Sunday, April 14, 2013

When Dickens met Dostoevsky

by Eric Naiman (the co-editor, with Christina Kiaer, of Everyday Life in Early Soviet Russia: Taking the revolution inside, 2006, and the author, most recently of Nabokov, Perversely, 2010) in TLS:

  • Dostoevsky was a prickly, often rude interlocutor. He and Turgenev hated each other
  • Tomalin returned to her research notes and soon admitted that she might have been the victim of a hoax
  • When Professor Andrews wrote to Ms Harvey, she responded that she had lost her notes, had a poor memory and had moved on to other topics
  • So who was Stephanie Harvey, and why had she written her article?
  • What was clear was Stephanie Harvey’s penchant for a distinct modus operandi
  • Harvey has repeatedly focused his ire on several institutions, most notably the left-tilting British Academy
  • This was not, however, the end of the connection between A. D. Harvey and Trevor McGovern
  • Chekhov wrote a story where the father of a counterfeiter begins to worry that every coin passing through his hands is a fake
  • Even for holders of tenured university positions, scholarship can make for a lonely life
  • In other cases Harvey seems to have been operating as something of a vigilante
  • The worst thing here, if they are fictitious, is a violation of the trust that remains a constitutive element of the humanities
  • The discovery of this text marked the end of my pursuit . . . . Dickens and Dostoevsky were no longer in sight

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