Dostoevsky at AATSEEL 2019!

by Greta Matzner-Gore

In just a week you all will be eating beignets in the French Quarter… and I’ll be eating my heart out here at home. In between jazz sessions and bowls of gumbo, make sure to check out the conference’s many exciting papers on Dostoevsky! You can find them below, listed by date, time, and room number.

Friday, February 8

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Session 1-7: Stream 7A: Monopoliphonic/polimonologic Tolstoevsky or Spirited in Flesh (I): Friendship, Suicide and Resurrection in Dostoevsky’s Works

Location: Orleans

Chair: Carol Apollonio, Duke University

“The Philosophical Problem of Friendship in Dostoevsky’s Works”

Justin Trifiro, University of Southern California

“Physical Resurrection in Notes from Underground

Max Gordon, Northwestern University

“Sudden Suicidal Convulsions in Notes from the House of the Dead

Amy Ronner, St. Thomas University School of Law

Discussant: Robin Feuer Miller, Brandeis University

 

10:15 AM – 12:00 PM

Session 2-7: Stream 7A: Monopoliphonic/polimonologic Tolstoevsky or Spirited in Flesh (II): The Problem of Gender in Tolstoy and Dostoevsky

Location: Orleans

Chair: D. Brian Kim, University of Pennsylvania

“How a Man Killed His Wife: Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata and Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Dead House

Irina Erman, College of Charleston

“In Defense of Katerina Maslova: Bakhtin and Resurrection

Erica Drennan, Columbia University

Discussant: Victoria Juharyan, Princeton University

 

4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Session 4-7: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Gogol

Location: Endymion

“The Disintegration of Personality: Literary Parallels Between Dostoevsky’s The Double and Gogol’s ‘The Portrait’”

Olga Khometa, University of Toronto

“So…What Is To Be Done About Poor Nastasya in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot?”

Denis Zhernokleyev, Vanderbilt University

 

Session 4-10: The Language of Space and the Space of Language in (Post-)Soviet Russian Culture

Location: St. Claude

“Space in Contemporary Cinematic Transpositions of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

Alexander Burry, Ohio State University

 

Saturday, February 9

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Session 5-2: Stream 2B: Mimesis in Russian Art and Aesthetic Theory (I)

Location: Ile de France II

Chair: Kit Pribble, University of California at Berkeley

“Dostoevskiian Allegory and the Realist Project”

Melissa Frazier, Sarah Lawrence College

“V romane nado geroiia”: Realist character-systems in Dostoevsky’s Zapiski iz podpol’ia

Chloë Kitzinger, Rutgers University

“Not theatrical, not aesthetic beauty will save the world: Realistic Symbolism and Naturalism on the Stage”

Lindsay Ceballos, Lafayette College

Discussant: Susan McReynolds, Northwestern University

 

Session 5-7: Stream 7B: The Russian Medical Humanities (I)

Location: Orleans

Chair: Melissa Miller, University of Notre Dame

“Stavrogin as Syphilitic in Dostoevsky’s Demons

Brian R. Johnson, Macalester College

 

3:15 PM – 5:00 PM

Session 7-10: Graduate Invitational Panel: Feeling Across Borders in 19th-century Russia

Location: St. Claude

Chair: Jinyi Chu, Stanford University

“Identifying Emotional Communities in the Age of Pushkin”

Emily Wang, University of Notre Dame

“Emotions and Cognition in Dostoevsky’s ‘Dream of a Ridiculous Man’”

Victoria Juharyan, Princeton University

Discussant: Ilya Vinitsky, Princeton University

 

 5:15 PM – 7:00 PM

 Session 8-5: Roundtable: Crime and Punishment: Issues of Teaching and Translation

Location: Frontenac

Chair: Robin Feuer Miller, Brandeis University

Discussants:

Carol Apollonio, Duke University

Kate Holland, University of Toronto

Katherine Bowers, University of British Columbia

Val Vinokur, The New School

 

Sunday, February 10

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Session 9-5: Roundtable: Teaching Dostoevsky in the 21st Century

Location: Endymion

Chair: Robin Feuer Miller, Brandeis University

Discussants:

Amy Ronner, St. Thomas University School of Law

Caroline Lemak Brickman, UC Berkeley

Chloë Kitzinger, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Daniel Brooks, Franklin & Marshall College

Katherine Bowers, University of British Columbia

Sean Blink, Yale University

 

Session 9-6: The Reading and Reception of the Russian Classics in the Late-Soviet Period

Location: Orleans

Chair: Jonathan Wurl, Stanford University

“‘Yes, not to Leningrad, but to Petersburg’: Reading Tsypkin Reading Dostoevsky”

Brett Roark Winestock, Stanford University

Discussant: Alexander Prokhorov, College of William and Mary

David Magarshack, the Penguin Archive, and Translating Dostoevsky: A Chat with Cathy McAteer

Today we are sitting down to talk about translating Dostoevsky and David Magarshack with Cathy McAteer, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Exeter who has recently defended her PhD in Russian and Translation Studies at the University of Bristol. Her doctoral thesis examines Penguin Books’s Russian Classics series (1950-1964) with special emphasis on Magarshack’s role as translator in bringing Russian literary texts to an anglophone audience.

BK: So, first of all, tell us a bit about your research project. Why did you decide to focus on Penguin’s Russian Classics series? Were there any surprising discoveries in your research?

CM: Hello Katia, thanks for inviting me to talk a bit about my research. My interest in Penguin’s Russian Classics took on a new dimension once I’d started my MA in Translation Studies at the University of Bristol. The act of comparing different Penguin versions of Russian literary classics against the original source texts prompted a new set of questions for me about the background to those Penguin commissions: who were the people driving and completing them; what were their various professional backgrounds and qualifications (if any); how did Penguin and its commissioned translators interact with each other; was there ever such a thing as an in-house Penguin translation style; and then, how well did the Anglophone lay audience, which ultimately spanned several geographical borders, receive this relaunched literary canon? When I finished my Masters, I was fortunate to receive funding to pursue a PhD framed around answering these questions. On a broader scale, I also wanted my PhD to fill a gap in knowledge as far as the more modern phase of Russian literary translation in English is concerned, namely the mid- to late-twentieth century, the exact time when Penguin was publishing its versions of the classic Russian literary canon.

