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After the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, educated Russians began to present plays as part of a crusade to "civilize" the peasants. Relying on archival and published material virtually unknown outside Russia, this study looks at how playwrights criticized Russian social and political realities, how various groups perceived their plays, and how the plays motivated viewers to change themselves or change their circumstances. The picture that emerges is of a potent civic art influential in a way that eluded and challenged authoritarian control.
Nineteenth Century Russian Literature about the Poor
The primal scene of all nineteenth century western thought might involve an observer gazing at someone poor, most commonly on the streets of a great metropolis, and wondering what the spectacle meant in human, moral, political, and metaphysical terms. For Russia, most of whose people hovered near the poverty line throughout history, the scene is one of special significance, presenting a plethora of questions and possibilities for writers who wished to depict the spiritual and material reality of Russian life. How these writers responded, and what their portrayal of poverty reveals and articulates about core values of Russian culture, is the subject of this book, which offers a compelling look into the peculiar convergence in nineteenth century Russian literature of ideas about the poor and about the processes of art.
Russian Women Writers from Khrushchev to Putin
2009 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine
Vol. 14 (2011) through current issue
The Pushkin Review is a bi-lingual, peer-reviewed journal published annually in print and online by the North American Pushkin Society, in cooperation with the International Pushkin Society. The journal features new scholarly articles, translations of Pushkin, reprints of hard-to-obtain Pushkiniana, and book reviews.
A Comparative Study
The culmination of four decades of work by J. Thomas Shaw, this fully searchable e-book carefully analyzes, both chronologically and by genre, Alexander Pushkin’s use of rhyme to show how meaning shifts in tandem with formal changes. Comparing Pushkin’s poetry with that of Konstantin Nikolaevich Batiushkov (1787–1855) and Evgeny Abramovich Baratynsky (1800–1844), Shaw considers, among other topics, what is exact and inexact in “exact” rhyme, how the grammatical characteristics of rhymewords affect the reader’s percepetion of the poem and its rhyme, and how the repetition of a rhyming word can also change meaning.
Each of the five chapters analyzes in detail a distinct aspect of rhyme and provides rich resources for future scholars in the accompanying tables of data. The extensive back matter in the book includes a glossary, abbreviations list, bibliography, and indexes of poems cited, names, and rhyme types and analyses.
Nabokov's Art and the Worlds of Science
Most famous as a literary artist, Vladimir Nabokov was also a professional biologist and a lifelong student of science. By exploring the refractions of physics, psychology, and biology within his art and thought, The Quill and the Scalpel: Nabokov’s Art and the Worlds of Science, by Stephen H. Blackwell, demonstrates how aesthetic sensibilities contributed to Nabokov’s scientific work, and how his scientific passions shape, inform, and permeate his fictions. Nabokov’s attention to holistic study and inductive empirical work gradually reinforced his underlying suspicion of mechanistic explanations of nature. He perceived chilling parallels between the overconfidence of scientific progress and the dogmatic certainty of the Soviet regime. His scientific work and his artistic transfigurations of science underscore the limitations of human knowledge as a defining element of life. In provocative novels like Lolita, Pale Fire, The Gift, Ada, and others, Nabokov advances a surprisingly modest epistemology, urging skepticism toward all portrayals of nature, artistic and scientific. Simultaneously, he challenges his readers to recognize in the arts a vital branch of human discovery, one that both complements and informs traditional scientific research.
Alexander Pushkin and the Life of the Poet
Readers often have regarded with curiosity the creative life of the poet. In this passionate and authoritative new study, David Bethea illustrates the relation between the art and life of nineteenth-century poet Alexander Pushkin, the central figure in Russian thought and culture. Bethea shows how Pushkin, on the eve of his two-hundredth birthday, still speaks to our time. He indicates how we as modern readers might "realize"— that is, not only grasp cognitively, but feel, experience—the promethean metaphors central to the poet's intensely "sculpted" life. The Pushkin who emerges from Bethea's portrait is one who, long unknown to English-language readers, closely resembles the original both psychologically and artistically.
Bethea begins by addressing the influential thinkers Freud, Bloom, Jakobson, and Lotman to show that their premises do not, by themselves, adequately account for Pushkin's psychology of creation or his version of the "life of the poet." He then proposes his own versatile model of reading, and goes on to sketches the tangled connections between Pushkin and his great compatriot, the eighteenth-century poet Gavrila Derzhavin. Pushkin simultaneously advanced toward and retreated from the shadow of his predecessor as he created notions of poet-in-history and inspiration new for his time and absolutely determinative for the tradition thereafter.