Crime, Punishment, and Kanye West

by Caroline Lemak Brickman

The following blog post emerged from a roundtable on “Teaching Dostoevsky in the 21st Century” organized by Daniel Brooks at the 2019 AATSEEL conference in New Orleans. This is the third in a series of posts by roundtable participants. The first post can be found here and the second here.

Last summer I taught a freshman composition course devoted to Crime and Punishment and Kanye West’s later albums.

The idea for the course came from a story someone told me about reading her students’ course evaluations at the end of the semester and seeing that one of them had written, “I wish we had read more stuff like Crime and Punishment.”

“But there is nothing else like Crime and Punishment,” she said to me, somewhat indignantly; “it’s the only book of its kind! What else should I have put on the syllabus for him – Turgenev? Nietzsche? John LeCarré?”

Much later I was listening to Kanye’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and trying to write about the way one of his verses models intoxicated temporality almost in the terms of a trolley-problem philosophical quandary. I was thinking about whether it was uncommon for rap to weave philosophy into a verse about getting trashed, and that exchange with my colleague came back to me. Could this album be the “more stuff like Crime and Punishment” her student had wanted?

The more I thought about it the truer it seemed, that Kanye was the Dostoevsky of our time. Both artists are politically conservative, vocally Christian, renowned for their virtuosic literary innovations, unrelenting in their critiques of the criminal justice system and the institutions of medicine and mental health, and (though this claim is controversial) unexpectedly and radically feminist, especially with regard to sex work. Both are obsessed with whether one man might become so great that he has total permission to do anything, because total power – and both are obsessed with what the personal price for such greatness may be. To my mind, though, their most significant similarity lies in their passionate commitment to the kind of critique that is only possible in literature: the repeated subjecting of persons and ideas to the ironized whims of narrative, or the punch of a perfect rhyme at the end of a verse.

I started the course with Crime and Punishment and halfway through the novel we began listening to Kanye, and analyzing his lyrics and sound together. The first song I assigned had a very specific thematic connection to the novel: we had just read Part IV, section 4 (Raskolnikov and Sonya; the raising of Lazarus), and I asked my students if they thought this was the beginning of a love plot.

“No,” one said, “I know she’s a prostitute, but I don’t think she’s going to want to be with him – I mean, he’s a murderer.”

There was general agreement among the class that in selecting a delusional criminal without a kopeck to his name as the novel’s protagonist, Dostoevsky had effectively carved out a class of citizen that even a sex worker might reasonably turn down. I cued up Kanye’s track “Hell of a Life” and asked my students to focus on the second verse, which features an exchange between a porn star for hire and a frustrated john:

Tell me what I gotta do to be that guy

[She] said her price go down, [if] she ever fuck a black guy

They zeroed in immediately on the crafty device of using a second-class citizen to voice the social unworthiness of another – figured not in terms of what price he can’t afford, but instead in terms of the effect their affair would have on her value.

The unlikely overlap between Kanye’s and Dostoevsky’s sexual politics – and the relation of those politics to each artist’s broader social critique – interested the class. In response to a comparative assignment, one student found moments in each corpus where a male speaker accuses the female object of his desire of being a sinner. Upon close analysis of both passages, she concluded that in each case the man is actually sinning, and projecting his guilt onto the woman. She finished her paper by arguing: “in the contexts of each moment, ‘sin’ becomes a mere buzzword of sorts, and is utilized simply as a tool to commit the horrific misogyny present.”

In response to the same assignment, another student compared Svidrigailov’s comment that he’s “going to America” right before he kills himself to Kanye’s song “Who Will Survive in America,” concluding that “America” indexes a kind of death or even hell in each passage. I found both of these essays remarkable because they used close literary analysis to get at a truth (or at least a trusim) about the way language works in the world: “sin” is a dogwhistle for masked misogyny at work; America is hell for some people.

