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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.
Dostoevsky's Democracy offers a major reinterpretation of the life and work of the great Russian writer by closely reexamining the crucial transitional period between the early works of the 1840s and the important novels of the 1860s. Sentenced to death in 1849 for utopian socialist political activity, the 28-year-old Dostoevsky was subjected to a mock execution and then exiled to Siberia for a decade, including four years in a forced labor camp, where he experienced a crisis of belief. It has been influentially argued that the result of this crisis was a conversion to Russian Orthodoxy and reactionary politics. But Dostoevsky's Democracy challenges this view through a close investigation of Dostoevsky's Siberian decade and its most important work, the autobiographical novel Notes from the House of the Dead (1861). Nancy Ruttenburg argues that Dostoevsky's crisis was set off by his encounter with common Russians in the labor camp, an experience that led to an intense artistic meditation on what he would call Russian "democratism." By tracing the effects of this crisis, Dostoevsky's Democracy presents a new understanding of Dostoevsky's aesthetic and political development and his role in shaping Russian modernity itself, especially in relation to the preeminent political event of his time, peasant emancipation.
In Dostoevsky’s Dialectics and the Problem of Sin, Ksana Blank borrows from ancient Greek, Chinese, and Christian dialectical traditions to formulate a dynamic image of Dostoevsky’s dialectics—distinct from Hegelian dialectics—as a philosophy of “compatible contradictions.”
Reading Against the Grain
When Fyodor Dostoevsky proclaims that he is a "realist in a higher sense," it is because the facts are irrelevant to his truth. And it is in this spirit that Apollonio approaches Dostoevsky’s work, reading through the facts the text of his canonical novels for the deeper truth that they distort, mask, and, ultimately, disclose. This sort of reading against the grain is, Apollonio suggests, precisely what these works, with their emphasis on the hidden and the private and their narrative reliance on secrecy and slander, demand.
On Belonging at a Near Distance
"The Elsewhere." Or, midbar-biblical Hebrew for both "wilderness" and "speech." A place of possession and dispossession, loss and nostalgia. But also a place that speaks. Ingeniously using a Talmudic interpretive formula about the disposition of boundaries, Newton explores narratives of "place, flight, border, and beyond." The writers of The Elsewhere are a disparate company of twentieth-century memoirists and fabulists from the Levant (Palestine/Israel, Egypt) and East Central Europe. Together, their texts-cunningly paired so as to speak to one another in mutually revelatory ways-narrate the paradox of the "near distance."