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Sawchen Lecture: Dr. Vadim Shneyder, “Dostoevsky’s Capitalist Realism, or, Why Money Does Not Burn in The Idiot ”
Join us on February 10th, 2022 at 12.30pm for the virtual Sawchen Lecture Series, featuring Dr. Vadim Shneyder of UCLA. This event is co-sponsored by the North American Dostoevsky Society as part of their virtual speaker series.

Title: "Dostoevsky’s Capitalist Realism, or, Why Money Does Not Burn in The Idiot"

Abstract: The Russian realist novel played a part in making the concept of the economy thinkable. This talk examines how Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot (1868–9) gave a narratable form to Russia’s nascent capitalist economy in the years after the emancipation of the serfs. Rather than scrupulously documenting observable economic phenomena, the novel condenses the mass of details into an economic subplot featuring a conflict between two types of wealthy characters: modern capitalists and traditional merchants. While the merchants’ wealth is shockingly material and attracts the novel’s attention, the wealth of the capitalists circulates behind the scenes, forming an invisible network that gradually takes over the novel’s world. As the conflict develops, it captures all three of the major characters in its orbit. Even Prince Myshkin, who has traditionally been seen as a being far removed from the financial excesses of 1860s St. Petersburg, is entangled in this economic conflict. Ultimately, the capitalists prosper, their lives extending beyond the novel’s narrative, the merchants are doomed to stasis, sterility, and failure.

Please be advised that this event will be recorded. Attendees will be muted and have video automatically turned off. If you ask a question or otherwise participate in the session, be aware that your name may be visible on the recording. The telephone dial-in option is not available for this webinar. However, the recording will be made available on circle.ubc.ca after the live presentation, which is accessible through the CENES website at cenes.ubc.ca.

Feb 10, 2022 12:30 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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