#DostoevskySaturday: Scrapbooking One’s Way Through Russian Classics

by Oli Akroyd and Dirk Puehl

In the uneasy quarantine climate of Spring 2020 in London, a University of Kent PhD candidate writing on 19th century English and Russian literature, Oli Akroyd, wanted to reach out and connect with the readers, scholars and fans of one of her favourite research topics: Dostoevsky’s landmark novels. Twitter seemed the ideal location to bring people together virtually and celebrate the writer’s rich legacy. Joined by her charming assistant Dirk Puehl from Frankfurt, who still claims he is just another one of Dostoevsky’s imaginations, they both kicked off #DostoevskySaturday in March. Read a bit more about the people behind the weekly Dostoevsky online festival on Twitter below

OLI

So… what is the idea behind #DostoevskySaturday? What prompted you to create this hashtag?

This came as a spontaneous decision! My “day job” involves reading A LOT, and specifically – reading a lot of Dostoevsky. And of course, what is the stereotype concerning the Russian classics? It’s imagined to be something highbrow, heavy-duty and difficult to digest – not pleasure reading, especially in translation. So very often, students, particularly those just starting to delve into Russian literature, become put off by that. My goal was to create something scrap-book like, full of fascinating, bite-size pieces and snippets of information and inspiration, to introduce the audience to one of the most complex writers in the realm of literature through a fun interactive activity, where you could share your findings and ideas with others, get inspired, amused, perplexed… On Twitter, there are many hashtags to do with literature (#MelvilleMonday! #WyrdWednesday! #ShakespeareSunday!), and so, creating #DostoevskySaturday was a natural step to bring the writer’s world in tune with social media, digital humanities and interactive learning.

How did you become acquainted with Dostoevsky in the first place?

Stemming from a bicultural, Russian-British background, Dostoevsky has been a household name for me since an early age. I was introduced to his key texts as a young teenager (after all, “Crime and Punishment” is a typical high-school programme presence in Russia). Later on, as a postgrad student writing a thesis on the interplay of themes in Herman Melville and Dostoevsky’s works, I was able to look closer at the complexities and hidden themes in the writer’s world.

 Do you have a favourite Dostoevskian text? And a least favourite one?

My favourite text would probably either be “Crime and Punishment” – because I cannot resist the detective element to the plot running alongside the more philosophical themes, and besides, it is probably the most interesting to teach! Or “Demons,” for its exploration of Nihilism as a topic. Although, as a 10 year-old, I was rather disappointed, upon finishing that novel, that there were no horned or hooved entities making mischief as part of the narrative! As for the least favourite text… that is a difficult choice, but perhaps “The Adolescent” pales a bit next to the others – purely my personal opinion!

There is a stereotype floating around the literary world, that Dostoevsky can be described as a “depressing” writer. What can you say about that?

I’d say that this stereotype is rather misleading, as, first and foremost, Dostoevsky is a champion of hope. Yes, he does describe the darkness, squalor and the suffering – but whether you pick up “Brothers Karamazov” or consider Raskolnikov’s fate, the message is clear – there is life at the end of the tunnel, hope and happiness. And we can all do our humble bit to bring this a little bit closer.

Do you have a character you really identify with / respect / want to strangle?

Normally, I’d say I identify with Grushenka from “Brothers Karamazov” (her fairytale about the onion is one of my favourite passages) or Dasha from “Demons.” Although lately, I am rather fascinated with the Limping Girl from “Demons” too, because of the echoes of the supernatural – she is a fortune-teller and a visionary! And I am still mildly terrified by Svidrigailov and his dream of a “bath-house full of spiders.”

What do you think of Dostoevsky on film? Any particular series, or movies you can recommend?

Probably the modern-day Russian rendition of “Demons” (2014) made as a TV series. It is filmed in a modern, accessible manner a bit reminiscent of the costume dramas and crime series thrown together, so it often appeals to the students just making their acquaintance with Dostoevsky. But I’ve yet to see a film version of any text that would fully and truly do it justice.

Have you ever attempted reading Dostoevsky in the original? Or read him in translation? Would you say there are any translations you particularly like/dislike, and why?

Being bilingual, I read Dostoevsky both in translation and in Russian. I probably won’t be very original in recommending the Constance Garnett translation, because it is quite lucid and easy to read.  Also, Michael R. Katz’s translation of “The Devils” is great.

