In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, UCL’s SSEES (School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies) presented the inaugural Dostoevsky Day UK, curated by Vladimir Smith-Mesa.
The event opened on the 11th November 2016 (on the 195th Anniversary of Dostoevsky’s Birth). The screening of the documentary Fyodor Dostoevsky (Kultur International Films) was followed by the premiere of a theatrical monologue Raskolnikov, especially created for our event, by the actor Jonathan Curry. The performance was enigmatic and explored what must be one of Dostoevsky’s best known and yet little understood characters.
The afternoon session started with the introductory talk by Joshua Clayton of Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers, who are based just round the corner on Great Russell Street. The talk, Dostoevsky’s Literary Works & the Antiquarian Book Trade in London, spoke about the arrival and reception of Dostoevsky’s texts in London.
This was followed by the talk David Magarshack, The Real Author of Crime and Punishment? by Cathy McAteer, a PhD research student at University of Bristol. It was fantastic to see a number of academics from a number of universities both attending and participating in the event.
Nigel Arthur of the BFI National Archive gave a talk on some of the main screen adaptations of Dostoevsky’s works . Arthur focused his presentation on the films that will be part of the Barbican special film retrospective in December. As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of Crime and Punishment, The Barbican are running a number of film screenings as part of their Dostoevsky in December series.
The closing event was presented by COSEELIS (Council for Slavonic and EE Library and Information Services) members about materials relating to Dostoevsky in UK libraries, with a focus on Crime and Punishment.
The inaugural Dostoevsky Day UK and the series Dostoevsky in December at the Barbican will surely help to promote Dostoevsky’s life and works in the UK. As a department, SSEES offers a number of literature courses at all levels for students wishing to study Dostoevsky and has a number of specialists. The organisers would like to thank the SSEES library Russian collections and its audiovisual materials, which is one of the largest collections in the UK.
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