Few writers have ascended the heights he asended or the plumbed depths he plumbed. If I had to categorize him, I could offer only the following: as a writer, Dostoevsky is a prophet/mystic/demon/saint. Like Shakespeare, he is in a class and category all to himself. For me, Dostoevsky represents a literary line of demarcation. His work forms a boundary marking the end of something and the beginning of something else entirely; a sharp dividing line separating writing from WRITING.
It has come to my attention that others also view Dostoevsky as a line of demarcation, as the end of something and the beginning of something else, but for these people - a rather surly collection of postmodernist/Marxist theorists, thinkers, writers, and culture warriors - the demarcation line Dostoevsky represents runs closer to the medical definition of the term. For them, Dostoevsky represents a zone of inflammatory reaction separating gangrenous flesh from healthy tissue. I will let you decide which side these thinkers believe they occupy.
Though most of these critics grudgingly admit that there are some aspects of Dostoevsky's work that perhaps deserve a few crumbs of respect or, at the very least, acknowledgement, they scornfully label Dostoevsky a regressive and callously scoff at what they regard as meaningless religious obsessions. For readers such as these, Dostoevsky is passé and archaic, a historical and artisitic footnote, best ignored and forgotten. He has nothing to offer. Nothing to say. Nothing that resonates or supports the world they are trying to conjure into being.
Whenever I encounter people sporting such attitudes about Dostoevsky, another literary line of demarcation - one that is pragmatic rather than aesthetic in nature - etches through my mind.