We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR

Isaac Babel and the Self-Invention of Odessan Modernism

Rebecca Jane Stanton

Publication Year: 2012

In what marks an exciting new critical direction, Rebecca Stanton contends that the city of Odessa—as a canonical literary image and as a kaleidoscopic cultural milieu—shaped the narrative strategies developed by Isaac Babel and his contemporaries of the Revolutionary generation. Modeling themselves on the tricksters and rogues of Odessa lore, Babel and his fellow Odessans Val­entin Kataev and Yury Olesha manipulated their literary personae through complex, playful, and often subversive negotiations of the boundary between autobiography and fiction. In so doing, they cannily took up a place prepared for them in the Russian canon and fostered modes of storytelling that both reflected and resisted the aesthetics of Socialist Realism. Stanton concludes with a rereading of Babel’s “autobiographical” stories and examines their leg­acy in post-Thaw works by Kataev, Olesha, and Konstantin Paustovsky.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (293.3 KB)
pp. iii-iv

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (95.2 KB)
pp. vii-

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (534.4 KB)
pp. ix-x

I am hugely indebted to the many people and institutions whose help and support have made this book possible. The research and writing of it were supported in part by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and a Title VIII Combined...

read more

Notes on Translation and Transliteration

pdf iconDownload PDF (175.1 KB)
pp. xi-

Throughout my text, I give quotations from Russian (and other foreignlanguage) works in English translation. Unless otherwise specified, all translations into English are my own. For Russian names, in the notes and bibliography, I have used the Library of Congress transliteration system, without...

read more

Introduction: Stories that Come True

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.1 MB)
pp. 3-16

This is a book about stories that come true. Stories can "come true" in a variety of ways, and these selfsubstantiating (or self-instantiating) stories belong to a variety of genres: there are popular myths that prove more enduring than scientific efforts to debunk them, clever lies that effectively alter the fabric of reality to...

read more

1. City Through the Looking-Glass: Literary Odessa

pdf iconDownload PDF (7.6 MB)
pp. 17-42

THE RUSSIAN CULTURAL IMAGE of Odessa is a kind of mirror image, a faithful but inverted reflection of the "abstract and intentional" Petersburg. Each of the two cities, marking a highly prized seaport, stands as an architectural monument to the martial triumph of a...

read more

2. Isaac Babel: Stories That Lie Like Truth

pdf iconDownload PDF (9.0 MB)
pp. 43-73

With these words, Isaac Babel begins his short story "In the Basement" ("V podvale," 1931), one of a cycle of childhood stories ostensibly narrated by, and starring, the young Isaac Babel himself. As indicated in notes Babel appended to the stories as they were published, this cycle includes four...

read more

3. Babel's Bildungsroman and Odessan Modernism

pdf iconDownload PDF (7.9 MB)
pp. 74-101

The questions Babel raises in "Childhood" and "Dovecote" about the aesthetic qualities, epistemological status, and ethical boundaries of fiction remain on center stage in the three stories that complete the childhood cycle: "First Love" ("Pervaia liubov'''), "In the Basement"...

read more

4. Reinventing the Self: Valentin Kataev and Yury Olesha

pdf iconDownload PDF (11.8 MB)
pp. 102-142

ALTHOUGH IT WAS Isaac Babel who, in his essay "Odessa" and the fictional works that followed it, defined the idea of an Odessa writer, his trajectory was actually not a typical one for writers of the Odessa or "South -West" school. Other Odessa writers of Babel's...

read more

Conclusion: The Odessan Self

pdf iconDownload PDF (676.7 KB)
pp. 143-146

IN THE PRECEDING pages, I have posited that the literalY projection of a specifically Odessan self-consciousness is characterized by several interrelated discursive features: paradox, multivocality, and camivalesque inversion; a sense of exile in both time and space, often manifested...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF (8.3 MB)
pp. 147-176

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.8 MB)
pp. 177-190

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.2 MB)
pp. 191-205


E-ISBN-13: 9780810166158
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810128323

Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1
Series Title: SRLT
Series Editor Byline: Saul Morson

Research Areas

Recommend

UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Babelʹ, I. (Isaak), 1894-1940 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Kataev, Valentin, 1897-1986 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Olesha, I͡Uriĭ Karlovich, 1899-1960 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Russian literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Russian literature -- Ukraine -- Odesa -- History and criticism.
  • Modernism (Literature) -- Russia (Federation).
  • Odesa (Ukraine) -- In literature.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access