My doctoral project relied heavily on detailed archival research, initially at the Penguin archive (housed at the University of Bristol) but also at the Leeds Russian archive. In terms of surprising discoveries, I never expected the personalities of key and minor players to reveal themselves so strikingly via their correspondence. They came to life in a way which is never apparent just from reading their end-products, the translated texts themselves. Individuals like the editors EV Rieu and ASB Glover feature throughout, efficient, often humorous, and polite. Translators like Elisaveta Fen, Rosemary Edmonds, and, of course, David Magarshack reveal that they could be self-assured and commercially astute, but at times frustrated by the tedium of the commercial process and unsolicited changes to their translations. Surprises include one letter which reveals the Turgenev translator Gilbert Gardiner’s patient, 25-year wait for missed royalty payments. There are startlingly frank letters from the lay-reading public too. Some applaud the price and accessibility of Penguin’s Russian Classics, while others offer criticism. One correspondent criticizes Penguin for allowing over-popular translations of Russian literature ‘just so that it can be understood by people without literary knowledge’, another complains to the editors for even allowing the title Anna Karenin (‘an act of impudence and vandalism’), and another correspondent praises an excellent translation (The Devils) but laments that it is marred with ‘phrases, not to say paragraphs in French’. Their voices are vibrant; it was fascinating to discover how opinionated Penguin’s readership could be over matters of translation.

Analysis of this archival material allowed me, therefore, to construct a profile, a microhistory, of key Penguin Russian players, but also to map the climate of reception for Russian literature in English translation during the last half of the twentieth century.

magarshack

David Magarshack, (n.d.)
© Magarshack family

BK: Now tell us a bit about David Magarshack. He’s an acclaimed translator of Dostoevsky (and others). Why did you choose him as the focus of your case study?

CM: I suspected from the outset that David Magarshack would probably play an important role in my thesis – he was after all one of the longest-serving early translators for Penguin’s Russian Classics, translating the four major works by Dostoevsky for them, along with Goncharov’s Oblomov, Gogol’s Dead Souls, and Chekhov’s Lady with Lapdog – but I never actually expected him to dominate the project to such an extent! After weeks of scouring the Penguin archive I realized I would need to corroborate my Bristol findings by pursuing material stored in other collections. I went to Leeds, therefore, to examine David Magarshack’s (and Elisaveta Fen’s) private papers. Fen’s papers were useful, certainly, but I found the most relevant and detailed material in Magarshack’s papers where, to my delight, his notes included specific lectures and essays about his translation strategy.

Magarshack was born in Riga (then Russia) in 1899 but emigrated to the UK in 1920 in search of a higher education (a right restricted to only a limited number of Jews at the time of Magarshack’s student years). He arrived in the UK with scarcely any English but graduated four years later with a 2:1 in English Language and Literature at UCL. After years of trying to make a living as a crime-writer, journalist, and aspiring newspaper editor, he eventually offered his services as a literary translator to Penguin. His first Penguin book was Crime and Punishment, completed ahead of the scheduled delivery date, perhaps thanks in part to his wife Elsie, a Yorkshire-born, Cambridge-graduate of English. (According to Magarshack’s daughter, Stella, Elsie helped with all his translations, proofreading and correcting, but she is never mentioned in his work. For me, Elsie is something of an unsung heroine; my hope is that my PhD has at least apportioned her some belated fame.)

The more I learned about Magarshack, the more fascinated I became by his commercial approach to translation and literature. With very little money coming in as a journalist, Magarshack was a man under pressure; he had a wife (and in-laws with financial aspirations for their daughter), four children, and a keen sense of pride and ambition. Magarshack comes across in his letters as driven primarily to make his career a success, but also eager to refashion the Russian literature translated by Constance Garnett and keen to match (if not improve!) Dostoevsky.

He represents a rare, modern case study because of the large amount of archival material which stands alongside all the text-based material he left behind; this combination has made it possible to construct a detailed microhistory of his professional life, to shed light for the first time on a man so readily associated in readers’ minds (lay and academic) with Penguin’s Russian literature.

BK: I know you’ve worked extensively with Penguin’s archive and the Magarshack papers in the Leeds Russian archive. Can you speak a bit about those collections? What are the documents like? What kinds of materials? And did you make any new discoveries?

The Penguin archive consists of 2,300 boxes, 500 metres of Penguin titles, and it grows by a metre of shelf space every month: signed books, correspondence, photos, promotional material. It is vast. The Penguin Classics section represents a small part of the entire archive, and the Russian Classics titles amount to just 23 folders in total, spanning from 1950 to 1970, which vary considerably in size. Some contain no more than a couple of letters confirming a print re-run, others contain tens of pages of detailed discussion about deadlines, royalty payments, corrections, correction costs, copyright, translation queries, suggestions for cover design, readers’ letters, etc. Thick files usually bode well, either because there has been a particular working rapport between editor and translator – good or bad! but always with an eagerness all round to produce the best possible text for publication – or because a text has prompted a high level of reader response: from individuals, theatre troupes requesting stage adaptations, the BBC seeking broadcasting permission, and, in the case of the Dostoevsky files, there are repeated requests by academics for permission to use translation excerpts in their psychology manuals. Inevitably, though, archival work is the domain of one-sided conversations which can often lead to unanswered questions, red-herrings, and dead-ends; these all become a bit of an occupational hazard! Just when you think the next letter will neatly conclude an ongoing discussion, the trail runs dry, which is why I ended up pursuing other collections.

Fortunately for me, Magarshack kept large quantities (27 boxes in total) of his letters, reviews, theatre programmes (his play translations continued to be used for decades), copies of his works, notes on translation, which answered many questions, provided new lines of enquiry, but also led me to Magarshack’s daughter Stella and the opportunity for me to interview her about her father’s translation career. I discovered that aside from his translations (not just for Penguin) and biographies (many of your readers will be aware of Magarshack’s Dostoevsky biography), Magarshack also tried his hand at crime-writing, à la Dostoevsky, but without comparable success. The highlight for me, though, was discovering that he had attempted to quantify his translation strategy towards the end of his career. He set down his thoughts and observations of twenty years or so of literary translation practice in preparation for a book he had been commissioned to produce for Victor Gollancz on the principles of translation. Had Magarshack’s book made it to publication, it would have been ahead of his time; he had hoped to offer his strategies on how best to tackle classic translation challenges such as Russian naming practices (a question which appears repeatedly in the Penguin Russian Classics archive and perplexes even today), vernacular dialogue, idiomatic equivalence, register, syntax. It is a great shame, therefore, that Magarshack died before the book could be completed.

