Polemics on Nihilism | Newberry

Polemics on Nihilism

Led by Julia Kriventsova Denne
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Nine sessions. Saturdays, February 26-May 7. This seminar will not meet on March 19 and April 16.



Newberry Adult Education Seminars will meet both virtually and in the building for the Winter/Spring term. Although we are still primarily virtual, you will find a smaller selection of in-person seminars in the schedule. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. If you have questions about online learning, please reach out to adulteducation@newberry.org. Registration opens Wednesday, January 19th at 9am (Central time). Registration will take place through our online platform, Learning Stream.

Register via Learning Stream here

Seminar Description

Is Dostoevsky’s The Devils a grotesque caricature of the Russian nihilist movement in the 1860s? How does the demonic intrude into the novel’s nightmare vision of reality? How does J. M. Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg broaden and deepen our understanding of The Devils? In this seminar, we will closely examine these two novels, focusing on narrative sophistication, psychological insight, and philosophical complexity. Readings will be supplemented by interactive and customized biographical, historical, cultural, and critical resources.

Nine sessions. Registration – $300/$270

Julia Kriventsova Denne studied literature at St. Petersburg University, Russia, and teaches Russian and Soviet literature in the Chicago area.

Materials List


  • Fyodor Dostoevsky,The Devils, (Oxford World’s Classics, 2008) ISBN: 978-0199540495;

  • J. M. Coetzee, The Master of Petersburg, (Penguin Books, 1995) ISBN: 978-0140238105

First Reading:

  • Please read two chapters of The Devils for the first meeting

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration Information

Registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Wednesday, January 19th . Newberry Associates members at the Literati level and above will have access to early registration beginning January 12th at 10am. Learn more about membership benefits and becoming a Newberry Associate.

Please note: The Newberry uses Learning Stream for all Adult Education Seminar registrations. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at adulteducation@newberry.org.

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.