Sunday, November 26, 2017

Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground (9)

My running commentary on Dostoevsky reflects what I have assimilated at the moment of writing and my perspective changes with what I learn. My latest podcast was a rush job in which I sought to synthesize a lot of my diverse reading into an overall picture of intellectual and ideological history, in which Dostoevsky plays a part as one of those pivotal figures of the 19th century.

The 14th installment of my radio series “Studies in a Dying Culture,” recorded on 18 November 2017, has both a recording and a written-out text which approximates but is not identical to the actual podcast and has supplementary links and comments. The written text is here:

Dialectic and Dystopia: A Century Before and After the Russian Revolution Through Literature (podcast transcript) by R. Dumain

Listen or download here. [39:40 min.]
DESCRIPTION: November 7 marked the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. I commemorate this crucial historical event in an oblique manner by examining the works of key creative writers and other thinkers from the 19th century up through the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution who confronted modernity’s essential philosophical and existential issues. Writers discussed include Mary Shelley, Charles Fourier, Friedrich Engels, George Eliot, Herman Melville, Imre Madách, Jules Verne, Fyodor Dostoevsky, György Lukács, Leon Trotsky, and Yevgeny Zamyatin, with mentions of others and with Theodor Adorno and Richard Wright as a coda. All of this is to illustrate the historical failure to render irrational society rational and, with respect to world views, the unresolved dialectic of reason and unreason in the modern world.

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