As the end of the semester approached, we had a class discussion about Dostoevsky’s religious faith and crisis playing out not only thematically but also narratively, shifting between “godlike” omniscience and more subjective modes of knowledge. In response to this discussion, one student wrote a paper about “Ultralight Beam” – a Kanye song which takes faith in God as its explicit subject matter – in terms of its production. The argument was that – remarkably, for the opening track on a much-awaited album, – Kanye never actually raps a verse on “Ultralight Beam,” taking the more “godlike” role of producer, and “benevolently” offering the stage to others. The student concluded: “Yet for a song that directs the spotlight away from Kanye, his production value leaves his signature all over the song. For his influence to be felt without having to rap at all shows the level of power he has reached: perhaps he really is omnipotent.”


Caroline Lemak Brickman is a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UC Berkeley, completing a dissertation on twentieth-century Russian lyric and Greek myth. She is currently teaching in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh. The course discussed in this article was taught at Berkeley.

This post originally appeared on All the Russias Blog on 11 March 2019. It appears here with the permission of both its author and the All the Russias Blog editor.

The Incels and the Injured: Dostoevsky Against Toxic Masculinities

by Daniel Brooks

The following blog post emerged from a roundtable on “Teaching Dostoevsky in the 21st Century” organized by Daniel Brooks at the 2019 AATSEEL conference in New Orleans. This is the second in a series of posts by roundtable participants. The first in the series can be found here.

No shortage of contemporary horrors were prophesied by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s works: The Brothers Karamazov presages totalitarianism; Demons—terrorism; Diary of a Writer, the author’s ongoing, raw, dialogic polemic—Twitter. Although the author’s shorter, less ambitious texts are rarely accorded such powers of prognostication, few of his writings seem more urgent than the modest novella The Eternal Husband, which presents an object lesson in the toxicity of modern masculinity and homosocial desire.

The plot of The Eternal Husband is simple; its characters less so. Velchaninov, a preening, self-deluded cad, was once involved with the now-deceased wife of Trusotsky, whose daughter, Liza is likely the product of this adulterous affair. Liza’s abuse at Trusotsky’s hands suggests his shameful knowledge of her true parentage; she dies under another person’s care. The widower Trusotsky, eager to remarry, strangely asks Velchaninov to approve of his would-be fianceé. After a night of drinking, Velchaninov awakens to find Trusotsky standing over him with a knife; Velchaninov subdues him, although Trusotsky quietly leaves of own accord next morning. The epilogue finds the two characters repeating the same patterns years later: Trusotsky is married to a woman with a wandering eye, and Velchaninov is on the prowl.

It is the discourse through which this adultery plot is refracted that resonates with our time, and makes The Eternal Husband ripe for discussion. Velchaninov coins the term “eternal husband” to characterize Trusotsky, a perennial cuckold before Velchaninov’s more virile type. With this phrase, Dostoevsky permits his character an idiosyncratic revision of critic Apollon Grigor’ev’s “peacable” (смирный) and “predatory” (хищный) Russian types. The more sexual nature of Velchaninov’s conceptual binary, coupled with his disdain for the women who “bedevil” him, portends modern online communities that trade in gendered male grievance: from Subreddits lambasting those who have been “blue-pilled” (cowed into accepting an unwarranted equality between genders) and lauding those who have been “red-pilled” (steeled against feminism’s insidious evils); to the devotees of Jordan Peterson, who bemoans the worship of “feminine chaos” and celebrates the promotion of “masculine order.” Velchaninov all but proclaims himself an “alpha” and Trusotsky (whose surname tellingly contains the root трус, coward) a “beta”; his coined phrase conceals the disdain expressed quite openly in “cuck,” the alt-right’s preferred epithet.

The passive fatalism suggested by the adjective in “eternal husband” has its echo in the now-ubiquitous term “incel” (a contraction of involuntarily celibate). Notwithstanding its more complex origins, the label has recently been appropriated by misogynist terrorist Alek Minassian, who on April 23, 2018 drove a truck into a Toronto crowd in order to murder women, foment an “incel rebellion,” and spite his alpha superiors—in much the same way that Trusotsky expresses anger at his unfaithful wife and her lover by abusing their daughter. Such violence by “betas” receives more nuance than its victims do: pickup artists claim that training in aggressive, misogynist courting rituals would have garnered incel terrorists sexual partners and relieved their murderous sense of failure; Jordan Peterson claims that their acts represent rebellion against a stingy god, and that society has an obligation to publicly shame the inversely promiscuous women who would deprive these violent men of a rage-soothing mate.