 

DIRK

How did you get acquainted with Dostoevsky in the first place?

There were those three-volume novels in my parents’ bookshelves… high recognition value when I began to read the French Existentialists as a pale, bespectacled, black rollneck-sweatered and Gauloises-smoking teen. Grabbed them from said shelves and was… hooked.

What is your favourite novel?

Certainly the “Brothers”. Greatest novel ever written in my humble opinion.

And least favourite one?

Do I have one? Probably “The Adolescent”. Found it to be too deep into contemporary religious exegesis. Interesting from a historical perspective, but less polyphonous than the others. Didn’t talk to me like the other novels did.

Which of his characters do you most/least identify with?

Some 30 years ago I would have instantly cried out Raskolnikov and Ivan Karamazov. Today? Probably Stephan Verkhovensky.

And dislikes?

Oh dear, Dostoevsky has written of so many well-rounded, despicable arseholes… hard to choose. But I have a special place of contempt reserved for Katerina Ivanovna from “Crime and Punishment”.

There are some stereotypes floating around that Dostoevsky is a “depressing” writer. What would you say to this statement?

Absolutely is. Part of the many-voiced choir that is Dostoevsky. Depressing because he does not touch one but several nerves. And that’s a good thing because we are not reading edificatory literature here, right?

What do you think of Dostoevsky on film?

Truth be told, not much. The Russian adoptions are, generally speaking, rather good, especially in regards to the types they’ve cast, costumes and atmosphere. But they usually fail at capturing the magnitude of the novels.

Are there any particular series or movies you can recommend?

Offhandedly, no. I usually prefer movies that are more or less inspired by Dostoevsky, like Visconti’s “White Nights” – straightforward screen adaptions of Dostoevsky’s works.

Have you ever attempted reading Dostoevsky in the original? Or read him in translation?

My Russian is, at best, good enough to read a menu. Wanted to? Yes, absolutely. But I have to work with translations.

Would you say there are any translations you particularly like/dislike, and why?

As mentioned above, I’m not a judge here.

Tell us a little bit about yourself – background, and so on.

Looked for literature and came upon philology. I did an MA but my heart never really was in the academic world. Had to pay the rent, too. Now in online sales & advertising, I really will finish that 12-volume series of epic novels one day.


Dirk Puehl received an MA in German and English Literatures at Frankfurt’s Goethe University 20 years ago. With a day job in online sales and marketing, he is still working on a dissertation on Lord Byron’s influence in 19th century literature focusing on Heine, Pushkin and Lermontov, he sincerely hopes he finishes it before he succumbs to ennui and disease in Western Greece or gets shot in a duel.

Oli Akroyd completed a BA degree in English and Russian at Queen Mary, University of London, and a Masters’ degree in Russian and East European Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford, where her dissertation addressed the topic of archetype evolution in post-1900 Russian literature. Now in the final stages of a doctorate at University of Kent, based in picturesque Canterbury, Oli in her spare time dabbles in yoga, watches folk horror films and is learning Scottish Gaelic.

Announcing: the 2020/21 North American Dostoevsky Society Student Essay Contest!

We are excited to announce that the Readers’ Advisory Board of the North American Dostoevsky Society is running another student essay contest! This year, we are looking for outstanding undergraduate- and graduate-student essays on Dostoevsky-related topics. Nominate your best students… or nominate yourself! See the two separate CFPs below for more details. Good luck!

Note: because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have extended the competition to encompass 2019-21. Please note the updated submission date of June 1 2021 (submissions are welcome on a rolling basis).

Undergraduate CFP

The Readers’ Advisory Board of the North American Dostoevsky Society (NADS) invites its members in good standing to nominate an outstanding undergraduate-student essay on a Dostoevsky-related topic. (If you are not a member of NADS, you can join at https://dostoevsky.org/). Current undergraduate students are also welcome to nominate their own work, in which case NADS membership is not required. The topic is open; however, Dostoevsky and his works should be the main focus of the essay. The winner of the contest will receive free membership in NADS for one year and a Dostoevsky-themed swag.  To submit a nomination, please send an email containing the student’s name, email address, institutional affiliation, and the title and level/number of the coursefor which the essay was written (e.g. BIOL 322 “Dostoevsky and Spiders”) to vladimir.ivantsov@mail.mcgill.ca. Please attach the essay to the email as a .pdf file containing no identifying information about the author.  The essay should be no more than 4000 words12 font size, double-spaced; it should consistently follow either MLA or Chicago style and contain full bibliographical information on the used sources, either in the footnotes or as a separate list of references. The deadline to submit a nomination is June 15, 2020 June 1, 2021, 11:59 PM EST.