The strategies and references he noted in the preparatory material for his book reveal that Magarshack was a man straddling the two cultures and worlds he knew best: Russian and British, and he felt strongly that his Russia and Dostoevsky’s Russia had not previously been satisfactorily conveyed by translators, mainly Constance Garnett. He appears to have felt a huge responsibility to try and address this failing by producing his own translations.

 

Two of Magarshack’s translations for Penguin Classics (Personal collection of C. McAteer)

BK: One of your chapters examines Magarshack’s translation of The Idiot (1955). This was really the first of the modern translations – the previous translations were all published at least 40 years earlier. What does your research reveal about Magarshack’s translation practice?

CM: As I mentioned earlier, my research has revealed that Magarshack approached his translation work with a keen sense that the ‘real’ Russia had never been accurately conveyed to British readers in preceding translations. In his observations about translation, Magarshack noted with evident concern that Garnett had created a ‘popular notion of the Russian as an incompetent, gloom-sodden, bizarre, and even grotesque figure’, a view ‘so generally accepted that it even colours the views of serious authors on Russian affairs’. Magarshack relates his concern over poor translations even more specifically to Dostoevsky, though; he writes that the realization ‘that, for instance, Dostoevsky’s novels are full of laughter as well as tragedy, has yet to be proved to the English reader’. Magarshack hoped that his translations would reinstate the humour as well as the tragedy. Not all readers would now agree that Magarshack achieved this aim; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonskaya, for example, claim instead that there is ‘something tame’ about Magarshack’s translation of Brothers Karamazov which replaces the style, tone, and humour of Dostoevsky’s original. The important thing for me, though, is that Magarshack identified what he felt was missing and tried to rectify the shortfall.

Magarshack’s attempt to differ from his predecessors’ efforts (summed up in his notes in a blend of Western and Soviet-style traditions and techniques) relies on a combination of translation devices: he tries his hand at vernacularized dialogue; incorporates Anglicized naming practices (Mr, Mrs, and Miss) and minimizes the inclusion of patronymics; domesticates culture-specific references; avoids all footnotes (he believed they were ‘a translator’s confession of failure’), and he frequently tries to smooth out syntax. The Idiot contains examples of all these effects and, while readers from a modern vantage point may consider his practice unsubtle and somewhat contrived at times, these devices were a novel way to treat Dostoevsky in the mid-twentieth century. Magarshack created a different feel to Garnett’s earlier translations and provided a stylistic talking point for subsequent translators.

BK: And what can Magarshack’s translation of Dostoevsky tell us about Dostoevsky?

CM: Magarshack wanted his translations to speak to a modern audience and show that there was more to Dostoevsky, more depth and colour, than previously thought. Magarshack strove to show that Dostoevsky had all the tragedy as well as the comedy of Dickens. He believed that the absence in previous Dostoevsky translations either of any humour, or of any attempt at full-bodied characterization, presented an anaemic version of the real Dostoevsky. Magarshack felt it was the translator’s duty to serve and reveal the original author by researching the author’s background, social context, morals, literary style, and channel that knowledge into decisions over lexis, idiom, register, voice. Magarshack can be regarded as the first modern translator, therefore, to expose the existence in Dostoevsky of characters who build tension, evoke sympathy, have nicknames and humour, reveal vices and morals, who speak like barrow boys and express credible feelings. Of course, he didn’t succeed on every count (possibly because he was having to work fast to pay the bills). There are always deficits in a translation, some of Magarshack’s decisions irritated readers then and now (for example, Magarshack’s occasional glossing over of culture-specific references and syntax, his occasional omissions, over-domestication of names) but Magarshack has been credited with revealing the polyphony which exists in Dostoevsky’s works, giving voice to a more comprehensive range of Dostoevskian characters who were previously served by Garnett’s one Edwardian voice, for example.

Magarshack and Penguin proved that Dostoevsky was an accessible author who could be appreciated by all lovers of great literature, that he wrote for the everyman and not for an elitist readership after all. Many of Penguin’s archived letters of appreciation confirm as much but I’d like to finish with just one comment from Anthony Powell of Punch. He wrote that ‘David Magarshack has revolutionized the reading of Dostoyevsky’s novels in English by his translations which have appeared during the last few years … for years I was rather an anti-Dostoyevsky man, owing to the badness of the translations, but now there is an excellent translator in Magarshack’ (2 April 1958)’.

Thank you!


Cathy McAteer is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Exeter on the project “The Dark Side of Translation: 20th and 21st Century Translation from Russian as a Political Phenomenon in the UK, Ireland and the USA”, which has just gone live, fresh for 2019. More information is available on Twitter (@Rustransdark) and on the project website. Cathy’s publications include ‘Bringing Books Across Borders – Behind the Scenes in Penguin Books’, Transnational Russian Studies (edited by Andy Byford, Connor Doak, Stephen Hutchings) due to be published later this year, and ‘Translation and the Classic: Russians and Romanticism until 1917’, Routledge Handbook on Translation (edited by Siobhan McElduff, James Hadley, Paul Bandia), publication date tbc.

Dostoevsky at MLA 2019!

Are you heading to Chicago for MLA 2019 next week? If yes, stop by the International Dostoevsky Society-sponsored panel, taking place on Fri, Jan 4 from 5:15-6:30pm in the Sheraton Grand (rm Superior A). The panel is Idiot-themed to kick off the novel’s 150th anniversary year!

Dostoevsky’s The Idiot at 150: Textual Transactions

“Dostoevsky’s Capitalist Realism; or, Why Money Doesn’t Burn in The Idiot” – Vadim Shneyder, U of California, Los Angeles

“Prince Myshkin and the Female Fool: Gendering Dostoevsky’s Fools for Christ” Melanie Jones, U of California, Los Angeles

“The Devil Rousseau Comes to Petersburg” – Brian Armstrong, Augusta U

We hope you’ll join us in Chicago! Click here for more information.

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Congratulations to our Graduate Essay Contest Winner, Chloe Papadopoulos!

