much for their ‘quality of soul’ as their literary merits, and subsequently he was a key part of the Dostoevsky ‘cult’ that emerged among the wider vogue for Russian culture after the war. A central part of the thesis concerns the similarities between his post-conversion monthly journal ‘Adelphi’ and Dostoevsky’s own monthly ‘Diary of a Writer’, both of which trace the creation of their own narrative selves in their responses to Jesus’ own life-narrative.

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