Julie Buckler: Dostoevsky’s St. Petersburg

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Julie Buckler is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. She specializes in the cultural heritage of Imperial Russia. Buckler is author of The Literacy Lorgnette: Attending Opera in Imperial Russia and Mapping St. Petersburg: Imperial Text and Cityscape. Her new book project is titled Cultural Properties: The Afterlife of the Imperial in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia.

 In this talk, delivered on March 8 as part of Winter Weekend 2014, Buckler takes us on a tour through the historical and the literary city of St. Petersburg. She begins with its construction in the early 1700s, traces the forces that influenced its growth, and takes the listener through the centuries with both the city’s critics and its defenders.

“I’m very happy to share with you some of the history of St. Petersburg,” Buckler says, “which is neither a backdrop nor a setting for Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, but the medium of the novel—the air. The kind of petri dish, if you will, in which a creature like Raskolnikov grows.”