Dostoevsky’s text presents an additional pedagogical challenge in that it is focalized through Velchaninov’s “alpha” point of view. (The penultimate chapter is fittingly titled Анализ, Analysis, expressing the protagonist’s overweening assumption—à la Peterson—that he is the “logical,” “rational” actor in the story, telling hard truths about gender and society.) Trusotsky—by turns pathetic, revolting, and seriocomic—seems a difficult read to Velchaninov (and, perhaps, us). Yet he is not the aporia he seems, and Velchaninov’s puzzlement at Trusotsky’s actions is itself telling of modern-day homosociality’s lacunae.

Via Trusotsky’s seemingly contradictory actions, Dostoevsky’s text repeatedly suggests that the binary hierarchies which structure Velchaninov’s views—and those of Peterson, the “cuck”-obsessed alt-right, and the resultant Venn diagram between them—are flawed. In fact, the text’s twisted romantic dynamic reveals their fallbility. Renowned literary critic René Girard applied his theory of mimetic desire to a number of Dostoevsky’s works, demonstrating that his characters perform desires that have been previously exhibited—and thus preemptively sanctioned—by a third party. Desire becomes contingent rather than direct, expressed by a series of imitative moves that, in practice, destabilize the absolute hierarchy on which Velchaninov’s binary rests. When Trusotsky timidly requests his rival’s approval of his would-be bride, he seems a beta to Velchaninov’s alpha. But doesn’t Velchaninov’s perennial pursuit of married women reveal the same insecure need for prior approval? Isn’t Velchaninov’s incipient desire (“jealous, envious” according to the narrator) for Liza’s affection a sign of how easily Trusotsky turns his hated competitor into an obsequious imitator? Trusotsky’s actions might seem illegible to Velchaninov, but the former’s repeated usurpation of the latter’s dominant position speaks to how readily their fates can be reversed. Why learn pickup artistry and become an alpha if mimetic desire makes cucks of us regardless?

In the novella’s epilogue, Trusotsky abruptly, sorrowfully invokes Liza’s name. The girl has gone all but unmentioned in the chapters since her death—reflecting, at once, her true meaninglessness for Velchaninov and her status as the inscrutable Trusotsky’s secret shame. Dostoevsky asks us to remember Liza’s name in a world where she is treated as an empty object, the collateral damage in a war of revanchist homosocial desire. Trusotsky is not redeemed by his regret, but nor is Velchaninov’s narratively privileged perspective allowed to escape unscathed. In remembering the victim, exploding an untenable hierarchy, and undermining the bad-faith actor who forgets the former and promotes the latter, Dostoevsky presents an antidote to misguided, destructive expressions of sexual desire and competitive masculinity. Anne Dwyer has recently suggested that Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolitacaptures something that is wrong with the time and place in which we live,” and that wresting these wrong things from a novel narrated by a charismatic abuser remains a vital teaching and reading exercise; might not we say the same of The Eternal Husband?


Daniel Brooks teaches Russian language and literature at Franklin & Marshall College. His current research focuses on twentieth-century Russian auto/biography, memoir, and literary criticism. He thinks that, in the 21st century, Dostoevsky would be an Extremely Online individual.

For an explanation of the cover image, click here.

Messy Things Betwixt and Between

by Amy Ronner

The following blog post emerged from a roundtable on “Teaching Dostoevsky in the 21st Century” organized by Daniel Brooks at the 2019 AATSEEL conference in New Orleans. This is the first in a series of posts by roundtable participants. 

With my PhD in literature, I began my first career teaching at the University of Michigan and then at University of Miami.  It is not surprising that when I became a law professor, I instinctively integrated literature – – especially Dostoevsky – – into my classes: the obvious course is criminal procedure and one not-so-obvious is Wills and Trusts.

