Atrocity Exhibition: Satan and Redemption in The Brothers Karamazov
Audio recording of an online lecture given on January 29, 2021 by Nicolas de Warren as part of the Dean's Lecture & Concert Series and the Carol J. Worrel Annual Series on Literature. The Dean's Office provided this description of the event : "Although Dostoevsky struggled with the problem of evil and forgiveness in many of his writings, my aim in this lecture is a discussion of evil and forgiveness in The Brothers Karamazov. Given the expansiveness of this novel, I shall focus on Ivan Karamazov, whose narrative of suffering and despair culminates in the denouement of his departure from the tribunal of reason and justice 'crying something incoherent.' As with other characters in Dostoevsky’s novel, Ivan cannot be fathomed in isolation, and I shall be especially concerned with the conjunction of two 'doublings'—Smerdyakov and the Satan—as clues for grasping the philosophical significance of Ivan’s crystallization of evil. I shall propose that Ivan Karamazov exemplifies what I call the spectral figure of an eclipsed subjectivity of evil. Within this Jankélévitchean-Schellingean configuration of evil (to indicate this conception’s philosophical genealogy), 'the mystery of irreducible and inconceivable wickedness is, at the same time, stronger and weaker, weaker and stronger than love'—an implication I shall only be able to touch upon at the end of my discussion. In these reflections, I am presenting elements for a more comprehensive engagement with forgiveness and the unforgivable, animated by what André Malraux identifies in his 'anti-memoires' Lazarus as the search for that crucial region in the soul where fraternity hangs in the balance/stands in conflict with absolute evil ('je cherche la région cruciale de l’âme où le Mal absolu s’oppose à la fraternité'). This lecture is part of the Carol J Worrell Annual Series on Literature."
Santa Fe, NM
Meem Library has been given permission to make this item available.