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Reassessment of Early Soviet Cultural Theories
This provocative work takes issue with the idea that Socialist Realism was mainly the creation of party leaders and was imposed from above on the literati who lived and worked under the Soviet regime. Evgeny Dobrenko, a leading expert on Soviet literature, argues instead and offers persuasive evidence that the aesthetic theories underpinning Socialist Realism arose among the writers themselves, born of their proponents' desire for power in the realm of literary policymaking. Accordingly, Dobrenko closely considers the evolution of these theories, deciphering the power relations and social conditions that helped to shape them.
A Critical Review
Andrey Bely, novelist, essayist, theoretician, critic, and poet, was a central figure in the Russian Symbolist movement of the 1920s, the most important literary movement in Russia in this century. Bely articulated a Symbolist aesthetic and originated a new approach to the study of Russian metrics and versification, giving rise to a new scholarly discipline that still thrives in the West.
Although regarded by some critics, including Vladimir Nabokov, as the author of the greatest Russian novel of this century, Bely has been nearly forgotten in his native country for ideological reasons. In the West he remains little known and generally under-valued. But with recent English translations of Kotik Letaev and his masterpiece, Petersburg, interest in Bely is increasing. Janecek's book brings together some of the best modern scholarship on Bely and the Russian Symbolist movement of the 1920s.
Ruins and Historical Conciousness in Modern Russia
Despite attempts to promote the aesthetics of ruins in Russia—from Catherine the Great’s construction of fake ruins in imperial parks to Josef Brodsky’s elegiac meditations—ruins have never achieved the status they enjoy in Western Europe. While the Soviet Union was notorious for leveling churches, post-Soviet Russia has only intensified the practice of massive destruction and reconstruction. Architecture of Oblivion examines the role of ruins in the development of Russia’s historical consciousness from the 18th century to the present. Investigating the meaning and functions ruins have acquired in Russian culture, Schönle looks at ideological reasons for the current disregard for the value of ruins and historical buildings, in particular by political authorities, and reveals how ruins have often become a site of resistance to official ideology and an invitation to map out alternative visions of history and of statehood. An interdisciplinary study of Russia’s response to ruins has never been attempted, although the topic of ruins has garnered considerable interest in Western Europe and in the U.S. This original work from a leading authority on the subject will appeal to historians of Russian culture and thought, literature and art scholars, and general readers interested in ruins.
Boris Pasternak's Early Prose
Art after Philosophy: Boris Pasternak’s Early Prose, by Elena Glazov-Corrigan, redefines an area in Slavic studies which has suffered from neglect for several decades, namely, Pasternak’s early prose narratives. In her bold new study, Glazov-Corrigan analyzes the conceptual networks of thought Pasternak developed when he turned to literature after abandoning the study of Neo-Kantianism in Marburg during the summer of 1912. This book shows conclusively that Pasternak’s knowledge of philosophy is inseparable from his prose works, even though in his early stories and novellas (1913–1918) philosophical ideas operate neither as discrete textual units nor as micro-elements or clusters of possible signification. In the early Pasternak, philosophy becomes a narrative art, a large-scale narrative frame, a manner of seeing rather than of constructing reality. After Roman Jakobson’s famous 1935 essay, which characterized the early Pasternak as a “virtuoso of metonymy,” in contrast to the metaphoric Mayakovsky, no other approach has been able to generate comparable scholarly influence. The present study takes up the implicit challenge of this critical impasse. Entering into a debate with Jakobson’s findings, Art after Philosophy illuminates Pasternak’s boldest artistic experiments and suggests to his readers entirely new ways of approaching not only his early but also his later writing.
Self and Tradition in Bulgakov, Pasternak, and Nabokov
Justin Weir develops a persuasive analysis of the complex relationship between authorial self reflection and literary tradition in three of the most famous Russian novels of the first half of the twentieth century: Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, and Nabokov's The Gift. With Weir's innovative interpretation, and its compelling historical, cultural, and theoretical insights, The Author as Hero offers a new view of an important moment in the evolution of Russian literature.
The fifteen essays in this volume explore the extraordinary range and diversity of the autobiographical mode in twentieth-century Russian literature from various critical perspectives. They will whet the appetite of readers interested in penetrating beyond the canonical texts of Russian literature. The introduction focuses on the central issues and key problems of current autobiographical theory and practice in both the West and in the Soviet Union, while each essay treats an aspect of auto-biographical praxis in the context of an individual author's work and often in dialogue with another of the included writers. Examined here are first the experimental writings of the early years of the twentieth century--Rozanov, Remizov, and Bely; second, the unique autobiographical statements of the mid-1920s through the early 1940s--Mandelstam, Pasternak, Olesha, and Zoshchenko; and finally, the diverse and vital contemporary writings of the 1960s through the 1980s as exemplified not only by creative writers but also by scholars, by Soviet citizens as well as by emigrs--Trifonov, Nadezhda Mandelstam, Lydia Ginzburg, Nabokov, Jakobson, Sinyavsky, and Limonov.
Originally published in 1990.
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.
The Ironies of Romantic Individualism in Nicholas I's Russia
Mikhail Lermontov (1814 1841) is one of Russia's most prominent poets and one of its most puzzling. In this radically new interpretation, David Powelstock reveals how the seeming contradictions in Lermontov's life and works can be understood as manifestations of a coherent worldview.
Essays in Russian Literature and Culture
In this book, acclaimed Dostoevsky biographer Joseph Frank explores some of the most important aspects of nineteenth and twentieth century Russian culture, literature, and history. Delving into the distinctions of the Russian novel as well as the conflicts between the religious peasant world and the educated Russian elite, Between Religion and Rationality displays the cogent reflections of one of the most distinguished and versatile critics in the field.
Frank's essays provide a discriminating look at four of Dostoevsky's most famous novels, discuss the debate between J. M. Coetzee and Mario Vargas Llosa on the issue of Dostoevsky and evil, and confront Dostoevsky's anti-Semitism. The collection also examines such topics as Orlando Figes's sweeping survey of the history of Russian culture, the life of Pushkin, and Oblomov's influence on Samuel Beckett. Investigating the omnipresent religious theme that runs throughout Russian culture, even in the antireligious Chekhov, Frank argues that no other major European literature was as much preoccupied as the Russian with the tensions between religion and rationality. Between Religion and Rationality highlights this unique quality of Russian literature and culture, offering insights for general readers and experts alike.