The Summer Research Laboratory (SRL) on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia is open to all scholars with research interests in the Russian, East European and Eurasian region for eight weeks during the summer months from June 15 until August 8. The SRL provides scholars access to the resources of the University of Illinois Slavic collection within a flexible time frame where scholars have the opportunity to seek advice and research support from the librarians of the Slavic Reference Service (SRS).
Prof. Harriet Murav will teach the course Dostoevsky (RUSS 322 and RUSS 522). Dostoevsky’s Russia was beset by violent terrorism, political and economic uncertainty, religious fervor, and social experimentation. Dostoevsky grappled with the major questions of the modern era in a boldly experimental style. His characters and his novels debate a range of issues, including, criminality, sexuality, sin, and redemption. Politics and religious and ethnic tension are explicit themes of his works. He was a political radical as a young man, who was sentenced to death for crimes against the government, but was reprieved. By the end of his life he associated with right-wing government figures. He suffered epileptic seizures during which he experienced mystical ecstasy. He described himself as a child of his century, subject to doubt, and yet later proclaimed his belief in the resurrection of the body and eternal life. The Idiot (1869) is Dostoevsky’s portrait of a “wholly good man,” Demons (1871) is the opposite, a portrait of evil. Dostoevsky’s twin explorations of terrorism and capitalism are particularly timely in the early 21st century.
The graduate section, Russian 522, meets with Russian 322, plus an additional hour per week for a separate graduate section. Grad students read the English translation, and as much Russian as is fitting for each student’s level. A set of critical articles sets out the major issues in Dostoevsky studies today—Bakhtin is still relevant.