All posts in category Dostoevsky

Revolutionary Dostoevsky

How might we think of Dostoevsky as a radical writer? In his later years he certainly seemed anything but. From his searing critique of nihilist ideas in Notes from Underground and Crime and Punishment, and his scathing portrayal of revolutionaries in Demons, to his increasingly virulent Orthodox nationalism and support for the authoritarian Tsarist regime […]

Raskolnikov on Twitter

For the last few days on Twitter @RodionTweets has been tweeting Crime and Punishment in real time from Raskolnikov’s perspective. A collaborative project developed by a group of North-American and British colleagues, we have each been responsible for turning one part of the novel into tweets. As my contribution for Part II begins, I repost here […]

The Crocodile: a Preface

Regular readers will know that The Crocodile is one of my favourite works by Dostoevsky, because of its connections to the Crystal Palace as well as its humour. But it was only a couple of weeks ago, while I was preparing a class on the story, that I got round to reading the fake “Editorial […]

Russian thought lecture 10: Utopias in Russian culture: of palaces and panopticons

Reading: Dostoevsky, “Dream of a Ridiculous Man” (1877) So we come to the end of this lecture series, and a slightly different focus than previously, as theoretical works take a back seat, and we look instead at Russian literature and culture to explore the utopian theme. There are clearly strong utopian aspects to the work […]

Talking about Dostoevsky on Radio 3

Rather belatedly, I must alert readers to my appearance last week on BBC Radio 3’s Nightwaves programme. As part of a series on ‘the good life’, the programme was devoted to the ambiguous portrayal of goodness – and its spectacular failure – in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. You can listen to me discussing the novel with theologian […]

Dostoevsky and the Gulag

I’ve started work on a paper on the depiction of criminals in labour camp writing for a workshop later this summer, and as Dostoevsky is one of my starting points, this has led me to revisit the broader question of the role of recurrent references to him in Gulag literature. This post is not intended […]

Mapping St Petersburg: Literature as data?

Cross-posted with Mapping St Petersburg. We’ve added a map of Dostoevsky’s addresses to Mapping St Petersburg, and this seems like a good opportunity to discuss the question of data. In comparison with our work on the Crime and Punishment maps, mapping addresses was easy: information on where Dostoevsky lived is well established and available from […]

Thought for the day

Dostoevsky was something of a specialist in disastrous marriages. There are the doomed, poverty-striken, abusive marriages of tubercular women to alcoholic men — not only Marmeladov and Katerina Ivanovna in Crime and Punishment (English translation here), but also Efimov and his wife in Netochka Nezvanova. Some are just abusive and doomed without any help from illness or addiction, […]

The yellow card: a footnote

Earlier in the year, I wrote about the regulation of prostitution in Russia as part of my consideration of the representation of Sonia in Crime and Punishment. The subject has now come back to my attention as the result of some completely unrelated reading: the very fine East End Jewish Radicals, 1875-1914, by William J. […]

Re-reading Crime and Punishment: the Drunkards

When Dostoevsky first conceived of the work that ultimately became Crime and Punishment, he titled it ‘The Drunkards’, and said that it would deal with ‘the present question of drunkenness … [in] all its ramifications, especially the picture of a family and the bringing up of children in these circumstances’ (letter to A. A. Kraevsky, June […]