Rowan Williams’s fascination with Russia goes back to his boyhood, and to watching the films of Sergei Eisenstein, which evoked for him a sense of strangeness, tragedy and extremes. As a teenager, he embarked on Russian literature, beginning with Fyodor Dostoevsky, whom he found profoundly and deeply compelling. While Archbishop of Canterbury, he then took a three-month sabbatical to write Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction (2010). In this talk, he explores the “thread of wildness” that runs through Dostoevsky’s characters, what they have to teach us about human anguish and responsibility, and why “the Russian dimension” has been, and remains, central to his theological thinking and his life of prayer.

Chaired by Sara Wheeler.

We are grateful to Robert Skidelsky for sponsoring this event.