Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Crime and Punishment: Approaching a novel from a Musicological Lens

So I'm reading Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.  I'm only on Chapter 4 or so, but I'm loving it.

My Russian-speaking friends recommended the translation by Richard pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.  The edition I found provided a really good introduction by W. J. Leatherbarrow that goes through some highlights of Dostoevsky's life.  It is incredible.  Turns out the guy was part of a group of writers who ended up getting sentenced to death for crimes against the government... only to be revoked of their death sentence in an act of "compassion" by the Tsar at the moment of their execution.  He was then sentenced to exile in Siberia.  Most of the events in Crime and Punishment were inspired by his time in exile.

I'm sorry, but the life of a modern author just isn't as cool.

Anyway, after finishing a paper on Modest Mussorgsky, who wrote his opera Boris Godunov at around the same time Crime and Punishment was published, I figured it would be interesting to look at a literary account of Russian society and values in the 1860s.

I'm discovering that the different arts are in fact not as distinct and separate from each other as I originally had thought.  Novelists often inspire musicians; visual artists inspire poets; filmmakers inspire fashion designers, etc.  All are born from the same social fabric.  I enjoy being in a field that allows me to also explore my interests in visual art, literature, and other fields.

A depiction of Our Lady of Kazan, the most famous Orthodox Russian icon, dating back to 1579.

Listening to: Johnny Ace, "Pledging my Love" and Vivaldi's Concerto in C for Two Trumpets
Blessings:  An easy semester, German-speaking friends, and men with beards. 

No comments:

Post a Comment