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Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov: Two Great Russian Novels

Weekend All-Day Lecture/Seminar

Saturday, September 23, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0290
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Anna Karenina by Aleksei Mikhailovich Kolesov, 1885, National Museum in Warsaw

For more than a century, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov have captivated readers with their spellbinding narratives, philosophical brilliance, and insights into human psychology and spirituality. Join Joseph Luzzi, professor of literature at Bard College, as he takes you inside two of the most consequential novels ever written and explores how their insights continue to illuminate our lives today.

10–11 a.m.  A Tale of Two Novelists

Luzzi discusses similarities and differences between Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, with an in-depth analysis of how each revolutionized the novel form.

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.  Anna Karenina: The “Perfect” Novel?

As he interprets Tolstoy’s 1878 masterpiece Anna Karenina, Luzzi pays special attention to how the novel grapples with questions ranging from the role of religion in everyday life to the tensions between love and passion. He discusses the novel’s brilliant depiction of 19th-century Russian social life and how its principles and protocols affect the lives of Anna, Levin, Vronsky, Karenin, and other characters.

12:15–12:45 p.m.  Break

12:45–1:45 p.m.  The Brothers Karamazov: Toward the “Theological” Novel

Delving into the main themes of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, published in 1880, Luzzi explores its groundbreaking treatment of theological issues as well as the novel’s insights into questions of human value, spirituality, and justice.

2–3 p.m.  Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov: In Dialogue

Luzzi highlights similarities and differences in how the two novels consider topics that are essential to the narrative arc and the main concerns of both Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov.

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