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Alexander Pushkin’s lyric poetry—much of it known to Russians by heart—is the cornerstone of the Russian literary tradition, yet until now there has been no detailed commentary of it in any language.
Michael Wachtel’s book, designed for those who can read Russian comfortably but not natively, provides the historical, biographical, and cultural context needed to appreciate the work of Russia’s greatest poet. Each entry begins with a concise summary highlighting the key information about the poem’s origin, subtexts, and poetic form (meter, stanzaic structure, and rhyme scheme). In line-by-line fashion, Wachtel then elucidates aspects most likely to challenge non-native readers: archaic language, colloquialisms, and unusual diction or syntax. Where relevant, he addresses political, religious, and folkloric issues.
Pushkin’s verse has attracted generations of brilliant interpreters. The purpose of this commentary is not to offer a new interpretation, but to give sufficient linguistic and cultural contextualization to make informed interpretation possible.
European Conflict in the 20th Century
Europe endured such incessant political discord throughout the twentieth century that some historians refer to the period's conflicts as the Long War. During the Balkan wars of 1912--1913, regional fighting in southeastern Europe ignited conflict across the continent that continued through both world wars and the Cold War.
In Consumed by War: European Conflict in the 20th Century, Richard C. Hall illuminates the complex diplomatic and military struggles of a region whose instability, rooted in a nineteenth-century nationalistic fervor, provided a catalyst for the political events that ensued. From the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 to the incarceration of Radovan Karadzic in 2008, this narrative history appeals to general readers and scholars interested in a fresh interpretation of a complicated and brutal era.
In The Cultural Origins of the Socialist Realist Aesthetic, Irina Gutkin brings together the best work written on the subject to argue that socialist realism encompassed a philosophical worldview that marked thinking in the USSR on all levels: political, social, and linguistic. Using a wealth of diverse cultural material, Gutkin traces the emergence of the central tenants of socialist realist theory from Symbolism and Futurism through the 1920s and 1930s.
Vol. 23 (2015) through current issue
Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization is a peer-reviewed, international, and interdisciplinary quarterly journal that covers historical and current transformations in the Soviet Union and its successor states. The journal welcomes submissions by academics, policymakers, and other specialists on the political, social, and economic changes begun in 1985.
Dialogics of the Oppressed was first published in 1992. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Formulated within and against the context of Russian formalism that became the backbone of semiotics, Mikhail Bakhtin's work has enabled contemporary critical theories to return to specific sociopolitical and historical moments that had been closed off by formalist abstractions. In Dialogics of the Oppressed, Peter Hitchcock looks through the lens of Bakhtin's theory of dialogism for an analysis of subaltern writing. Rather than assume an integral "subaltern subject" as the object of analysis, Hitchcock - in case studies of four global feminists, Nawal el Saadawi, Pat Barker, Zhang Jie, and Agnes Smedley - emphasizes the cultural agency of the subaltern and shows the political implications this agency might have for literary analysis in general and cultural studies in particular.
"Presents a provocative set of readings-through the Bakhtinian model of dialogism-of texts by four women writers of the twentieth century. . . instructive and compelling." Barbara Harlow, University of Texas
Dialogics of the Oppressed argues from an internationalistic perspective to underline that the heterogeneity of dialogic feminism itself constitutes a significant array of discursive resistance to the hegemony of disciplines and so-called area studies operative in the metropolitan First World academy. Hitchcock demonstrates through dialogic analyses of the writings of these four feminists that a form of multicultural materialism can itself disrupt the restrictive logics and practices of literary studies in the Western academy, and that indeed, there is a counterlogic in the culture of the subaltern. Hitchcock's underlying objective is the development of a powerful critique of the epistemological bases of the academy that marginalize and devalorize certain cultural productions and subjects, as well as a cognitive mapping of the politics of pedagogy in current transformations of disciplinarity.
Peter Hitchcock is professor of English at Baruch College of the City University of New York. He is the author of Working-Class Fiction in Theory and Practice and has published essays on radical writing, multiculturalism, film, and Third World fiction.
A Reading of Alexander Pushkin's Boris Godunov
In an ambitious reinterpretation of the premier work of Russia's national poet, J. Douglas Clayton reads Boris Godunov as the expression of Alexander Pushkin's thinking about the Russian state, especially the Russian state of his own time (some two hundred years distant from the events of the play), and even his own place within that state. Here we see how the play marks a sharp break with the Decembrists and Pushkin's own youthful liberalism, signaling its author's emergence as a Russian conservative. Boris Godunov, Clayton argues, can be best understood as an ideologically conservative defense of autocracy.
Most discussions of sexuality in the work of Dostoevsky have been framed in Freudian terms. But Dostoevsky himself wrote about sexuality from a decidedly pre Freudian perspective. By looking at the views of human sexual development that were available in Dostoevsky's time and that he, an avid reader and observer of his own social context, absorbed and reacted to, Susanne Fusso gives us a new way of understanding a critical element in the writing of one of Russia's literary masters. Beyond discovering Dostoevsky's own views and representations of sexuality as a reflection of his culture and his time, Fusso also explores his artistic treatment of how children and adolescents discover sexuality as part of their growth.
While Dostoevsky’s relation to religion is well-trod ground, there exists no comprehensive study of Dostoevsky and Catholicism. Elizabeth Blake’s ambitious and learned Dostoevsky and the Catholic Underground fills this glaring omission in the scholarship. Previous commentators have traced a wide-ranging hostility in Dostoevsky’s understanding of Catholicism to his Slavophilism. Blake depicts a far more nuanced picture. Her close reading demonstrates that he is repelled and fascinated by Catholicism in all its medieval, Reformation, and modern manifestations. Dostoevsky saw in Catholicism not just an inspirational source for the Grand Inquisitor but a political force, an ideological wellspring, a unique mode of intellectual inquiry, and a source of cultural production. Blake’s insightful textual analysis is accompanied by an equally penetrating analysis of nineteenth-century European revolutionary history, from Paris to Siberia, that undoubtedly influenced the evolution of Dostoevsky’s thought.