You are here

Another Look: Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Double"

Our spring "Another Look" event will discuss Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Double: A Petersburg Poem. The bizarre 1846 novella portrays the disintegration of a neurotic government clerk into two distinct entities--one toadying and nervous; the other self-assured, exploitative, and aggressive. Vladimir Nabokov, not usually a fan of Dostoevsky, called The Double “the best thing he ever wrote” and “a perfect work of art.” And so Another Look champions The Double as an overlooked work from a familiar author.

The preeminent Dostoevsky scholar of our times, Stanford's Joseph Frank, said of the novella: “the internal split between self-image and truth, between what a person wishes to believe about himself and what he really is--constitutes Dostoevsky's first grasp of a character type that became his hallmark as a writer.” The Double marks a turning point in the life of the author. While the book owes a debt to Nikolai Gogol, the younger author moves beyond social critique to the psychological drama that would become his trademark in the great novels that followed.

We recommend the Vintage Classic edition, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. 

Acclaimed author Robert Pogue Harrison will moderate the discussion. The Stanford professor who is Another Look’s director writes regularly for The New York Review of Books and hosts the popular talk show, Entitled Opinions. He will be joined by the international photographer Lena Herzog and also Monika Greenleaf, associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures. 



Monday, May 15, 2017. 07:30 PM


Bechtel Conference Center, Encina Hall


Stanford Continuing Studies, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford Libraries