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Plot of Her Own

The Female Protagonist in Russian Literature

Hoisington, Sona

Publication Year: 1995

A Plot of Her Own presents compelling new readings of major texts in the Russian literary canon, all of which are readily available in translation. The female protagonists in the works examined are inextricably linked with the fundamental issues raised by the novels they inform; the interpretations offered strive not to be reductive or doctrinaire, not to be imposed from the outside but to arise from the texts themselves and the historical circumstances in which they were written. Authors discussed include Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Bulgakov, and the novels considered range from Fathers and Children to Zamyatin's anti Utopian We. Throughout, the contributors new visions expand our understanding of the words and reveal new significance in them.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Series: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

I thank all the contributors to this volume for their enthusiasm, cooperation in meeting deadlines, and sense of humor-all of which lightened my task and made the job of editor a rewarding one. Caryl Emerson provided further support and encouragement in her capacity as general editor..


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pp. ix-x

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pp. 1-5

ENTITIES CAN BE characterized by absences as well as presences. Such is the case with the present volume: it does not deal primarily with literary works authored by women nor does it concern itself with neglected texts by women writers. Pioneering studies in these areas have...

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pp. 6-20

THE HEROINE OF Pushkin's Evgenii Onegin (Eugene Onegin) bears the most famous, deceptively complex female name in Russian literature. Paradoxes abound in her image, which is in varying degrees derivative, abject, impulsive, renunciatory, passive, majestically disciplined and inexplicably faithful...

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pp. 21-32

"TURGENEV WOMEN," the contemporary song suggests, look for oil and go to sea, descend into subways and peel potatoes-asking us to believe that the superachieving, inexhaustible (and exhausted) women of late- and post-Soviet Russia are the spiritual and literal daughters of Ivan...

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The Judgment of Anna Karenina

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pp. 33-43

FEMINIST IDEOLOGICAL criticism seems a particularly appropriate tool with which to critique Anna Karenina, a novel that strenuously interrogates the gender implications of marital relations and romantic love. The critical issues that yield to the probe of gender-oriented criticism adhere to the central thematic...

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Reading Woman in Dostoevsky

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pp. 44-57

The November 1876 issue of Dostoevsky's Writer's Diary, his one-man monthly journal, is devoted entirely to a story narrated in the first person by a "husband whose wife lies on the table, a suicide."1 The piece, called "A Meek One,"2 is subtitled "A Fantastic Story," and in the preface Dostoevsky...

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Sonya's Wisdom

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pp. 58-71

CHEKHOV AND TOLSTOY stand out as the two most important Russian writers committed to a view of life that might be called prosaics.1 They believed that the most important events in life are not the dramatic ones that play so large a role in narrative art and romantic ideology but the ordinary ones we usually...

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The Use of witches in Fedin and Bulgakov

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pp. 72-80

MODERNIST PROSE forms often present the reader with the paradox of cerebral, structurally complex works that express an irrational or antirational content. These works seek an almost geometric perfection of form while simultaneously rejecting intellect as a totally inadequate means of conceiving contemporary experience...

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The Mismeasure of I-330

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pp. 81-88

NUMEROUS ARTICLES have been written in the West about Yevgeny Zamyatin's anti-utopian fantasy We1 most of them based on the assumption that the male protagonist, mathematician D-503, merits the reader's attention, that what happens to him, what he thinks and feels is crucial and worthy...

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Cement and How the Steel Was Tempered: Variations on the New Soviet Woman

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pp. 89-101

FEW PEOPLE TODAY would disagree with the perception that literature in the Soviet period was codified, rigid, and dictated "from above." As young people, members of Soviet society were exhorted to read certain paradigmatic works of socialist realist literature...

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Mother as Mothra: Totalizing Narrative and Nuture in Petrushevskaia

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pp. 102-113

Ever since the Sovietization of Russia, its domestic cultural commentators have sweepingly invoked the term "woman writer" (pisatel'nitsa) as at worst an oxymoron and at best an unwitting sign for creative inferiority. Consequently, female authors in Russia who cherish their "femininity" in all...

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Afterword: The Problems of Gender Criticism; or, What Is to Be Done about Dostoevsky?

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pp. 114-127

RECENTLY WOMEN CRITICS and scholars have felt it necessary to justify writing about women in male-authored texts because the propriety or advisability of doing so has been questioned. This issue was brought to the fore by Elaine Showalter in her "Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness" where...


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pp. 129-164

E-ISBN-13: 9780810165847
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810112988

Page Count: 164
Publication Year: 1995

Edition: 1
Series Title: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory