Dostoevsky: Crime, Punishment, and the Mysterious Russian Soul with Vladimir Ivanov

Dostoevsky: Crime, Punishment, and the Mysterious Russian Soul with Vladimir Ivanov


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No other figure in world literature came closer to understanding the depths of the human soul than Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-81). Born to poor parents, he was exiled as a young man to Siberia for liberal and atheistic thinking (a significant crime in the times of the tsars) and ended up becoming both one of the greatest novelists and also an incorrigible Russophile and ultraconservative Orthodox believer. "Crime and Punishment" is a turning point from where this sudden change in mind began.

This literary classic is set in the dirtiest and poorest area of slums and tenements in the very heart of imperial St Petersburg, in the decade following the emancipation of serfs in 1861. In this conversation, we will follow the protagonist of the novel, the student Raskolnikov, on his way to murder two innocent women. We will learn how Dostoevsky's text reflects the profound social processes of his time as well as philosophical issues discussed by other Russian authors, such as Pushkin and Gogol. Reading small pieces from this "ultimate St Petersburg novel", we will discover the peculiarities of the language of Dostoevsky who wraps psychoanalytical and spiritual parables in the form of a breathtaking detective (one of the first literature authors to do such a thing).

Led by St Petersburg linguist and art historian Vladimir Ivanov this seminar aims at making an introduction to the literary world Dostoevsky and “Crime and Punishment”, his major novel about St. Petersburg. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of the golden age of Russian literature and places in St Petersburg connected with Dostoevsky and his characters.

Holding an MA in Classics, Vladimir is an author of a book called “Inspired by outer space: images of the future in late Soviet architecture” and a key contributor to TASCHEN's edition "CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed". Vladimir has written articles on contemporary art for local media, done podcasts on photography and the Russian revolution. He has also curated a number of exhibitions, including "The Cradle of the Faith: Christian Presence in the Middle East" in New Michael Palace and "Lingua Sacra" in the Imperial Public Library. Currently, he is doing architectural walks in St Petersburg and shares his vast knowledge of arts through the tours of the Hermitage and Russian museums.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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A Unique Way to Look at St Petersburg

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A Unique Way to Look at St Petersburg