Dostoevsky and the Russian Soul
Rowan Williams’ fascination with Russia began when, as a boy, he watched Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible on television. After that he became a born again Russophile, learned the language, and even completed a doctorate on Russian Christianity. But no Russian figure has held his fascination more than Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Dostoevsky is still considered among the greatest novelists the world has ever produced. But his talent for writing complex, often contradictory characters is rooted in a single traumatic moment when, as a young man, he found himself before a firing squad. The event changed his life, his writing, and his views on Russia’s place in the world.
Now that tensions between Russia and the West are once again running high, Rowan considers what the author’s life and thought can tell us about the country today.
Ultimately, Rowan finds, what makes Dostoevsky such a wonderful novelist is his humanity. At a time of deep divides, this is a writer with something to offer us all.
Source: BBC Radio 4