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Lermontov's Narratives of Heroism

Vladimir Golstein

This is the first study of Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov (1814 41) that attempts to integrate the in depth interpretations of all his major texts including his famous A Hero of Our Time, the novel that laid the foundation for the Russian psychological novel. Lermontov's explorations of the virtues and limitations of heroic, self reliant conduct have subsequently become obscured or misread. This new book focuses upon the peculiar, disturbing, and arguably most central feature of Russian culture: its suspicion of and hostility toward individual achievement and self assertion. The analysis and interpretation of Lermontov's texts enables Golstein to address broader cultural issues by exploring the reasons behind the persistent misreading of Lermontov's major works and by investigating the cultural attitudes that shaped Russia's reaction to the challenges of modernity.

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Limits to Interpretation

The Meanings of Anna Karenina

Vladimir E. Alexandrov

Vladimir E. Alexandrov advocates a broad revision of the academic study of literature and proposes an adaptive, text-specific reading methodology that is designed to minimize the circularity of interpretation inherent in the act of reading. He illustrates this method on the example of Tolstoy’s classic novel via a detailed "map" of the different possible readings that the novel can support.  Anna Karenina emerges as deeply conflicted, polyvalent, and quite unlike what one finds in other critical studies.

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Listen in terror

British horror radio from the advent of broadcasting to the digital age

Richard Hand

This groundbreaking book is the first full-length study of British horror radio from the pioneering days of recording and broadcasting right through to the digital audio cultures of our own time. The book offers an historical, critical and theoretical exploration of horror radio and audio performance examining key areas such as writing, narrative, performance practice and reception throughout the history of that most unjustly neglected of popular art forms: radio drama and ‘spoken word’ auditory cultures. The volume draws on extensive archival research as well as insightful interviews with significant writers, producers and actors. The book offers detailed analysis of major radio series such as Appointment with Fear, The Man in Black, The Price of Fear and Fear on Four as well as one-off horror plays, comedy-horror and experimental uses of binaural and digital technology in producing uncanny audio.

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The Look of Russian Literature

Avant-Garde Visual Experiments, 1900-1930

Gerald Janecek

Gerald Janecek describes the experiments in visual, literature conducted from 1900 to 1930, the heyday of the Russian Avant Garde. Focusing on an aspect of Russian literary history that has previously been almost ignored, he shows how Russian writers of this period tried unusual methods to make their texts visually interesting or expressive. The book includes 183 illustrations, most from rare publications and many reproduced for the first time. The author discusses such figures as the Symbolist Andrey Bely, the Futurists Aleksey Kruchonykh, Vasili Kamensky, and Vladimir Mayakovsky, and the post-Futurist Ilya Zdanevich, and their use of devices ranging from unorthodox layouts and florid typography to roughly done lithographed or handmade books.

Originally published in 1989.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Lost in the Shadow of the Word

Space, Time, and Freedom in Interwar Eastern Europe

Benjamin Paloff

Scholars of modernism have long addressed how literature, painting, and music reflected the radical reconceptualization of space and time in the early twentieth century—a veritable revolution in both physics and philosophy that has been characterized as precipitating an “epistemic trauma” around the world. In this wide-ranging study, Benjamin Paloff contends that writers in Central and Eastern Europe felt this impact quite distinctly from their counterparts in Western Europe. For the latter, the destabilization of traditional notions of space and time inspired works that saw in it a new kind of freedom. However, for many Central and Eastern European authors, who were writing from within public discourses about how to construct new social realities, the need for escape met the realization that there was both nowhere to escape to and no stable delineation of what to escape from. In reading the prose and poetry of Czech, Polish, and Russian writers, Paloff imbues the term “Kafkaesque” with a complexity so far missing from our understanding of this moment in literary history.

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Lotman and Cultural Studies

Encounters and Extensions

Edited by Andreas Schonle

     One of the most widely read and translated theorists of the former Soviet Union, Yurii Lotman was a daring and imaginative thinker. A cofounder of the Tartu-Moscow school of semiotics, he analyzed a broad range of cultural phenomena, from the opposition between Russia and the West to the symbolic construction of space, from cinema to card playing, from the impact of theater on painting to the impact of landscape design on poetry. His insights have been particularly important in conceptualizing the creation of meaning and understanding the function of art and literature in society, and they have enriched the work of such diverse figures as Paul Ricoeur, Stephen Greenblatt, Umberto Eco, Wolfgang Iser, Julia Kristeva, and Frederic Jameson.
     In this volume, edited by Andreas Schönle, contributors extend Lotman's theories to a number of fields. Focusing on his less frequently studied later period, Lotman and Cultural Studies engages with such ideas as the "semiosphere," the fluid, dynamic semiotic environment out of which meaning emerges; "auto-communication," the way in which people create narratives about themselves that in turn shape their self-identity; change, as both gradual evolution and an abrupt, unpredictable "explosion"; power; law and mercy; Russia and the West; center and periphery.
     As William Mills Todd observes in his afterword, the contributors to this volume test Lotman's legacy in a new context: "Their research agendas-Iranian and American politics, contemporary Russian and Czech politics, sexuality and the body-are distant from Lotman's own, but his concepts and awareness yield invariably illuminating results."

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Ludmila Ulitskaya and the Art of Tolerance

Elizabeth Skomp and Benjamin M. Sutcliffe

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Making Modernism Soviet

The Russian Avant-Garde in the Early Soviet Era, 1918-1928

Making Modernism Soviet provides a new understanding of the ideological engagement of Russian modern artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, and Vera Ermolaeva with the political and social agenda of the Bolsheviks in the chaotic years immediately following the Russian Revolution. Focusing on the relationship between power brokers and cultural institutions under conditions of state patronage, Pamela Kachurin lays to rest the myth of the imposition of control from above upon a victimized artistic community. Drawing on extensive archival research, she shows that Russian modernists used their positions within the expanding Soviet arts bureaucracy to build up networks of like-minded colleagues. Their commitment to one another and to the task of creating a socially transformative visual language for the new Soviet context allowed them to produce some of their most famous works of art. But it also contributed to the "Sovietization" of the art world that eventually sealed their fate.

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Mandelstam, Blok, and the Boundaries of Mythopoetic Symbolism

“Mandelstam had no teacher,” marveled Anna Akhmatova, reflecting on his early maturity and singularity. But Mandelstam himself spoke of the need and even duty to study a poet’s literary roots. So how did this consummately complex, compelling, multi-resonant poet navigate and exploit the burden of the Russian Symbolist movement from which he emerged? How did this process change and augment his poetry? Through a series of illuminating readings, Stuart Goldberg explores the ongoing role that the poetry of Russian Symbolism played in Osip Mandelstam’s creative life, laying bare the poet’s productive play with distance and immediacy in his assimilation of the Symbolist heritage. At the same time, Mandelstam, Blok, and the Boundaries of Mythopoetic Symbolism presents the first coherent narrative of the poet’s fraught relationship with Alexander Blok, the most powerful poetic voice among the Symbolists. This dialogue, which was largely one-sided, extended beyond poetic intertext into the realms of poetics, charisma, and personality. Goldberg’s study pushes theoretical boundaries, exploring the juncture between pragmatics and intertext, adapting and challenging Bloom’s anxiety of influence theory, and, ultimately, tracing a shift in the nature of sincerity and authenticity that divided poetic generations.

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The Many Facets of Mikhail Kuzmin

A Miscellany

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