Graduate CFP

The Readers’ Advisory Board of the North American Dostoevsky Society (NADS) invites its members in good standing to nominate an outstanding graduate-student essay on a Dostoevsky-related topic. (If you are not a member of NADS, you can join at https://dostoevsky.org/). Current M.A. and PhD students are also welcome to nominate their own work, in which case NADS membership is not required. The topic is open; however, Dostoevsky and his works should be the main focus of the essay. The winner of the contest will receive: 1) free membership in NADS for one year and 2) a guaranteed spot as a presenter on the NADS-sponsored panel at AATSEEL, 2022. To submit a nomination, please send an email containing the student’s name, email address, institutional affiliation to matzner@usc.edu.Please attach the essay to the email as a .pdf file containing no identifying information about the author.  The essay should be no more than 8000 words12 font size, double-spaced; and it should consistently follow either MLA or Chicago style and contain full bibliographical information on the used sources, either in the footnotes or as a separate list of references. The deadline to submit a nomination is June 15, 2020 June 1 2021, 11:59 PM EST.

CFP – MLA 2021 panel – Dostoevsky at 200: International Receptions

This is a call for papers for a proposed panel at the 2021 MLA Convention to be held in Toronto 7-10 Jan 2021. For more information about the convention, click here.

CFP: Dostoevsky at 200: International Receptions

Considerable research has been devoted to Fyodor Dostoevsky’s incorporation of non-Russian art and texts as inspiration for his writing. Comparatively less attention, however, has been to paid to the immense influence the author’s own life and works have had on literature, drama, philosophy, and art. This panel seeks to explore Dostoevsky’s reception, as a man and as an author, by 20th and 21st century writers and artists. It is co-sponsored by the International Dostoevsky Society and the Reception Study Society in celebration of the author’s 200th year.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Dostoevsky’s influence on existentialist philosophy
  • Postcolonial adaptations of Dostoevky’s writing
  • Dostoevsky’s role in shaping Modernist and Post-Modernist literatures
  • Shifts in international acclaim or censure
  • Diverse interpretations of Dostoevsky’s anti-heroes
  • Counters to Bakhtin’s influential reading of Dostoevsky
  • The global reach of Dostoevskian fiction
  • Fictional interpretations of Dostoevsky’s life
  • Adapting Dostoevsky for theatre or film

Less researched areas of influence are especially welcome. Please submit your abstract (max. 300 words) and CV to Melanie Jones (feuillyjones@gmail.com) by 15 March 2020.

Contact: Melanie Jones, Katherine Bowers, Kelsey Squire

Dostoevsky panels at AATSEEL 2020

The 2020 AATSEEL convention is taking place in San Diego February 6–9. This year’s program features several panels focused completely or partially on the ideas and works of Dostoevsky scheduled for Saturday, February 08 and Sunday, February 09. Come join us this weekend to hear the latest research on Dostoevsky!

 

Saturday, February 08


8:00–10:00am 

5-5 Reading Tolstoy and Dostoevsky

Location: Balboa 1

Chair: Lynn Ellen Patyk, Dartmouth College

Group panelists:

Laurel Schmuck, University of Colorado, Boulder and Justin Trifiro, University of Southern California – “Tolstoy Versus Dostoevsky?: Free Will Under the Microscope”

Boungsam Jeung, Stanford University – “The Unaddressed Letters in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot: The Unfinalizability of The Human Soul”

 

5-10 Early Soviet Aesthetic and Social Theory: Between Immanence and Transcendence

Location: Gaslamp 2

Chair: Robert Bird, University of Chicago

Group panelists:

Mari Jarris, Princeton University – “Emotionality and “Winged Eros”: Alexandra Kollontai’s Transitional Theory of Gender Emancipation”