Because I have practiced law, I have seen what can potentially hobble a lawyer: namely, her insistence that things be tidy and fall within set parameters of unyielding doctrines. In fact, fledgling law students tend to apotheosize the legal system and expect it to bestow order and absolute certainty. Golyadkin, as law professor, tends to jolt these soon-to-be lawyers out of this stultifying mindset.  But what is that nexus between Dostoevsky’s The Double and Wills and Trusts?

After the publication of my article, “Does Golyadkin Really Have a Double: Dostoevsky Debunks our Mental Capacity Doctrine,” Capital University Law Review. 40 (2012), p. 195, Harvard Law Professor Robert H. Sitkoff referenced it in his popular text book, Wills, Trusts, and Estates (New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2016).  The article, along with Sitkoff’s nod, gave me to idea to invite Professor(s?) Golyadkin to teach a unit in Wills and Trusts.

One unit in Wills and Trusts is about will contests where individuals seek to invalidate a testamentary document by arguing lack of mental capacity or insane delusion.  These cases involve people who contest wills because they feel that they have been unfairly omitted or slighted. (“Damn it, mom left my good-for-nothing brother more!” “Dad left that step mother, the witch, everything!”).  There are lots of cases like this and they are unsettling. In them, challengers argue that the wills are invalid because the testators have no basis to believe for example that one son was plotting murder, or that spouses were cheating, or that DEA agents were secretly monitoring their lives. When courts invalidate wills by finding that the beliefs behind them are the product of insane delusions, my students typically have a fit: how does that judge know that Smith’s son wasn’t trying to kill him?  How do the jurors know that Honigman’s wife was not smooching with Krauss behind the shrubbery?  How in the world can a jury find that DEA Agents weren’t monitoring Breeden’s life when it turned out that one of his friends was indeed such an agent?  As one student once succinctly put it, “these cases suck.”

In steps Golyadkin.  Despite the many debates over The Double commentators tend to concede that with respect to “hero” Golyadkin that they are never certain what is really happening and what is hallucination.  As Deborah Martinsen once put it, there is “narrative ambiguity around [the Double’s] objective existence.” (“Introduction” in Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories (New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003)). Drawing on my article, I created a class exercise where we read The Double and make Golyadkin a testator in a will contest, one who is charged with having insane delusions.  The students are asked to answer the question, how should a court rule?  In most states, a delusion is not insane if there is any factual basis for it.  Does our Golyadkin walk away with a clean bill of health or an insane delusion diagnosis?

The most aberrant event in Golyadkin’s life is his encounter with the Double and even that is not implausible.  In real life, such a thing happens.  Accounts of identical twins separated at birth who suddenly meet for the first time are plentiful.  In fact, Anton Antonovich even mentions that very phenomenon to Golyadkin: “[D]on’t you worry.  It’s a thing that does happen. Do you know, I must tell you this, the very same thing occurred to an aunt of mine on my mother’s side.  She saw her own spitting image before she died.” And incidentally, CNN has been redundantly pounding it into our heads that Golyadkins can even triplicate.

As in will contests, in The Double, there is conflicting testimony.  Petrushka, for example, takes two coats and serves two meals.  He confuses Golyadkin with his Double and even quits because “nice people don’t have doubles.”  In rebuttal, however, Petrushka, corroborating the contention that the Double is imagined, considers the task of taking Golyadkin’s letter to the Double to be a joke and claims that both Golyadkins have the same address.  Witness Anton Antonovich also speaks to both sides.  After being pressed, he at first admits that he detects only a slight “family resemblance” between the two Golyadkins and then suddenly anoints them two veritable clones: “Yes. Quite right. Really, the resemblance is amazing, and you’re perfectly correct – – you could be taken for one another . . . Do you know, it’s a wonderful – – it’s a fantastic likeness, as they sometimes say.  He’s you exactly.”

