FEBRUARY 1, 8, 15, 22
6:30 – 8:30 pm
The murder of a student political activist prompted Dostoevsky to write a pamphlet addressing political extremism and violence—what he called the most pressing matter of his time. That work became the novel whose title is variously translated as the Devils, The Possessed, the Demons or The Damned. Considered one of Dostoevsky’s four master works, it explores conflicts among overarching ideals: religious faith, populism, nationalism, Western liberal idealism, materialism, rationalism and nihilism. The novel presents a decadent society on the verge of dissolution and wrestles with perspectives advocating its active disruption and destruction. Despite compelling elements of comic irony, Devils does not offer easy redemption. As we face pronouncements of the “end of America,” dramatic disruptions to politics-as-usual, and ever-present threats of political violence and terrorism, Dostoevsky’s Devils will be timely reading.