The Concept of Love in Dostoyevsky's White Nights

Mohammad Yousefvand, Hamid Tatari


Love is a phenomenon we are involved with in our life. The concept of love has been immensely discussed and challenged by philosophers and psychologists all throughout the history because of its salient and effective role in our individual and social lives. Self-love and altruistic love, two main types of love, have been repeatedly reflected in psychologists' works; self-love refers to a kind of love which is based on psychological egoism; on the other hand, altruistic love is conceived of as a sort of love which is principally based on selflessness, caring, respect, and sacrifice. “White Nights” is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky which seemingly has an altruistic view toward love; it sounds that Dostoyevsky has made a purposeful attempt to praise such altruistic love in the story. Thus, it has been tried to delve into the concept of love manifested in White Nights. This paper is divided into two parts; in the first part, a theoretical framework entailing definitions of love and its types is depicted; in the second part, an account of how love is emerged in the story will be explained. At last, this paper substantiates that altruistic love is represented and admired in this story and is preferred to the other types of love.


The Concept of Love, Family Resemblance, Types of Love, Triangular Theory of Love, Self-love, Altruistic Love

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