In this study of Kafka's encounter with Dostoyevsky, literary historiography is embedded within the task of interpretation. In a series of detailed readings of Kafka's works from "The Judgment" to "The Trial" and other works from late 1914, a narrative unfolds of Dostoyevsky being used both as a guide and a foil. Kafka's appropriations of the Dostoyevskian world are traced from the sympatheic emulations of the "poor folk" Dostoyevsky to problematical and parodic refractions of Dostoyevsky's religious universe. Dostoyevsky's biography features as prominently here as his literary work, and it is contended that Kafka's response is driven not only by sympathy and empathy but also, and increasingly, by a dissenting critique of Dostoyevskian idealism. Drawing on contemporary sources and recent scholarly work, including the historical-critical edition of "The Trial", this study insists on the socio-political aspect of Kafka's fiction and examines the tensions in Kafka's work between religious and secular perspectives.