The Readers Advisory Board of the North American Dostoevsky Society is excited to announce the winner of our Graduate Student Essay Contest: 

Chloe Papadopoulos, for her essay, “Speaking Silently in Fedor Dostoevskii’s ‘Krotkaia.’”

 Chloe is a third-year Ph.D. student in the department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. She received an H.B.A. and M.A in Russian Language and Literature at the University of Toronto, where she specialized in nineteenth-century Russian literature with a focus on Dostoevsky. Her current research focuses on the reception of historical fiction, drama, and sculpture in newspapers and the periodical press of the 1860s, as well as gendered models of communication in nineteenth-century Russian literature.

A hearty congratulations to Chloe and the entire Yale Slavic Department!

Dostoevsky at ASEEES 2018!

This year, ASEEES is holding its 50th annual convention and celebrating 70 years since its founding. Dostoevsky scholarship remains a crucial part of scholarship in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian studies, as the following list attests. Once again, the convention offers a rich selection of panels, roundtables, and individual presentations on Dostoevsky’s works and thought. The list below is divided into two parts: Part I features panels and roundtables that focus primarily on Dostoevsky; Part II lists panels and roundtables where Dostoevsky features prominently in at least one presentation. We hope you can join us in Boston to hear about the fruits of another year’s work on Dostoevsky!


Panels with a Principal Focus on Dostoevsky


Thursday, December 6

Perversity in Dostoevsky

Thu, December 6, 2:00 to 3:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I

Perversity is a central concept for Dostoevsky studies. It entails an internal dialogism – where a discourse is deliberately contradicted, subverted or mocked in the perverse act. A perverse discourse is thus parasitical as it depends on a host narrative to manipulate and transform. Perversity can often be an act of provocation and also goes hand-in-hand with performativity, as the deliberate desire for contrariness implies the presence of an audience one is being perverse for. There are thus natural connections in Dostoevsky between perversity, performativity, provocation and parasitism. The papers in this panel will explore this rich seam of ideas in Dostoevsky’s work, focusing largely on novels he wrote after his return from Siberian exile, but also, in one case, discussing it in the context of his polemically-inclined, journalistic writing. These papers will largely seek to build on Bakhtinian Dostoevsky, exploring the existential, epistemic and ethical consequences of radical dialogism and polyphony.

Papers: 

“Lebedev as Anti-Saint: A Study in Dostoevsky’s Negative Anthropology” – Denis Zhernokleyev, Vanderbilt University

“The Perverse Mysticism of Dostoevsky’s Westernizers” – Bilal Siddiqi, University College London

“The Imp of the Perverse and the Oxygen of Publicity” – Lynn E. Patyk, Dartmouth College

Discussant: Carol Apollonio, Duke University

 

Friday, December 7

Dostoevsky’s Unstable Narratives: Self, Narrators, Discourse, Form

Fri, December 7, 8:00 to 9:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I

This panel examines three of Dostoevsky’s works, with an eye towards narrative instability. The protagonists, narrators, spaces, discourses, and even the narrative structures of Dostoevsky’s works are distressingly unstable. Pervasive across his oeuvre is an acute sense of an unstable self, confronting the moral, spiritual, and historical disintegration occurring in 1860s and 1870s Russia. This emerges at the level of structure via conflicting discourses, unreliable narration, ambiguous information, and an impulse towards fragmentation both in perspective and form. Our interdisciplinary panel brings together psychology, narratology, discourse analysis, and sociology to shed light on the instability – of self, narrative, and reference – central to Dostoevsky’s poetics.

 

Papers:

“Dostoevsky’s Narrative Suicide Etiology: Egoistic, Altruistic, Anomic, and Fatalistic Paradigms” – Amy D. Ronner, St. Thomas University

“Problems of Narrative Irregularity in Dostoevsky’s Demons” – Kornelije Kvas, University of Belgrade

“Serving Dostoevsky: Myshkin as Servant and Counter-Narrator in The Idiot” – Inna Kapilevich, Columbia University

Discussant: Deborah A. Martinsen, Columbia University

 

Dostoevsky’s Podrostok (Roundtable)

Fri, December 7, 10:00 to 11:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I 

Dostoevsky’s critically neglected novel, The Adolescent [Podrostok] (1875), has long been considered an artistic failure. The scholars on this roundtable disagree. They argue, by contrast, that The Adolescent contains the keys to understanding Dostoevsky’s work as a whole. They will explore problems ranging from Dostoevsky’s reinvention of the bildungsroman genre, to Versilov’s changing role in the novel (from the notebooks to the final version); from the gender dynamics of speech and silence, to illegitimacy as a metaphor for Dostoevskian modes of characterization. By bringing a wide range of new interpretations and approaches into dialogue, this roundtable aims to spark new critical interest in The Adolescent, while treating it as a test case for mediating diverging approaches to and perspectives on Dostoevsky’s art.

Participants:

 Yuri Corrigan, Boston University

Kate Rowan Holland, University of Toronto

Chloë Kitzinger, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Chloe Simone Papadopoulos, Yale University

 

Dostoevsky in Space

Fri, December 7, 12:30 to 2:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I

This panel explores Dostoevsky’s engagement with and depiction of the built environment and the natural world. From the sensory to the imagined, from Siberian prisons, the streets of St. Petersburg, to the mountain of Switzerland, consideration of space in Dostoevsky’s work is essential. As the presentations on this panel show, a place as apparent and solid as Russia’s capital city may quickly give way to other ways of understanding and experiencing space in Dostoevsky.