Anne Eakin Moss, Johns Hopkins University – “Vladimir Nil’sen’s Transparent Mirror”

Tom Roberts, Smith College – “Lukács on Dostoevsky: Immanence and Totality in the Wake of 1917”


1:00–3:00pm

6-1 Stream 1B: Dostoevsky Beyond Bakhtin (I)

Location: Gaslamp 4

Chair: Jacob Emery, Indiana University

Group panelists:

Benjamin Paloff, University of Michigan – “Bakhtin’s Narrative Realism”

Maxwell Parlin, Princeton University – “Raskolnikov’s Repentance: Kierkegaard as a Corrective to Bakhtin”

Lynn E. Patyk, Dartmouth College – “Provoking Bakhtin”

 

3:30–5:00pm 

7-1 Stream 1B: Dostoevsky Beyond Bakhtin (II)

Location: Gaslamp 4

Chair: Edyta Bojanowska

Group panelists:

Alexander Spektor, University of Georgia, Athens – “Mr. -tin and the Question of Plot”: Realigning Dialogism in Dostoevsky”

Jillian Costello, Stanford University – “Reading Slant: The Failure of Dialogism and Narrative Cruelty in Dostoevsky’s Krotkaya”

Jefferson Gatrall – “A Single Child’s Suffering: Dostoevsky’s War Rhetoric from Diary of a Writer to the War in Donbass”

 

5:15–7:00pm

8-6 Dialogues with/in Dostoevsky (Sponsored by the North American Dostoevsky Society)

Location: Balboa 2 

Chair: Greta Matzner-Gore, University of Southern California

Group panelists:

Chloe Papadopoulos, Yale University – “Speaking Silently in Fedor Dostoevsky’s ‘Krotkaia’”

Kelsey Rubin-Detlev, University of Southern California – “F. M. Dostoevsky’s Correspondence with A. G. Dostoevskaia: Dialogue or Serialized Novel?”

Alex Spektor, University of Georgia – “Between Idyll and Catastrophe: The Space of Ethics in ‘The Dream of a Ridiculous Man’”

 

Sunday, February 09


8:00–10:00am

9-4 Dostoevsky’s Poetics

Location: Gallery 3B

Chair: Paul Contino, Pepperdine University

Group panelists:

Max Gordon, Northwestern University – Crime and Punishment: Return of the Matricidal Son

Paul Contino, Pepperdine University – “Ivan’s Confession and Kenosis: How von Balthasar’s Theology Enriches Bakhtin’s Study of Dostoevsky’s Poetics”

Piotr Axer, Brown University – “‘The Only Other World’ – Elaborating the Representations of the Void in Demons


Thank you to Vadim Shneyder of UCLA who compiled this list!

The Double Gets a Double: Dostoevsky Student Rotten Tomato Reviews

Students in Greta Matzner-Gore’s course Literature and Philosophy: Dostoevsky at the University of Southern California reviewed Richard Ayoade’s 2013 adaptation of The Double. Here are some excerpts of their work.

double_fake_tomatometer

——————–Movie Info——————–

Double_poster

“Eisenberg plays Simon, a timid, isolated man who’s overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams (Wasikowska). The arrival of a new co-worker, James (also played by Eisenberg), serves to upset the balance. James is both Simon’s exact physical double and his opposite—confident, charismatic and good with women. To Simon’s horror, James slowly starts taking over his life” (https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_double_2013).

 

——–Critic Reviews for The Double———

1.5/5 stars 

This Movie Makes Me Feel Like Golyadkin

By Leo Houts

The Double by Dostoyevsky is funny, self-aware, and centered around Golyadkin, an idiosyncratic civil servant who is gradually driven insane by issues both in his psyche and his environment. It is called The Double because Golyadkin meets a person with the same facial features, name, and even clothes as himself. This double (Golyadkin Jr.) begins working at the same place Golyadkin does, and is more successful both socially and in work.

The Double by Richard Ayoade, on the other hand, is neither funny nor self-aware. It sacrifices the humor of Golyadkin’s pathetic character for an awkward antihero with a love interest (Simon) played by Jesse Eisenberg. Eisenberg plays Simon with the same confidence that Golyadkin Jr. has, maybe because like Golyadkin Jr., Eisenberg’s character is the exact double of a pre-existing person, in this case every past role Eisenberg has ever had. […]

If you are the kind of person who enjoys indie films about shy antiheroes, maybe you will like this film. If you are the kind of person who likes good writing and acting, you probably will not. If you are a fan of the original work by Dostoyevsky, I am sorry.”

