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'The real 19th century prophet was Dostoyevsky, not Karl Marx: Why Socialists should read Dostoyevsky' (South London - 3.00pm)

Date: 
Sunday, 1 June 2014 - 3:00pm

 

Venue: The Socialist Party's premises, 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN

Directions: About 4 minutes walk from Clapham North station on the Northern line and 3 minutes walk from Clapham High Street station on the circular overground line

A talk by guest speaker Dave Flynn

Albert Camus' provocative statement provides the backdrop as to why socialists should be interested in this most original of writers. In 1849, Dostoyevsky was arrested and sentenced to death for his involvement with a group of Russian utopian socialists. His death sentence was commuted to penal servitude in Siberia, an experience that shook Dostoyevsky to his foundations and resulted in a political shift to the right with a revitalised faith in Christ.

However, despite his subsequent reputation as an arch reactionary, Dostoyevsky's conservatism was far more nuanced than is commonly understood. Indeed, socialists should be able to identify with his penetrating psychological insights into the mindset of Russian ‘nihilism’, and the irrationality of humankind more generally.
 
Novels such as 'Crime and Punishment', 'The Possessed' and 'The Brothers Karamazov', won him monumental praise from the likes of Nietzsche, Freud and Albert Einstein. For some, he was the ‘prophet’ of what became the ‘nightmare’ of the Russian Revolution.
 
But did Dostoyevsky offer any real alternative, and what is his relevance for us today?
 
Among other things, this talk seeks to explore this question.

In the chair: Rob Worden


Free entry and refreshments

Audience participation invited