Papers:

“The House on the Ditch with a Stairway to Heaven” – Katya Jordan, Brigham Young University

“Sacred Space in The Idiot: The Case of Alexandre Calame” – Amy Singleton Adams, College of the Holy Cross

“From Street Theatre to Dramatized Interiors: Performing Spaces in Crime and Punishment” – Sarah Jean Young, University College London

Discussant: Greta Nicole Matzner-Gore, University of Southern California

 

Saturday, December 8

Emotional and Physical Trauma in Dostoevsky

Sat, December 8, 3:30 to 5:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I 

Papers:

“A Comparison of Dostoevsky’s Reported Medical Trauma Resulting from his Imprisonment with Those of Fellow Survivors of the Dead House” – Elizabeth Ann Blake, St. Louis University

“Performative Victimhood: The Right to Be Unhappy in Dostoevsky’s Idiot” – Milica Ilicic, Columbia University

“Stavrogin, the 1840s and 1860s, and the Non-Euclidian and its Limits in Dostoevsky” – Maxwell Parlin, Princeton University

Discussant: Brian R. Johnson, Macalester College

 

Sunday, December 9

The North American Dostoevsky Society: New Readings in Economic Criticism

Sun, December 9, 8:00 to 9:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I

 These three papers offer stimulating new readings of economic factors in Dostoevsky’s novels, tightly embedding the theme in the writer’s complex poetics. The flow of money determines plot dynamics; conveys moral messages; throws characters of different social classes into connection and conflict; reflects rapidly changing realities in Russia during a time of economic and political reform; and undermines ostensibly neutral and rational systems of value by turning money into an artistic symbol fraught with danger. These readings offer a typology of economic elites in “The Idiot”; expose the speculator’s trading strategies in narrative in “The Adolescent”; and reveal money as the author’s most cherished generator of narrative interest over the sweep of his writing career.

Papers:

“Becoming a Rothschild: Trading Narratives in Podrostok” – Jonathan Paine, University of Oxford

“The Tie that Breaks: Money and Plot from Poor Folk to The Brothers Karamazov” – Jillian Porter, University of Colorado

“Forms of Money and Narrative Form in The Idiot” – Vadim Shneyder, University of California, Los Angeles

Discussant: William Mills Todd III, Harvard University

 

The Interaction of Science and Literature: The Case of Fyodor Dostoevsky

Sun, December 9, 10:00 to 11:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I

Literary scholars have long explored the engagement between science and literature in the 19th century, not only on the level of theme but also through the shared use of metaphor, narrative structure, and plot. How do literature and science actually interact? Taking the example of Fyodor Dostoevsky, the panelists will trace different aspects of the novelist’s engagement with science at the time, focusing on the developments in Victorian physiological psychology, the adoption of Darwinian evolutionary plots and metaphors, the performance and spectacle of epileptic pathology, and Darwinian-inflected models for representing the workings of the brain.

Papers:

 “Mind and Material World: Dostoevsky and a Science of Realism” – Melissa Frazier, Sarah Lawrence College

“Performing Narratives of Illness: Dostoevsky’s Epileptics” – Brian R. Johnson, Macalester College

“Narrative and Science of the Brain: Dostoevsky’s Idiot” – Brian Egdorf, UC Berkeley

Discussant: Riccardo Nicolosi

 

Scripted Failures: Performance, Repetition, and Rupture in Dostoevsky, Turgenev, and Experimental Theater

Sun, December 9, 12:00 to 1:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I

This panel seeks to examine performative failure and interrupted communication by discussing attempts to communicate through temporal aporias, linguistic breakdown and repetition. The papers focus on the works of Dostoevsky and Turgenev, both in their 19th century context, as well as through later 20th-21st century theatrical performances. Monika Greenleaf’s paper analyzes the role of stuttering and repetition in Turgenev’s “Month in the Country” and two works by Dostoevsky to show that the texts constitute experiments in performative failure and prescient break-throughs in theatrical form, which thematize interrupted communication and contribute to their own postponed performances. Irina Erman’s paper traces a link between the excessive use of diminutives and repetition in Dostoevsky’s “Poor Folk” to the decomposition of language in “Bobok” to examine both texts as performative experiments in communication through failure. Anna Muza’s paper explores the performative treatment of Dostoevsky’s extreme, desperate emotionality and incoherent or inarticulate states – hysteria, hallucination, terror, nadryv – in the staging of “The Brothers Karamazov” (1910) and “The Possessed” (Nikolai Stavrogin, 1913) by the Moscow Art Theater.

Papers:

“The Stutter of Time: Failed Plays and Postponed Performances” – Monika Greenleaf, Stanford University

“Diminution, Repetition, and Decomposition in Dostoevsky’s Poor Folk and ‘Bobok’” – Irina M. Erman, College of Charleston

“Ivan’s Nightmare, Hamlet’s Madness: The Performance of Rupture” – Anna Muza, UC Berkeley

Discussants:

Elena Glazov-Corrigan, Emory University

Alexander Mihailovic, Brown University

 


Panels Featuring One or More Papers on Dostoevsky


Thursday, December 6

Russian Fictional Responses to Darwin

Thu, December 6, 2:00 to 3:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 1st, Columbus II

Several scholars have gathered for a project on the Russian Reception of Darwin. The plan is to produce a collection of translations of the most important responses to Darwin to be followed by a volume of essays. Two panels are being proposed for ASEEES 2018 as part of the project. This first panel focuses on fictional responses to Darwin.

Papers:

“Beyond Social Darwinism: Positive Heroes’ Engagement with Science and Progress in Russian Conservative Novels of the 1860s-1870s” – Victoria Y. Thorstensson, Nazarbayev University

“Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and the Early Reception of Darwin in Russia: 1860-65” – James Frank Goodwin, University of Florida

“On Learned Neighbors and Philadelphia Naturalists: Mapping Chekhov’s Darwinist Parodies” – Melissa Lynn Miller, University of Notre Dame

Discussant: Yvonne Helen Howell, University of Richmond

 

The Performative Icons and the Arts

Thu, December 6, 2:00 to 3:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon D

The work of Alexei Lidov defines “spatial” icons – including churches, sanctuaries, and cities – in terms of their performativity, which forms and describes the perception of the space as sacred. Lidov and other scholars like Boris Uspensky, Bissera Pentcheva, and Marie Gasper-Hulvat approach the performativity of icons through three dimensionality and movement through space and through the materiality of icons themselves. But does our understanding of the performative icon change when it is encountered in literature rather than in a three-dimensional space? This panel considers the performative icon in the context of literature and representational arts of the nineteenth century, the workings of the literary icon, and the meaning of its performativity to the work(s) themselves.