 

3/5 Stars

“Richard Ayoade’s The Double is Great But It’s Not the Book, Literally”

By Lauren Foley

“The uncanny riddles Richard Ayoade’s film adaptation of ​The Double,​ transforming the classic Fyodor Dostoevsky novel into an otherworldly mix of science-fiction, horror, and dark comedy. Although foundationally similar, tonally, Ayoade creates a new beast from Dostoevsky’s original work, fracturing what Dostoevsky fans have come to know and love from the original work. With new character names, settings, and plot points (amongst other changes), ​The Double​ has been through quite a transformation on its way to the screen. […]

Ultimately, if you are a fan of the novella you might be able to gain something from the film– you just might not like it all that much. But, on its own, it’s worth a watch for its impeccable set design, world building, plotting, and performance by Jesse Eisenberg. You might just not be as fond of the editing, and Mia Wasikowska’s performance. Nonetheless, I recommend you give it a try– at least just to have some fun.”

The Double’s Double

By Connor Valore-Kemmerer

“They say if your doppelganger ever appears that you’re doomed to die; Dostoevsky’s novella The Double finds itself in this situation with the release of a film called The Double, directed by Richard Ayoade. You might say a book can’t die, though try googling “The Double” and look at the results—I’ll bet most of them are related to Ayoade’s adaption, not the novella. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as either the movie captures the themes and ideas of the novella, or you don’t value what the novella has to offer. Given that we’re fans of Dostoevsky, however, we’ll assume the ideas of the novella are worth passing down, meaning it can only be replaced if those ideas are preserved. Does Ayoade’s adaption do this? The short answer is yes and no. […]

If it was only inspired by Dostoevsky’s The Double, I would praise it for inspiring viewers to seek out the original ideas that motivated its creation. Like in the novella, however, Dostoevsky’s The Double finds itself being replaced by Ayoade’s The Double, and while this would be fine if the cores were the same, the similarities are mostly skin deep. The “personality” of the film is preferred by society over the “personality” of the novella, which is at risk of being discarded. As someone who values this original “personality,” I have to give Ayoade’s The Double a rating of 3 stars, not because it fails as a film, but because it fails as a proper adaption. An excerpt of a poem by Marie Laurencin feels appropriate: More than exiled, dead; more than dead, forgotten.”

 

3.5/5 Stars

The Double”: An Adaptation Lost in Translation?

By Ashwin Bhumbla

“Fans of the original will be delighted by the sense of place Ayoade gives to the film, an effort that lives up to the gloriously laid out setting of the novella. The sickly greens and dull yellows of the office building, the dim, grey apartments, the unrelenting darkness of the movie’s unnamed city are all definitely not St. Petersburg, but the similarities are there. We see the “messy green walls of [Golyadkin’s] little room” reflected in the hallways of the data company. The “murky, grey autumnal day” of the novella’s beginning is instead replaced by near constant darkness. While the minimalist design almost certainly is owed in part to budget constraints, it proves to be the appropriate artistic choice. A standout scene of the film is when we see Simon’s room for the first time. As he walks in we hear the door creak. We can hear and feel the constant shaking of the walls of his cramped, under-furnished apartment. The faucet shudders and moans as he pours out water into a dusty glass and that cup is the only thing we see him partake in as he watches a television show on the tiniest TV screen known to man, perhaps a modern replacement for Golyadkin’s own “small round mirror” […] The ending, like that of the original, will leave viewers scratching heads and discussing for some time. Ayoade is to be commended, taking a story one might think is unadaptable and not just adapting the plot, but adapting the feel and presence of the novella into an entirely different medium and work of art all his own.”