My Wills and Trusts students can never reach anything close to consensus.  But they come to realize that the debate and discomfort that The Double engenders replicate the reaction  that they and legal scholars have with respect to mental capacity case law.  Moreover, there are students courageous enough and willing to push further to consider whether it is even worthwhile to relentlessly adhere to the belief in the existence of an objective truth.  That is an uncomfortable place to go: it is the land of messy things betwixt and between, but for lawyers the very act of going there is quite salutary.


Amy D. Ronner, who holds both a law degree and an M.A. and Ph.D in literature, is a Professor Emeritus of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law, where she taught Constitutional Law, Wills and Trusts, Sexual Identity and the Law, and Criminal Procedure. She is the author of five books, including Dostoevsky and the Law (2015) and Law, Literature, and Therapeutic Jurisprudence (2010).

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

Dostoevsky Panels and Papers at AATSEEL 2018!

AATSEEL is just around the corner!

As always, there’s lots to see, but make sure to carve out time in your schedule for Fyodor Mikhailovich. Here is a list of the papers and panels on Dostoevsky (including time, location, and who’s presenting). See you there!

(List compiled by Greta Matzner-Gore, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California)

 

Friday, February 2

8:00-10:00 AM

 

Stream 3A: Mimesis in Russian Art and Aesthetic Theory (I)

Location: Declaration B

Panelist: S. Ceilidh Orr, Willamette University

Title: “Zachem eto u nas ne odinakovyi pocherk?”: Imitation and alienation in Dostoevsky’s copyist fiction

 

Saturday, February 3

8:00-10:00 AM

 

Stream 1B: Tolstoevsky: Dostoevsky and Internality

Location: Declaration A

Panelist: Brian Armstrong, Augusta University

Title: Undomesticating the Sublime in The Idiot

Panelist: Paul Contino, Pepperdine University

Title: Alyosha and Kolya: The Recovery of Internality in The Brothers Karamazov

Panelist: Yuri Corrigan, Boston University

Title: Transgression and Obedience: Dostoevsky on Evil, Before and After Auschwitz

 

1:15-3:00 pm

Stream 4B: Translation (II): Translation and Diaspora: Poetics of Translation

Location: Penn Quarter A

Panelist: Eugenia Kelbert, School of Philology, Higher School of Economics

Title: Translating Style: Dostoevsky in Emigration

3:15-5:00pm

Stream 1B: Tolstoevsky (III): Tolstoy and Dostoevsky: Religion and Literature

Location: Declaration A

Panelist: Jimmy Sudario Cabral

Title: Dostoevsky: Religion, Nihilism, and Negative Theology 

Panelist: Jesse Stavis, Bryn Mawr College

Title: The Prince and the Pauper: Resurrection, Crime and Punishment, and the Question of Conversion

Panelist: Maxwell Parlin, Princeton University

Title: Three Levs Nikolaevich: Tolstoy, Myshkin, Odoevtsev. Andrei Bitov’s Pushkin House as Commentary to Dostoevsky’s The Idiot

 

Russian Modernist Discourse and Perspectives

Location: Latrobe

Panelist: Lindsay Ceballos, Lafayette College

Title: De-Monologizing Early Symbolist Discourse on Dostoevsky

Sunday, February 4

8:00-10:00am

North American Dostoevsky Society

Location: Tiber Creek A

Panelist: Erica Drennan, Columbia University

Title: To America or Siberia? Binaries and Porous Boundaries in Crime and Punishment 

Panelist: Molly Rose Avila, Columbia University

Title: A Calligraphic Gaze

10:15am-12:00pm

Dostoevsky: Texts and Contexts

Location: Banneker

Panelist: Vladimir Ivantsov, Williams College

Title: “Awfully Fond of Children”: Children and the Exit from the Underground in Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground

Panelist: Saera Yoon, UNIST

Title: Another Loveless Father: Grigory in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov

Panelist: Maria Whittle, University of California Berkeley

Title: Still Dreaming: Spatiotemporal Practice in Dostoevskii’s Belye Nochi

 

Heading to AATSEEL this weekend? Check out these Dostoevsky panels and papers!

emilfilla_readerofdostoevskyx3We’re excited to host one of the new AATSEEL panel streams at the conference in San Francisco this weekend! Check it out for a diverse group of papers and roundtable discussions on Dostoevsky, his works, and the state of Dostoevsky studies. It’s called DOSTOEVSKY. And here’s the full line-up of Dostoevsky papers and panels … we’re looking forward to it!