Papers:

“Icon, Art, and Performance in the Works of Vsevolod Garshin” – Benjamin Jens, University of Arizona

“A Haymarket Khozhdenie na Osliati: Raskolnikov’s Donkey Walk and the Failure of Iconic Performativity” – Kathleen Scollins, University of Vermont

“How the Inmates’ Polyphonic Play in Dead House Performs the Nativity Icon” – Michael Mikailovitch Ossorgin VII, Fordham University

Discussant: Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Friday, December 7

Music and Theatricality in Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, and Kharms

Fri, December 7, 12:30 to 2:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 5th, Maine

Papers:

“The Unsung Melody: Performance Practice in The Eternal Husband” – Eva Troje, Princeton University

“Towards the Sacred Banks of the Nile: Allusions to Verdi in Mikhail Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog, 1925” – David Gomiera Molina, University of Chicago

“Performing the Cupboard: Daniil Kharms and the Eroticisation of Opacity” – Mariia Semashyna, Central European University

Discussant: Emily Frey, Swarthmore College

 

Dostoevsky and Tolstoy Starting from Their Psychology

Fri, December 7, 4:30 to 6:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I

This panel looks at the ethical consequences of Dostoevsky’s and Tolstoy’s visions of human psychology, with a view to bringing out the differences in their psychologies and ethics. Yet despite those differences, each writer’s vision of how people should live is not free-standing but depends on an anterior vision of how the human psyche is constructed. We therefore attempt to chart some of the connections between the shape of human nature and the shape of morality in the two bodies of fiction.

Papers:

“Whose Unconscious is it?: The Role of Dreamlike Experiences in Dostoevsky’s Existential Moral Psychology” – Evgenia Cherkasova, Suffolk University

“Nihilism as Refuge: Rethinking the Philosophical Dostoevsky” – Yuri Corrigan, Boston University

“Tolstoy’s Three Ethical Systems” – David M.B.L. Herman, University of Virginia

Discussant: Irina Paperno, University of California, Berkeley

 

Saturday, December 8

Russian Dialogues with Critical Theory: Adorno, Arendt, and Russia

Sat, December 8, 8:00 to 9:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Orleans

This panel explores affinities and points of dialogue between Russian culture and German philosophy of the twentieth century, building on the work of recent volumes such as Critical Theory in Russia and the West (BASEES/Routledge 2010) and Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations (Stanford 2012). There has been a surge of interest in the philosophy of Hannah Ardent in Russia, where her ideas have emerged from the “zone of silence” in the Soviet Union to a central place in intellectual discourse today. Diana Gasparyan’s paper takes a key theme in the work of Arendt and the twentieth-century Russian-Georgian philosopher Merab Mamardashvili–the relationship between thinking and ethics—and shows that in studying this relationship, both writers recognize the necessity of clarifying the social and political nature of the individual, and the distinctiveness of the citizen. Svetlana Klimova shows that both Tolstoy and Arendt were building on the foundation of Kant’s philosophical anthropology; this common heritage, she argues, led them to identify a fundamental failure of thinking and judgment in their societies. For both, Klimova argues, the struggle against the dictatorial state turns out to be a struggle for the “Kantian” individual, capable of overcoming external and internal evil through reason and the moral law. In his paper, Brian Armstrong brings Dostoevsky’s familiar concerns with beauty and its socio-historical potential into dialogue with the explorations of beauty, the sublime, and their potential for social change in modernity in the work of Adorno, and behind him, Kant.

Papers:

“Hannah Arendt and Merab Mamardashvili: On the Possibility of Political Judgement” – Diana Gasparyan, NRU Higher School of Economics

“The Philosophy of Evil in the Work of Lev Tolstoy and Hannah Arendt” – Svetlana Klimova, NRU Higher School of Economics

“Can Beauty Save the World?: Dostoevsky, Adorno, and the Challenges of the Beautiful and Sublime” – Brian Arthur Armstrong, Augusta University

Discussant: Susan McReynolds, Northwestern University

 

Rewriting the Russian Literary Canon in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Sat, December 8, 10:00 to 11:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 5th, Connecticut

This panel puts diverse twentieth-century reinterpretations of nineteenth-century Russian literature in dialogue with one another in order to rethink the canon. Elizabeth Geballe reads Constance Garnett’s English translations of Dostoevsky’s passages about corpses as a form of rewriting. She demonstrates how the translations help to theorize and expose poetics already at work in Dostoevsky. Erica Drennan examines mock trial versions of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment that were performed in the 1920s and compares them to the original novel. She reads these performative reinterpretations in order to interrogate the role of the reader and the relationship between dialogue and authority in Dostoevsky’s novel. Sophie Pinkham’s paper shifts the focus from Dostoevsky to Pushkin. She argues that the recent “canonization” of Sergei Dovlatov, particularly in relation to his connection with Pushkin’s estate, reveals post-Soviet efforts to establish a sense of cultural continuity across the centuries. By connecting these different readings and rewritings of Dostoevsky and Pushkin, this panel examines how nineteenth-century works were appropriated and transformed in the twentieth century, and considers how these reinterpretations of the canon affect our understanding of both nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian literature.

Papers: 

“Unwanted Afterlives: Translating Dostoevsky’s Corpses” – Elizabeth Frances Geballe, Indiana University, Bloomington

“Performing Crime and Punishment: Raskolnikov on Trial” – Erica Stone Drennan, Columbia University

“Canonizing Dovlatov in Putin’s Russia” – Sophie Pinkham, Columbia University

Discussant: Milla (Lioudmila) Fedorova, Georgetown University

 

 

Cognitive Perspectives on Classic Russian Prose (Roundtable)

Sat, December 8, 10:00 to 11:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon I

Our roundtable will consider the bilateral study of Russian prose and cognitive science. On the one hand, recent discoveries in the functions of the mind point out how writers like Dostoevsky, Nabokov and Tolstaya exploit deep-set mental proclivities. On the other, sensitive readings of their prose works not only tests received science, they may also indicate directions for further clinical inquiry. Madelyn Stuart will apply blending theory and neurological memory work to Nabokov’s early short stories and novellas. Katherina B. Kokinova asks to what extent the collaboration of cognitive narratology and reception theory can unravel the mirroring cyclic recurrence of rereading and narrating in Nabokov’s “The Circle.” According to Amina Gabrielova, characters in Tatiana Tolstaya’s stories often make sense of the surrounding world by interpreting sounds, or by hearing; she will ponder the cognitive differences between visual and auditory perception. Examining the public circumstances of Raskolnikov’s confession in Crime and Punishment, Tom Dolack suggests that conscience conveys prosociality in individual consciousness. Looking at narrative innovations in that same Dostoevsky novel, Brett Cooke wonders what role classic prose plays in the development of our cognitive potential. Inasmuch as we will be discussing shared human capabilities, an important question for our ending discussion will be to what extent cognitive findings with one writer can be exported to the study of another.

