In this talk, delivered on March 7th as part of Winter Weekend 2014, Robin Feur Miller discusses Dostoevsky’s Crime & Punishment. She analyzes different readings of the novel and studies it through the lens of Dostoevsky’s own notebooks and letters. Miller is a professor of the humanities at Brandeis University. She teaches and studies the fiction of writers in the nineteenth century, with a focus on Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Dickens.
Miller describes Crime & Punishment as the most tautly structured of Dostoevsky’s novels. Is the novel a tragedy in five acts? Is the epilogue bogus? Does Raskolnikov repent, or only feel shame? Miller argues that our capacities of sympathy and fantasy are taxed when we read the novel. She questions whether this readerly knowledge can render us more capable of making rational, ethical judgments in the real world. Miller discusses the spread of ideas like viruses, “equally contagious and both airborne.”
In this episode we revisit Martin Steingesser’s The Thinking Heart in honor of its inclusion in one of our recent grants. A 2013 grant brought the performance to Bates College, where it was very well received. Here we hear a recording made in 2009 of The Thinking Heart, A Performance in Two Voices with Cello by Martin Steingesser, Judy Tierney and Robin Jellis. The Thinking Heart is an original arrangement of journal and letters written by Etty Hillesum, a Dutch woman who chose to enter a World War II concentration camp in order to be with her people.
Katie Rutherford in front of 'The Lonely Fight' exhibit
Katie Rutherford of the Frannie Peabody Center discusses the creation of ‘The Lonely Fight: a History of AIDS in Maine,’ from the first stages of research to the final reception. She shares the difficulties of tackling a tough subject and the responses that made it worthwhile. ‘The Lonely Fight’ ran from December 1-6, 2013 at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. It was sponsored in part by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council.
In his introduction to this lecture given on March 9, 2013, scholar Charles Calhoun states, “In our own lifetime, I think one of the major events in Dickens scholarship has been the appearance of a biography by our next speaker, Lillian Nayder. And that isThe Other Dickens: A Life of Catherine Hogarth .”
Lillian Nayder is Professor and Chair of English at Bates College, where she teaches courses on nineteenth-century British fiction. In this lecture, delivered as part of Winter Weekend 2013 programming on Dickens’s Great Expectations, she discusses the implications of domestic violence in the novel.
Nayder describes the legal position of wives in Dickens’s time and the contemporary political debates surrounding their rights, both of which Dickens had in mind when writing Great Expectations. Her analysis of the two Mrs. Gargerys reveals his fascinating and disturbing portrayal of wife beating as both an evil and a cure.
This talk was given on March 9, 2013 at Bowdoin College as part of the 2013 Winter Weekend programming. Rosemarie Bodenheimer is an English professor at Boston College and author of Knowing Dickens.
In this podcast she states, “Great Expectations is Dickens’s most profound exploration of shame and its perverse effects on the psychology of its hero.” Bodenheimer explores the character Pip’s shame in the context of Charles Dickens’s struggles with class and his own high aspirations. Dickens both criticizes and empathizes with Pip. In this thought-provoking talk, Bodenheimer discusses the “characters deceived by the stories they tell themselves about their own lives.”
In this podcast she sets Great Expectations in the context of Dickens’s rise to fame and success with self-marketing. Sadoff states that Dickens “invented himself as an author [and] established himself as a cultural celebrity.” Her analysis extends to the cinematic context of Dickens’s work, looking at the voice, perspective, and visual imagining of the novel through the lens of modern film adaptations.
Please be aware that the content in these audio files does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Maine Humanities Council or any organization with which the Maine Humanities Council is affiliated. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.