Friday:

8am: our Dostoevsky Stream A panel: “Dostoevsky and the Law” in Powell II featuring papers by Gary Rosenshield (Raskolnikov, Lawgivers, and the Law), Richard Weisberg (Judicial Error, Novelistic Stress), and Erica Drennan (Miusov v. Monastery: The Other Trial in The Brothers Karamazov), discussion by Susan McReynolds and Amy Ronner

8am: on the “Mimesis in Russian Art and Aesthetic Theory” stream panel A in Stockton: Ilya Kliger presenting on “Imitating Pathos: Tragic Incorporation in Belinsky, Grigoriev and Dostoevsky.”

10am: on the “The Alchemy of Allusion” panel in Davidson: 2 papers. Irina Erman presents “The Specter of Achilles and the Spectacle of Svidrigailov’s Suicide in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment” and Sidney Dement presents “Realizing the Future of Allusion: Dostoevsky Interprets Opekushin”

4:30pm: on the “19th-century Russian Women Prose Writers” panel in Cyril Magnin III: Anna Berman on “Plotting the Family and Failed Marriage Plots”

4:30pm: the panel 4-5 “Dostoevsky’s Ethics and Aesthetics” in Cyril Magnin I includes papers from: Thomas Dyne (“Знаю, что и вы обо мне там думаете”: the ethics of realism in Dostoevsky’s Bednye liudi), Giulia Dossi and Matylda Figlerowicz (Language as a metaphor for the human condition in Dostoevsky’s The House of the Dead and Eva Kantürkova’s My companions from the Bleak House), Alexei Pavlenko (Dostoevsky’s Heretical Christology), and Alina Wyman (Helpless Love in the Context of Revaluation of Values: Dostoevsky’s Frustrated Dreamers).

Saturday:

8am: our Dostoevsky Stream B panel in Fillmore with papers by Kathleen Scollins (Pronouncing the “New Word”: the Bronze Horseman Subtext of Crime and Punishment) and Katie Lane (The Art of Literary Creation in The Brothers Karamazov) and discussion by Robin Feuer Miller

8am: on the “Mimesis in Russian Art and Aesthetic Theory” stream panel B in Divisadero: Anastassia Kostrioukova on “Mimetic Art and Medicine: The Ill Body as a Challenge to Claims to Truth in Late 19th Century Russian Realism and Medical Knowledge”

3:15pm: on the “Silver Age Perspectives on the Golden Age” panel in Cyril Magnin I: Lindsey Ceballos on “Merezhkovskii’s Dostoevskian Response to Tolstoyan Death in “Smert’”

5:15pm: our Dostoevsky Stream C panel “Teaching Dostoevsky outside a Traditional Slavic Department” in Davidson: with Susan McReynolds, Katherine Bowers, Flavio Ricardo Vassoler do Canto, and Richard Weisberg.

Sunday:

9am: on the panel “Gogol and Dostoevsky” in Mission II: Irena Avsenik Nabergoj on “The “Ridiculous Jew” in Gogol, Dostoevsky and Cankar”


As always, you can join the discussion on Twitter – we’ll be live-tweeting on @DostoevskySoc and using the #AATSEEL2017 hashtag!

2016 AATSEEL and MLA Panels

MLA Dostoevsky Panels and Papers

MLA Dostoevsky Panel: Reading Dostoevsky, Dostoevsky Reading

Saturday, January 9, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 202, JW Marriott

Chair: Katia Bowers (University of British Columbia) (Dr. Bowers will be unable to attend)

Panelist: Brian Armstrong (Augusta University)

  • Title: Rereading Nietzsche Reading Dostoevsky: Guilt Is Good

Panelist: Alexander Burry (Ohio State University)

  • Title: Reconstructing Dostoevsky’s Reading of Pushkin: ‘Cold Winds Still Blow’ as Key to Rebellion in The Brothers Karamazov

Panelist: Susan McReynolds (Northwestern University)

  • Title: Guilt and Punishment: Reading Dostoevsky through Kafka

Cate Reilly (Princeton University) will also be presenting on Dostoevsky as part of the “Fort-Da: Contested Legacies of Psychoanalysis in Russia” panel, which was organized by NADS member Emma Lieber (Rutgers University). Information can be found on the panel website.