Participants:

Brett Cooke, Texas A&M University

Tom Dolack, Wheaton College

Amina Gabrielova, Purdue University

Madelyn Stuart, University of Virginia

 

Crime, Punishment, and Bureaucracy: Dostoevsky, Saltykov-Shchedrin, and Early Russian Crime Fiction

Sat, December 8, 1:30 to 3:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Arlington

Papers:

“Dostoevsky’s Adventure in the French Language (1880-1930)” – Svetlana Cecovic, NRU Higher School of Economics

“Bureaucratic Mythologies: Folktale as Critique in Gospoda Golovlevy” – Michaela Telfer, University of Southern California

“Performing Criminal Investigations: Scenes of Confrontation and Interrogation in Late Imperial Russian Crime Fiction” – Claire Whitehead, University of St. Andrews

Discussant: Irina Reyfman, Columbia University

 

Folklore and Performance

Sat, December 8, 1:30 to 3:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon A

The three papers in this panel pose questions about performative folk genres in Russian literature and culture: songs and food. Oxana Vorobyova’s “The Study of Folklore in the “Russkoe slovo” Magazine: Performing Identity” presents fragments of folklore, found in different materials of the “Russkoe slovo” magazine, for example, the sad folk song “Na gore-gore tatar’yo stoit.” The author aims to determine the region, approximate time of origin, and the performer of fragments of folklore by context. In “Enacting the Folk Song in Dostoevsky’s “Akulka’s Husband:” Comic and Tragic Texts,” Cecilia Dilworth argues that the pattern of a comic folk song about cuckoldry is grafted onto the events related, skewering the perception of actors, narrator and audience, and moving the story towards its catastrophic conclusion. She notes that “Akulka’s Husband” also analyzes how draws on a different, tragic folkloric genre – the Russian folk ballad—and that piecing together motifs from a number of classic ballad plots centered on the act of wife murder, Dostoevsky creates a “ballad in prose.” She analyzes how comic and tragic trajectories of the two genres intersect and clash, the former partly functioning as a catalyst for the latter. In her paper, “Ritual, Recipe, Representation (or From Ritual to Recipe ): About Carrying On Culinary Traditions,” Amina Gabrielov approaches culinary recipe description and propagation through the theoretical background of Olga Freidenberg theories of folklore and of food and ritual as source of genres. She will also incorporate Sergei Nekludov’s ideas of folkloric genres.

Papers:

“The Study of Folklore in the Russkoe Slovo Magazine: Performing Identity” – Oxana Vorobyova, Lomonosov Moscow State University

“Enacting the Folk Song in Dostoevsky’s “Akulka’s Husband”: Coming and Tragic Texts” – Cecilia Dilworth, Stockholm University

“Ritual, Recipe, Representation (of From Ritual to Recipe): About Carrying on Culinary Traditions” – Amina Gabrielova, Purdue University

Discussant: Viktoria Bashman, Hampden-Sydney College

 

Sunday, December 9

Internal Colonization: Gogol, Dostoevsky, and Hemlin

Sun, December 9, 12:00 to 1:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 1st, Boylston

The panel explores Alexander Etkind’s concept of “internal colonization” and Martin Buber’s notion of “I and thou” as essential for understanding both colonial and post-colonial relationships. The three papers examine how authors position themselves towards the “other” in a colonial, post-colonial, and philosophical sense through examinations of the works of Gogol, Dostoevsky, and Hemlin. Nadja Berkovich’s paper investigates Dostoevsky’s position towards the colonial “other” through his relationship with two prominent ethnographers of his time, Petr Semenov Tian-Shanskii and Chokan Valikhanov, in light of Buber’s and Bakhtin’s theories of dialogue, as well by viewing his novel The Notes from the House of the Dead as an example of the “imperial imaginary.” Alexander Droznin’s paper engages with Bakhtin’s and Buber’s reading of Gogol’s Dead Souls and Inspector General, whose main picaresque characters exemplify both a homo interior and a homo exterior. Yuliya Minkova’s paper addresses the plot of internal colonization in Margarita Hemlin’s novel Doznavatel’ which presents an opportunity to discuss the issue of otherness in both historical and contemporary contexts.

Papers:

“The Imperial Imaginary in Dostoevsky” – Nadja Berkovich, University of Arkansas

“Participation and Experience: Martin Buber’s Intersubjectivity and the Gogolian Picaresque” – Alexander Droznin, Harvard University

“The Vagaries of Internal Colonization in Margarita Hemlin’s Doznavatel’” – Yuliya Minkova, Virginia Tech

Discussant: Taras Koznarsky, University of Toronto


With thanks to Vadim Shneyder, Assistant Professor at UCLA, for compiling the list! 

Approaches to Teaching Crime & Punishment

We would like to invite all Dostoevsky scholars to complete a survey that is designed to gather information about instructors’ methods and materials for teaching Crime and Punishment. We will use these results for a new volume on the novel that we are proposing for the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Please answer the questions at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5TJHPVC and click Done when you are finished. All respondents to the survey will be acknowledged in the published volume, and the editors may quote anonymously from your responses in their introduction. Please indicate in your answers if you do not give permission to be acknowledged or quoted.

We are also soliciting proposals for contributions to the volume. If you wish to submit an essay proposal (see item 12 for requirements), please send it by e-mail to mkatz@middlebury.edu or burry.7@osu.edu. You may also send queries, comments, or supplemental materials such as course descriptions, syllabi, assignments, and bibliographies as attachments (doc, docx, rtf or pdf required). Surface mail submissions may be sent to Professor Michael Katz, 1712 Sperry Road, Cornwall, VT 05753 or Professor Alexander Burry, 400 Hagerty Hall, 1775 College Road, Columbus OH 43210].

Proposals and survey responses are due by 1 August 2018, after which the survey will no longer be available online.

