In Search of the Russian Soul: Dostoevsky’s Idiot
Considered to be the most “Russian”
of Russian writers, Fyodor Dostoevsky
remains extremely popular in the
West. When Dostoevsky died in 1881,
he left behind a literary legacy that
has inspired and influenced Western
writers, philosophers, psychologists
and artists. His writing probes the
innermost recesses of the human
psyche and manages to lay bare the
paradoxes of human existence. We
will read The Idiot (1869) and explore
the stakes of Dostoevsky’s problematic “intention to portray a truly
beautiful soul.” Prince Myshkin, the novel’s protagonist, is a
Russian Holy Fool, a descendant of Don Quixote and a Christ figure
in a thoroughly un-Christian world. Through a close reading of the
novel, we will examine how The Idiot reflects Dostoevsky’s obsession
with the complexities of leading a good life, the clash between the
good and the real world, and the possibilities of redemption in a
fundamentally flawed and morally degraded world.
“They call me a psychologist… that is not true. I’m
only a realist in
higher sense; that is, I portray all
the depths of the human soul.”
Julia Zarankin received her PhD
from Princeton University and
taught Russian literature at
Stanford and the University of
Missouri. Ever since encountering
Dostoevsky’s work in high school,
Julia has been fascinated by the
way he tackles life’s big questions.
Julia enjoys sharing her passion for
all things Russian and currently
has a busy lecture and teaching
schedule in Toronto. When not
pondering life’s big questions,
Julia works as a writer, editor and
Participants are required to obtain
the specified edition in order to
facilitate the group’s ability to find
and cite portions of the text during
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot,
Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa
Volokhonsky, Vintage (2003)
CAD$1250 includes five weekday morning seminars, lunches, guided art walks, afternoon speakers, five afternoon opera talks with Iain Scott, two receptions, a dinner and movie night, and a broad array of cultural and social activities.
ADDITIONAL THEATRE/CONCERT EXCURSIONS
Add-on Theatre/Concert Performances now available for Thursday evening, July 19, 2012 there are two options for either a Soulpepper Theatre Performance or Concert Performance: Toronto Summer Music Festival.
Soulpepper Theatre Evening
This option is for a Soulpepper Theatre production of The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon. In the historic Distillery District of Toronto. Click here for details.
Concert Performance: Toronto Summer Music Festival
This option is to attend the Toronto Summer Music Festival – a string ensemble performance of Romantic music by the Seoul Spring Festival Ensemble at the exquisite new Koerner Hall, a 10-minute walk from Victoria College. Rick Phillips will be giving a pre-concert talk. Click here for details.
Please let us know by July 1, 2012 which option you will choose as we only have a certain number of tickets on hand otherwise people will need to purchase any tickets on their own.
Also, please note participants who have registered before January 1, 2012 are eligible for a complimentary ticket for either Thursday July 19, 2012 performance providing no other discount has been applied. For those participants registered before January 1, 2012 please contact us by email to confirm your choice of performance.
You are responsible for booking your own accommodation.
Options include both single and double rooms available in Rowell Jackman Hall at Victoria College and the nearby Park Hyatt Hotel.
Victoria College. Book online at http://www.vicu.utoronto.ca/hospitality/SummerAccommodations/ReservationInformation/MakeAReservation.htm, or call 416-585-4524.
- Basic, air-conditioned rooms with shared baths. Includes hot breakfast. All linens provided.
Park Hyatt Hotel, 4-star hotel that is a 5-minute walk from Victoria College.
- Inquire about special rate for Classical Pursuits participants at the nearby Park Hyatt Hotel.
DISCOUNTS – one per registrant
- Participants who have attended Toronto Pursuits at least five times receive a CAD $150 discount.
- Register with a friend, and if one or both are first time participants, each receives a CAD $150 discount.