Turning the Soil: Cultivating our Gardens in Times of Trouble (Ruminations on Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago)

Image: 
Event time: 
Monday, May 1, 2017 - 4:00pm
Location: 
Yale Farm See map
345 Edwards Street
Event description: 

The Slavic Graduate Colloquium Literature, the Arts, and the Environment Colloquium and The Yale Sustainable Food Program present Jane Costlow, Clark A. Griffith Professor of Environmental Studies at Bates College

Turning the Soil: Cultivating our Gardens in Times of Trouble (Ruminations on Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago)

At the center of Pasternak’s novel of upheaval and revolution, the poet and his family become gardeners.  Their labors, however, are only an interlude in an otherwise violent and destructive era.  In this talk I want to consider the novel as a narrative of violence and the fragile but essential shelter that is suggested by “the garden.”  Pasternak’s novel echoes, perhaps, the famous conclusion to Voltaire’s Candide, with its enigmatic injunction that in a world of violence, injustice and corruption we must “cultivate our gardens.”  What might all this mean for us, and for people laboring to hold together fertile spaces of continuity and beauty?

Sponsored by: The Traphagen Alumni Speakers Series, Yale College Office of Student Affairs; The Franke Program in Science and the Humanities; The Yale Sustainable Food Program; The Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund; The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; The Dean’s Fund; and Literature, the Arts, and the Environment Colloquium.