Conversation 4: ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 1

Christmas came and went. I did go to midnight mass. James surprised me by saying that he would like to come too, but at the last minute he went off to the pub with his friends. Laura stayed at home, saying she needed some quiet and that it was a good opportunity to call herContinue reading “Conversation 4: ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 1”

Restarting the conversation

Weekly episodes of ‘Conversations with Dostoevsky’ will resume next week, on Friday 13th of August with the first episode of ‘A Dinner Party’. In the meanwhile, readers may be interested in a two-part interview about the blog posted on the website ‘Dostoevsky Now’ (at The interviewer was Sarah Hudspith, Associate Professor of Russian atContinue reading “Restarting the conversation”

Conversation 3: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 7

            “Sorry,” I said, “can we go back a step?” (Fyodor Mikhailovich nodded.) “Right. I kind of half get this. I mean, I do realize that you sometimes have to approach a person or a subject with a certain sympathy or even love before you can fully understand them. No one’s ever going to tellContinue reading “Conversation 3: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 7”

Conversation Three: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 6

Nevertheless, that didn’t seem to solve the problem. The world we inhabit is this world, here and now, ‘on this bank and shoal of time’, as the eponymous hero of the Scottish play put it. Even if there is an alternative view, a ‘heavenly’ view, so to speak, how is that going to make aContinue reading “Conversation Three: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 6”

Conversation 3: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 5.

Silence fell. Outside the traffic was still quite busy and there were occasional bursts of talking and laughter from groups of people going up and down the road. But, in a strange way, that just made the silence in the room all the more intense. Fyodor Mikhailovich twitched the curtain again and peered out.            Continue reading “Conversation 3: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 5.”

Third Conversation: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 4

Fyodor Mikhailovich didn’t answer my last question, but ran his finger slowly along the shelf, as if checking the titles, stopping next to a rather thick paperback. It was a book that was rather popular at that time, Homo Deus. Picking it out, he scrutinized the back-cover, emitting a kind of ‘Hrrumph’. Returning it toContinue reading “Third Conversation: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 4”

Third Conversation: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 3

Birth and death. The parameters of human existence. Binding us to the earth, irrespective of our wants and wishes. Fyodor Mikhailovich was right: if you held onto that, you’d probably have no difficulty in practicing humility. But there was a problem.             “Humility,” I said, “isn’t a very fashionable virtue. In fact, you could say thatContinue reading “Third Conversation: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 3”

Third Conversation: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 2

Fyodor Mikhailovich was watching me closely and, after a full half-a-minute, remarked that the picture had been very important to him when he was living in Florence. “Indeed,” he said, “I spent many hours in front of it. It needs a lot of time to take in and, fortunately, Anna Grigorievna and I were livingContinue reading “Third Conversation: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 2”

Third Conversation: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 1

My third conversation with Dostoevsky took place about a week before Christmas. Laura was out at her team’s Christmas dinner and I wasn’t expecting her back till late. I had finished my marking and only had one more paper to finish off for a conference in January plus a short review to write. Usually IContinue reading “Third Conversation: ‘Christmas Cards’. Episode 1”