by Katherine Bowers and Kate Holland
This year is the Dostoevsky bicentennial and plans are afoot for celebrations in the fall. But we have been thinking a lot about CP150, a project we did five years ago to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Crime and Punishment, as we have recently completed its final stage.
We are excited to announce a new open access Crime and Punishment resource: a repository of videos of talks from the “Crime and Punishment at 150” conference we organized in 2016. The conference focused on adaptation of the novel into other media, interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and reading the novel, and digital media to understand the continued power of Dostoevsky’s novel for understanding our modern age.
The conference featured a keynote by current International Dostoevsky Society President, Carol Apollonio as well as an interdisciplinary plenary panel and some of these talks are available in the collection:
- Keynote: Carol Apollonio, “Dostoevsky for Non-Readers”
- Plenary Paper: Louise McReynolds, “Cruising St Petersburg’s Mean Streets”
- Plenary Paper: William Mills Todd, III, “Crime and Punishment: The Serial Version”
The talks included in the collection are a rich resource. They address a wide variety of reading and teaching contexts for the novel: legal, philosophical, moral, emotional, and literary. They cover approaches from folklore, digital humanities, cultural memory, and urban studies, among others. They focus on adaptation, including film and opera adaptations of the work.
As we mentioned, these talks were part of a multifaceted celebration of Dostoevsky’s novel on its 150th anniversary. Other parts of the celebration included:
- A University of Toronto library exhibition, co-curated by Ksenia Kiebuzinski and Barnabas Kirk
- A Cambridge University Library exhibition, co-curated by Mel Bach and Katherine Bowers and written by Bowers, Kirk, Kristina McGuirk, and students from the University of British Columbia
- A virtual film festival
- An online group read of the novel on Facebook
- The @RodionTweets project which live-tweeted the events of Crime and Punishment from Raskolnikov’s perspective for two years
- The North American premiere of the film adaptation Crime and Punishment (Apocalypse Films, 2015)
- A workshop on translation and adaptation at the University of Bristol
- A special series on teaching Crime and Punishment for Bloggers Karamazov
Follow-up projects that got their start during the celebration include:
- A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts, edited by Katherine Bowers, Connor Doak, and Kate Holland (Academic Studies Press, 2018)
- “On the Epilogue of Dostoevskii’s Crime and Punishment,” a special section of Canadian Slavonic Papers (vol. 62, no. 2, 2020) featuring articles by Katherine Bowers, Kate Holland, and Eric Naiman with a special Epilogue epilogue by Robin Feuer Miller
We hope that the video collection, the resources linked from the project website, and our follow-up projects will continue to be useful for those teaching and reading Crime and Punishment in the future.
We are grateful to our sponsors, especially the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and all of those who collaborated on the project. For more information about Crime and Punishment at 150 and links to all of its supporting materials, visit our website.
Dr Katherine Bowers is Associate Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her first monograph, Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic is forthcoming from University of Toronto Press and she has also written articles about gothic fiction, Russian poetry, and Dostoevsky. She is the Vice-President of the North American Dostoevsky Society and Editor of this blog.
Dr Kate Holland is Associate Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Toronto. She is the author of the monograph, The Novel in the Age of Disintegration: Dostoevsky and the Problem of Genre in the 1870s (2013), as well as articles on Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Herzen, Saltykov-Shchedrin and Veselovsky. Holland is the President of the North American Dostoevsky Society.