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Marking the Bicentenary of Dostoevsky’s Birth – A talk by V. Dimitriev (in Russian): On the Structure of the Idea in Dostoevsky’s Works

Thursday 4 November, 2021, 19:00 - 21:00

Dr Dimitriev’s lecture will examine the hallmark of Dostoevsky’s plot construction in his later works: the action in Dostoevsky’s novels develops in such a way that the fate and character of any given protagonist may alter significantly without exhaustive explanation in the plot. The shift in Raskolnikov’s outlook, Stavrogin’s sufferings after his crime against Matryosha or the character development of Arkady Dolgoruky as he comes of age are not sufficiently motivated by any particular plot developments. An analysis of the manuscript history reveals the unfolding complexity of the grounding of protagonists’ motivations in the plot: the passages removed from the novels’ preparatory materials are precisely those which might have rendered possible an unambiguous psychological or moral underpinning of a protagonist’s actions. As will be demonstrated in Dr Dimitriev’s lecture, this distinctive feature is also linked to the structure of the idea in Dostoevsky’s novels. In Dr Dimitriev’s view, it is not that the protagonists become the servants of ideas in Dostoevsky’s texts, but rather it would be more accurate to say that particular stages in the lives of the protagonists create particular forms of the idea. It is the changing character of ideas, and their dependence on particular moments in the lives of the protagonists, that renders possible that ambiguity of plot which is so important to the writer.

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session. Live gist translation into English will be provided in the Zoom chat.

WHEN: Thursday 4 November, 19:00
LANGUAGE: Russian (with live gist translation into English via the Zoom chat)

FEE: Voluntary donation*

Please REGISTER in advance (with your name and email address). After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with a Zoom joining link.

About the speaker

Dr Victor Dimitriev (born 1989) holds the degree of Candidate of Sciences (PhD) in Philology. He is a Junior Research Fellow and member of the Dostoevsky Group at the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House), Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg and a Senior Lecturer at the St Petersburg campus of the Higher School of Economics (HSE) University.

* While there is no charge for our online events, CamRuSS would welcome any donations towards the support of our volunteers’ efforts during this time.
Suggested donation £5-£10. 
All money raised by CamRuSS from membership fees & donations goes towards organising events, supporting community projects, and essential technical and administrative costs.
You can send your donations via:
– a direct bank transfer (BACS) to the following account:
The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society
NatWest Bank, Sort Code: 60-11-30, Account: 25395637
PayPal to the following email address: camruss@camruss.com

Victor has kindly shared his presentation slides with us. You can find the download link (PDF format) below the preview.

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Thursday 4 November, 2021
19:00 - 21:00
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