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Reading the Russians with Sheila Kohler (Sold Out)

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6 Sessions Mondays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST September 26, 2022 to January 9, 2023

Online via Zoom

This reading group has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Erich Slimak at

Meeting Dates:
9/26, 10/17, 11/7, 11/28, 12/19, 1/9

We will read the Russians starting with some short stories featuring supernatural elements: the Ukrainian-born Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose” and “The Overcoat” from The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, out of which, according to Dostoevsky, came all of Russian literature; and Alexander Pushkin’s “Queen of Spades” in Novels, Tales, Journeys. We will follow with Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (a new translation by Oliver Ready which sheds new light on this classic), read in three parts. We will finish with two surprising and original love stories: Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev’s novella “First Love,” followed by Nabokov’s Lolita.

  • Session I: “The Nose” and “The Overcoat” by Nikolai Gogol from The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokonsky (Vintage Classics)
  • Session II: “Queen of Spades” by Alexander Pushkin from Novels, Tales, Journeys (Vintage Classics)
  • Session III: Crime and Punishment (Parts I & II) by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Oliver Ready (Penguin)
  • Session IV: Crime and Punishment (Parts III & IV)
  • Session V: Crime and Punishment (Parts V & VI)
  • Session VI: “First Love” by Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev in First Love and Other Stories, translated by Constance Garnett, and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Led by

  • Sheila Kohler by Beowulf Sheehan

    ​​Sheila Kohler

    ​​Sheila Kohler

    ​​Sheila Kohler is the author of eleven novels, three volumes of short fiction, a memoir, and many essays. Her most recent novel is Open Secrets (July 2020, Penguin). She has won numerous prizes including the O.Henry twice and been included in Best American Short Stories, most recently in 2013. Her work has been published in thirteen countries. She has taught at Columbia, Sarah Lawrence, Bennington and at Princeton since 2007. Her novel, Cracks was made into a film with directors Jordan and Ridley Scott, with Eva Green playing Miss G. You can find her blog at Psychology Today under “Dreaming for Freud.”