Saturday, December 08, 2007
The Brothers Karamazov
Yesterday I experienced an enlightening and enriching lecture entitled "Hell and Devils: Responding to Human Perversity in The Brothers Karamazov" given by Clare Pearson, both Chairperson and Instructor in the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults at the University of Chicago. Her lecture featured the "mythological and mystical core" of the novel with a focus on the nature of hell and the many examples of devils found in it. What I found enlightening in the lecture was the expansion of my conception of The Brothers Karamazov through this approach to the novel. I am currently in the midst of a year-long (at least) reading of the novel with a bi-weekly study group, and have read it previously several times. Over the course of those readings I have explored the novel as mystery, as philosophy, as christian spirituality, and even as a psychoanalytic text in my study of the novel, but here was yet another approach to reading it.
That is just one of the reasons it is considered a "classic"; because you can read it again and again, continuing to discover new ideas and meanings in this rich and transcendent text. Ms. Pearson described her lecture as a "rough" unfinished approach to the novel, but it was polished enough to inspire this listener to continue with his current reading with new vigor and search for ever more meaning and enrichment in the text bequeathed to us by Dostoevsky.