#NotMyGolyadkin: A Review of The Double (2013)

By Maria Camasmie

“A fan of the novella would notice quite quickly, from the first scene even, that Simon James is by no means comparable to our beloved Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin. As a fan myself, I was most delighted by The Double’s profoundly perplexing main character, Mr. Golyadkin—his paranoia, his delusions of grandeur, his obsession with status, and of course, his bizarre propensity to hide in corners. Simon James is an ordinary man in a bizarre world, while Golyadkin is a bizarre man in an ordinary world. […]

[T]he fundamental difference between the two protagonists generates a fundamental difference between the works themselves—where the original novella navigates a man’s complex and often irrational relationship with his own personality and the world around him, the film adaptation explores the reactions of a helpless, ordinary man to inexplicable events brought onto him by the outside world. Though the storylines are similar, the experience of the original novella is much more internal, while the film adaptation only scratches the surface.”

5/5 stars

How Ayoade Put Dostoevsky’s Classic in a Time Machine

By Blake Amann

“Ayoade’s adaption of Dostoevsky’s novella The Double is an extremely innovative way of translating Dostoevsky’s environment from the page to the screen and modernizing the central philosophical question of struggling with one’s identity. Ayoade’s picture, also called The Double, brilliantly employs a very dystopian-like setting in order to match the rigid, bureaucratic society that was present in the life of Golyadkin in St. Petersburg. The setting’s boring coloration and strict organization in the office area spotlights the ideal of fitting in and matching societal expectations that is key to social success in 19th century St. Petersburg. Additionally, Ayoade’s film takes place in a city that has no daylight, drawing even more parallel to the dark mood of St. Petersburg, which Dostoevsky describes in his novella as ‘pregnant with colds, agues, quinsies, gumboils, and fevers of every conceivable shape and size.’”

 

A Mad, Mad World

By Skyler Melnick

“Am I asleep? Am I dreaming?” Dostoevsky’s protagonist asks himself upon peering at his double (49). Throughout the manic stream of the novella, Golyadkin wavers, doubts, suffers, and fantasizes, feeling as though he is “neither dead nor alive, but somewhere in between” (23). In a similar fashion, Richard Ayoade’s film adaptation, ​The Double​ (2013), cultivates an absurd, dreamlike tone of inbetweenness through the use of constant oppressive noises, disorienting lighting, deadpan dialogue, and a hurried protagonist trying to catch up with a fast-paced environment. These visual and formulaic choices generate a similar manic, dreamlike tone to that of Dostoevsky’s novella, but reverse the core thematic essence from an unraveling man to a more stable, albeit troubled man in a deranged society. I give the film five twinkling stars on account of its superb sustained tone, an unusual pairing of bleakness with whimsy. It deviates from the novella in its thematic reversal, but retains the essence of madness and bleakness, resulting in a surprising, yet timeless translation: a piece of inbetweenness, a film where dream and reality, death and life, a man and his shadow are not separated, but swing back and forth like a pendulum, intertwined, leaving the viewer both shocked and empathizing.”

Call for Papers: The Cities and Towns of and in Dostoevsky (Istanbul, Oct 2020)

The Bulgarian Dostoevsky Society is pleased to announce its Second International Symposium, to be held in Istanbul (Turkey), October 19-22, 2020.

The Symposium will be organized in collaboration with:

  • Institute of Literature of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • National Museum of Literature (Sofia)
  • The Community of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Istanbul (Bulgar Ortodoks Kilisesi Vakfi, Istanbul)

The topic of the Symposium is:

The Cities and Towns of and in Dostoevsky

The symposium’s program will be orientated toward the following problems:

  • The question of the space in Dostoevsky. The specificity of the town’s space in Dostoevsky.
  • Topics on topoi in the novels of Dostoevsky: the hierarchy of topoi, “privileged” topoi, and the typology of topoi.
  • Dostoevsky as a writer of the city/town. The phenomenology of the city/town in Dostoevsky: the street, the bridge, the square, houses, slums and cabins, taverns, hotels, and parks. The question of real and “imaginary” cities/towns.
  • The Russian cities/towns in Dostoevsky: Moscow, Omsk, Semipalatinsk, Novokuznetsk, Tver etc. and the Russian ways of Dostoevsky.
  • European cities/towns in Dostoevsky: Dresden, Geneva, Florence, Naples, London, Ems, etc. and the European ways of Dostoevsky.
  • St. Petersburg in Dostoevsky.
  • Constantinople and the Holy Land in Dostoevsky.
  • Topics on “Space and Time,” “On the threshold” and “On the eve,” and Dostoevsky on the eve of his 200-year anniversary.

