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All posts for the month February, 2010

Making and using concordances

I’ve been using digital concordances to analyse word frequency in literary texts for quite some time. While I was working on my PhD thesis, on Dostoevsky’s The Idiot in the late nineties, I regularly used the Petrozavodsk State University on-line Dostoevsky concordance, as mentioned in a previous post. The site was pretty new at the time, […]


I’ve been meaning for a while to write something about this site, to which I’m a pretty frequent visitor. Shalamov.ru was launched in December 2008 and has grown amazingly quickly over the last year and a bit. It’s become one of the best resources on an individual writer that I’ve come across. It contains electronic […]

Gratuitous cat picture

…because it’s what the internet’s for. There is a tenuous Russian connection, as although she’s universally known as Chicken, her real name is in fact Chapaev. When she first came into my life, I was reading Victor Pelevin’s novel Chapaev i Pustota (variously translated as The Clay Machine Gun and Buddha’s Little Finger). It’s far from […]

Krupskaya: an apology

I’ve been criticized by my boyfriend for my unsisterly (although true — even he admits it) comment about Nadezhda Krupskaya in a recent post. So, I apologise, and instead will enumerate some of the many valid reasons there are to dislike the woman. There is, of course, her dreadful hagiography, Reminiscences of Lenin. And the fact […]

Sonia: another thought

William Burnham’s article, ‘The Legal Context and Contributions of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment,’ Michigan Law Review, 100.6 (2002), 1227-1248, suggests another dimension to Sonia’s role as a registered prostitute. Burnham states that while confession and eye-witness testimony were considered the most reliable forms of proof in Russia at the time, ‘the law disqualified several classes of […]