AATSEEL Dostoevsky Panels

Panel: Dostoevsky and Addiction

Friday, January 8, 10:30am-12:15pm

Organizer and Chair: Justin Trifiro (University of Southern California)

Panelist: Lonny Harrison (University of Texas at Arlington)

  • Title: The Suffering Games: De Quincean Prodigality and Self-Production in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Igrok

Panelist: Victoria Juharyan (Princeton University)

  • Title: Between Humility and Humiliation: Love as Freedom and Love as Addiction in Dostoevsky

Discussants: Robin Feuer Miller (Brandeis University) and Donna Tussing Orwin (University of Toronto)

Texts and Contexts: Tolstoy and Dostoevsky

Friday, January 8, 4:30-6:30pm

Chair: Jennie Wojtusik (University of Texas-Austin)

Panelist: Soelve Curdts (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)

  • Title: ‘Borodino is the word that comes to me in my sleep’: Coetzee reads Tolstoy and Dostoevsky

Panelist: Rebecca Bostock-Holtzman (The Ohio State University)

  • Title: Chronic Issues: Spatial/Temporal Manipulation in The Death of Ivan Ilych

Panelist: Michael Marsh-Soloway (University of Virginia)

  • Title: Dostoevsky and the Natural Philosophy of Classical Antiquity

Panelist: Alexei Pavlenko (Colorado College)

  • Title: The Higher Stakes

Panel: The Subjectivity of the Novel: The Case of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot

Saturday, January 9, 1:15-3:00pm

Organizer and Chair: Irina Paperno (University of California – Berkeley)

Panelist: Brian Egdorf (University of California – Berkeley)

  • Title: Narrative and the Mind: Epilepsy in The Idiot

Panelist: Kathryn Pribble (University of California – Berkeley)

  • Title: Hero as Author: Unethical Narrating in The Idiot

Panelist: Ernest Artiz (University of California – Berkeley)

  • Title: Slipping Destiny: The Allegoric Unraveling of Narrative in The Idiot

Discussants: Caryl Emerson (Princeton University) and Alex Spektor (The University of Georgia – Athens)

Panel: The North American Dostoevsky Society

Saturday, January 9, 5:15-7:00pm

Organizer: Carol Apollonio (Duke University)

Chair: Eric Naiman (University of California – Berkeley)

Panelist: Katia Bowers (University of British Columbia) (Dr. Bowers will be unable to attend)

  • Title: Dostoevsky’s Gothic Autobiography: Anxiety and Terrible Tableaux in The Idiot

Panelist: Jennifer Flaherty (University of California – Berkeley)

  • Title: The Peasant in Dostoevsky’s Zapiski iz mertvogo doma and “Muzhik Marei”

Panelist: Anna Berman (McGill University)

  • Title: Dostoevsky and the Family Novel

Discussant: Vadim Shkolnikov (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Texts and Contexts: Dostoevsky

Sunday, January 10, 12:00-2:00pm

Chair: Victoria Juharyan (Princeton University)

Panelist: Lisa Woodson, University of New Mexico

  • Title: Job in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov

Panelist: Alina Wyman (New College of Florida)

  • Title: Between Empathy and Ressentiment: Ivan Karamazov’s Social Dilemma

Panelist: Elizabeth Blake (Saint Louis University)

  • Title: Fedor Dostoevsky’s Authoring and Editing of Notes from House of the Dead: An Ongoing Dialogue with Fellow Former Political Exiles

Panelist: Chen Zhang (Ohio State University)

  • Title: “Can’t You Cut Pages with a Garden Knife?”: Rogozhin’s Destruction that Derives from His Pursuit of Enlightenment