Specialists of various fields are invited to participate in the Symposium: including literary scholars, linguists, philosophers, architects, anthropologists, theologians, psychologists, and others.

The official languages of the Symposium are Russian and English.

Presentations should last no more than 20 minutes and will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Applications and abstracts (up to 2000 characters, including spaces) must be submitted to the following e-mail address: symposium2020@bod.bg

Deadline for the submission of applications: 31 December 2019.

The number of participants at the Symposium will be limited to 40.

The registration fee will be 130 Euros for participants and 80 Euros for guests, respectively. The registration fee includes: abstract publication, paper publication, coffee breaks, cultural program, and excursion.

The cultural program of the Symposium will include sightseeing in Istanbul as well as one-day-trip to the Princes’ Islands, concluding with a celebratory dinner.

Accommodation and travel expenses are to be borne by the participants.

Venue for the Symposium: The Building of the Bulgarian Exarchy (Istanbul – Şişli, 124 Abide-i Hürriet Caddesi Str.).

Organizing Committee of the Symposium: Emil Dimitrov (Sofia, Chair), Hulya Arslan (Istanbul, Vice Chair) Stoyan Assenov (Sofia), Philip Kumanov (Sofia), Basil Liase (Istanbul), Kader Hasanova (Istanbul), Ivan Zelev (Sofia), Rosanna Casari (Bergamo, Italy), Anastasia Gacheva (Moscow), Jordi Morillas (Barcelona, Spain), Pavel Fokin (Moscow).

Program Editing Committee: Emil Dimitrov, Philip Kumanov, Nina Dimitrova (Sofia), Аlessandra Elisa Visinoni (Bergamo, Italy), Alexander Kochetkov (Niznyi Novgorod, Russia).

The Social Board of the Symposium includes eminent and popular scientists and cultural activists in Bulgaria and Turkey.

The Program Committee will review the submissions and decisions will be announced by March 1, 2020.

All information about the symposium will be updated in a timely manner and available on the website of the Bulgarian Dostoevsky Society: https://bod.bg/bg/

We look forward to seeing you in Istanbul!

This is the second International Symposium organized by the Bulgarian Dostoevsky Society. A writeup of the first appears here on Bloggers Karamazov: ‘To Uncover the Secret of the Person, While Preserving the Secret as a Secret’ – A Review of the Bulgarian Dostoevsky Society’s International Symposium “The Anthropology of Dostoevsky” – check it out!

Call for Papers: Havoc and Healing (Uppsala, March 2020)

Call for Papers

Havoc and Healing: Insights into Human Action in Tolstoy and Dostoevsky

Conference at Uppsala University, 26–27 March 2020

In the novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, human action is frequently destructive, leading collectively to war and individually to murder or other forms of social and familial disruption. Concomitantly these authors offer some of the most incisive psychosocial insights available in cultural discourse into the motivations and dynamics of such behavior.

Focusing on Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, this conference will examine the full complexity of these insights, explicit in philosophical statements and implicit in the embodied human experience of the fictional characters.

Keynote speakers:

Robin Feuer Miller, Brandeis University
Donna Tussing Orwin, University of Toronto

We welcome paper proposals on topics such as (but not limited to):

  • Depictions of war, crime and injustice
  • Depictions of family, domestic happiness and discord
  • Existential questions such as free will and the existence of God
  • The relation of these questions to such formal aspects as narratorial and textual structures
  • The question of “polyphony”: Without adducing the writer’s presumed position, does the novel in question privilege certain standpoints over others or do several standpoints remain equally valid?

The general format is a 20-minute presentation followed by 10 minutes for discussion. However, participants may propose another time-frame or format, e.g. a roundtable discussion on a particular topic. The conference will be held in English.

There will be no conference fee. Participants are expected to book their own accommodation and travel. Suggestions of hotels in Uppsala will be provided in due course.

Please send your paper title, an abstract (150–200 words) and a short bio (100 words) to the organizers Julie Hansen (julie.hansen@moderna.uu.se) and Torsten Pettersson (torsten.pettersson@littvet.uu.se) by January 10, 2020. Notification of acceptance will be given by the end of January.

This conference is organized with support from the Department of Modern Languages at Uppsala University (www.uu.se).