Michael R. Katz, Middlebury College

Alexander Burry, The Ohio State University


Image credit: Panda with Oar on Deviant Art

Rodion Raskolnikov, Your Tweet Archive is Ready

by Katherine Bowers

Two years ago, on May 1, 2016, the Twitter account @RodionTweets sent its first tweet. Since then @RodionTweets has “live-tweeted” the events of Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment, broken into 140-character-or-less snippets, from its hero Raskolnikov’s perspective. The bulk of the novel’s events take place over the course of three intense weeks in the summer, and the bulk of Rodion Raskolnikov’s tweets similarly appeared in July 2016, but the account has continued to tweet the book’s epilogues, which spread over the course of nearly two years. Finally, on April 24, 2018, Raskolnikov’s new life began and the twitter account went silent.
Rodiontweets-end-1

@RodionTweets was the brainchild of myself and Brian Armstrong, a kind of extension of our first experiment with Twitterature, @YakovGolyadkin. Both accounts were created through a process of tweet mining. For @RodionTweets we received permission from Penguin Classics to use Oliver Ready’s translation of Crime and Punishment. Then one Dostoevsky scholar mined one of the novel’s six parts and Kristina McGuirk, my wonderful RA, did a round of edits and loaded the tweets into TweetDeck, scheduling them in to tweet out according to the timeline for the novel that Brian and I had mapped.

Rodiontweets-end-2As each part of the novel was tweeted out, we reflected on our experience in creating the tweets in a series of blog posts. Sarah Hudspith mined Part 1 and reflected on the divide between public and private online and the use of hashtags as a narrative device. In her discussion of mining Part 2, Sarah Young considered the way digital approaches to the novel (tweeting, digital mapping) expand our avenues for understanding and interpretation. Kate Holland’s experience mining Part 3 led to a new perspective on the novel’s narrative structure. Brian Armstrong discussed the insight he gained into empathy in both Crime and Punishment, Part 4 and The Double through the intensely close scrutiny tweet mining requires. Jennifer Wilson’s mining of the scandal scene in Part 5 led to her reflection on social status and projection, and how pain, humiliation and suffering impact them. And my experience mining Part 6 and the epilogues led to a new realization on my part about timing in the novel. The blog post you’re reading serves as the project’s final, final note: one last reflection on what we’ve learned from @RodionTweets.

Of course, the first thing we, as literary scholars, noticed was that twitterifying Dostoevsky raised a number of questions that made us see the novel’s narration and themes in a new light. You’ll notice this from the blog post topics above. We began, however, with a basic question: how do you break a novel that’s narrated in the 3rd person down into tweets in the first person? Where does the narrator’s voice go? The switch from 3rd person narration to 1st reverses Dostoevsky’s own narrative switch from the 1st person he originally planned on to the 3rd person the novel ended up with.

Rodiontweets-end-3One of the conceits of the project is that Raskolnikov tweets as if he keeps a constant feed of everything that goes through his head. This, of course, means that the account presupposes that no one else from the novel world is reading it. For example, Raskolnikov live tweets the murder on @RodionTweets, and if Porfiry Petrovich were to read this in his Twitter feed, the novel would likely have been much, much shorter! – although this point is well taken. This style also renders @RodionTweets more like those Dostoevsky protagonists who monologue or write zapiski and less like most (active) twitter users, who may do this kind of live-tweeting some of the time, but not all of the time. Furthermore, as we mined the novel’s text for tweets, thinking critically about what would be omitted from the twitter narrative and what would be emphasized, as well as what Raskolnikov would be tweeting about, we created a feed that both captures the novel’s tone and renders the work more real-feeling, or, at least, more contemporary.

This contemporaneity was a really unexpected yet rewarding result of @RodionTweets. Beyond the experience of Raskolnikov’s tweets periodically appearing in his followers’ twitter feeds, the serendipity of their timing or placement allowed for connections to be drawn between followers’ lived experiences and Dostoevsky’s novel. Followers remarked on the eeriness of @RodionTweets juxtaposed with twitter updates about the Turkish coup attempt or the odd resonance between @RodionTweets and the mood of many in post-Brexit Britain. One of the strangest coincidences was that Raskolnikov’s monologue leading to his confession took place at the same time as Trump’s speech at the RNC in Cleveland on July 21, prompting a flood of comments from followers experiencing the two feeds – RNC live tweeters and @RodionTweets – together; here are a few examples. While unintended when we conceived the project, these juxtapositions highlight the power of Dostoevsky’s novel and speak to the relevance of his hero’s psychology for the present.

The project, though, was not all serious. Beyond the geopolitical resonances and the literary analysis, it is a project based in Twitter, a medium that’s equally political squabbling and entertaining puns, jokes, and sarcasm. The spirit of the project is one part Dostoevsky, one part Twitterature, and it also encompasses @RodionTweets’s love of strange hashtags and sublime Twitter moments such as a Dostoevsky account interacting with his creation or a Shostakovich account liking some of @RodionTweets’s tweets. Or this, my favorite follower interaction with the account, which continues to crack me up nearly two years later.

So what now? We have archived the project here: @RodionTweets, parts 1-3; @RodionTweets, parts 4-6 + epilogues. The archives are complete and tweets within them appear in chronological order (so you can read them alongside the book). They have already been used in the classroom by some. Professors assign students to read part of the novel alongside the corresponding tweets and then discuss, or to generate their own tweets from a different character’s perspective (this last idea is an assignment Kate Holland has implemented in her Dostoevsky class). If you are using the project in your class, please let me know!

Rodiontweets-end-4

At the end of my blog post about tweeting Part 6, I concluded by saying that the epilogues on Twitter would be spread across 18 months and then Raskolnikov would fade away. Now, though, I think that statement needs some revising. The spring of 2018 feels far removed in many ways from the summer of 2016. Much has happened since then. But I think the drawn-out nature of the epilogue, and Raskolnikov sporadically appearing in our feeds, has perhaps made it seem more like he is one of us – a Twitter user who is sometimes active (the conceit being he somehow manages to get online from his Siberian prison camp…), but more often not. And perhaps this silence is simply because his life is full and he hasn’t got time for social media. In this sense, although @RodionTweets has gone quiet, I hope he is not forgotten, but lingers on as part of our network, somewhere on the edge of our consciousness.


Katherine Bowers is Assistant Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is working on a book about the influence of gothic fiction on Russian realism and tweets about Russian lit and other things on @kab3d. She also edits Bloggers Karamazov and curates the North American Dostoevsky Society’s social media.

This post has been cross-posted on All the Russias, the blog of the NYU Jordan Center.