Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

THE ESSAYS in this book, Autobiographical Statements in Twentieth-Century Russian Literature, are intended to move the reader familiar with the accepted canon of Russian literature to explore the extraordinary range and diversity of writing in the autobiographical mode that emerges in the twentieth century. The introductory essay, "Diversity of Discourse," surveys and discusses the issues central to current...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xi

I OWE the idea for this volume to the lively discussions in my NEH Summer Seminars on Russian Literary Autobiography given at Columbia University, in which we frequently bemoaned the dearth of scholarly materials on basic problems of Russian and Soviet autobiography, memoirs, and first-person narrative. It is hoped that this collection of essays will initiate a larger response to this void and suggest...

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Introduction Diversity of Discourse: Autobiographical Statements in Theory and Praxis

Jane Gary Harris

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pp. 3-35

DIVERSITY OF FORM has characterized autobiographical discourse since the beginning of the Western literary narrative tradition. One of the consequences of this diversity has been the complexity and confusion plaguing attempts to describe it. Historically, autobiography is classified as one of the oldest forms of narrative, its organizational patterns being associated with the rise of the ancient novel. This close association between the novel and autobiography is perceived as traceable...

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1. Rozanov and Autobiography: The Case of Vasily Vasilievich

Anna Lisa Crone

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pp. 36-51

In a recent discussion of modern autobiography Paul de Man wrote: "Empirically as well as theoretically, autobiography lends itself poorly to generic definition; each specific instance seems to be an exception to the norm."1 Nevertheless, Elizabeth Bruss in Autobiographical Acts puts forth some general guidelines for autobiography as a genre. Although she stipulates that these may sometimes be...

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2. Alexey Remizov's Later Autobiographica

Olga Raevsky-Hughes

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pp. 52-65

ALEXEY REMIZOV (1877-1957) was a well-established and influential writer by 19171 Although he never enjoyed wide popularity largely due to his nonbelletrist manner, unusual style, and "difficult" language, his influence on the younger generation of writers was of such magnitude that for the period from the 1910s through the 1920s one can speak of a "Remizov school" in Russian prose. Boris Pilniak and Alexey Tolstoy, to mention only two of the most prominent names, considered...

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3. Andrey Bely's Memories of Fiction

Charlene Castellano

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pp. 66-98

Andrey Bely (pseudonym of Boris N. Bugaev, 1880-1934) never enjoyed fame as a popular writer. He did, however, achieve great notoriety during his lifetime among the literati of Moscow and Petersburg. His wildly idiosyncratic experiments in literary form and his strangely ebullient essays in esoteric literary criticism sometimes earned him respect, sometimes rage, but always an audience of the finest...

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4. Autobiography and History: Osip Mandelstam's Noise of Time

Jane Gary Harris

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pp. 99-113

READERS OF Noise of Time (Shum vremeni, 1923-25) have long admired Mandelstam' s lyric autobiography as one of the finest literary portrayals of prerevolutionary Russia. However, those who expected a more conventional nineteenth- century autobiographical form have been disappointed, even though Mandelstam's programmatic statement clearly rejected a traditional approach; others who have tried too...

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5. Boris Pasternak's Safe Conduct

Krystyna Pomorska

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pp. 114-122

PASTERNAK'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY is in many respects comparable to all his prose pieces that deal with his life story.1 The reason for this is revealed in the autobiographical text of Safe Conduct (Okhrannaja gramota),2 written between 1929 and 1931 and first published in 1931. Here the author confesses that one of the ideas inherited by him from the symbolists was "an understanding of life in general as the life of...

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6. The Imagination of Failure: Fiction and Autobiography in the Work of Yury Olesha

Elizabeth Klosty Beaujour

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pp. 123-132

YURY OLESHA1 always said that his talent was essentially autobiographical.2 In his speech to the First Congress of Soviet Writers in 1934 he stated: "People told me3 that Kavalerov [the hero of his novel Envy (Zavist')had many of my traits, that it was an autobiographical portrait; that, indeed, Kavalerov was me. Yes, Kavalerov did look through my eyes. Kavalerov's colors, light, comparisons, metaphors...

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7. Autobiography and Conversion: Zoshchenko's Before Sunrise

Krista Hanson

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pp. 133-153

THE PUBLICATION in November 1943 of Mikhail Zoshchenko's autobiographical novella Before Sunrise (Pered voskhodom solntsa) must have taken his readers very much by surprise. Unlike many American readers of Russian literature, they were aware that in the previous decade Zoshchenko had been moving away from the ironic tone and clowning persona that defined his humorous works of the 1920s...

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8. A Tremulous Prism: Nabokov's Speak, Memory

John Pilling

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pp. 154-171

ALMOST ALL "mature" Nabokov has provoked widespread discussion as to his merits and demerits as a writer, generating something like a critical consensus, but not Speak, Memory. A decade after its author's death, some twenty years after his "authorized" version, and more than fifty years from its inception, Nabokov's autobiography continues to be considered ancillary to his other...

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9. Yury Trifonov's The House on the Embankment: Fiction or Autobiography?

Fiona Bjorling

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pp. 172-192

THE QUESTION of fiction or autobiography concerns the discursive aspect of literature rather than its content.1 Whether events related in literature are taken from the imagination of from history is less relevant than the significance of the historical writer as the ultimate authority behind the work. We find ourselves at the slippery junction between the writer's original intention and the authorial position...

10. The Rhetoric of Nadezhda Mandelstam's Hope Against Hope - Charles Isenberg

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pp. 193-206

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11. Lydia Ginzburg and the Fluidity of Genre

Sarah Pratt

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pp. 207-216

THE RAW MATERIAL of Lydia Ginzburg's life could certainly provide the basis for a substantial memoir.1 Born in Odessa in 1902 but an inhabitant of Leningrad for most of her adult life, Ginzburg represents the vibrant generation of the intelligentsia that kept Russian culture alive, indeed injected it with a new intellectual vigor in the 1920s. Having studied with Tynjanov and other members of the formalist...

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12. Roman Jakobson: The Autobiography of a Scholar

Krystyna Pomorska

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pp. 217-226

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH of Vladimir Mayakovsky "I—myself" (1926-29) begins with the words: "I am a poet. This is what is interesting about me. I am writing about this here. About the rest. . . only if it became fixed in the word." Another autobiography of a poet, Safe Conduct by Boris Pasternak, contains a similar statement, which can be summarized as follows: if we try to present...

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13. In Search of the Right Milieu: Eduard Limonov's Kharkov Cycle

Patricia Carden

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pp. 227-237

EDUARD LIMONOV came to general notice in the West with the publication of It's Me, Eddie! (Eto ja—Edichka!), his rambunctious account of his life down and out on the streets of New York.1 A Russian emigre whose transit to the West had been aided by the eagerness of the Russian police to rid themselves of a troublemaker, Limonov gleefully thumbed his nose at his American hosts, flauting his use of...

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14. Literary Selves: The Tertz-Sinyavsky Dialogue

Andrew J. Nussbaum

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pp. 238-260

ANDREY SINYAVSKY first came to the West as Abram Tertz, a mysterious personality who sent his literature abroad in his search for artistic freedom.1 Smuggled from the Soviet Union, this literature arrived in the West "faceless," its author not merely unknown but relying on that anonymity to continue his literary endeavors. Tertz represented an incorporeal identity whose aesthetic opinions challenged...

Select Bibliography

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pp. 261-278

Index

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pp. 279-287

Series Page

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pp. 288-291