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In what marks an exciting new critical direction, Rebecca Stanton contends that the city of Odessa—as a canonical literary image and as a kaleidoscopic cultural milieu—shaped the narrative strategies developed by Isaac Babel and his contemporaries of the Revolutionary generation. Modeling themselves on the tricksters and rogues of Odessa lore, Babel and his fellow Odessans Valentin Kataev and Yury Olesha manipulated their literary personae through complex, playful, and often subversive negotiations of the boundary between autobiography and fiction. In so doing, they cannily took up a place prepared for them in the Russian canon and fostered modes of storytelling that both reflected and resisted the aesthetics of Socialist Realism. Stanton concludes with a rereading of Babel’s “autobiographical” stories and examines their legacy in post-Thaw works by Kataev, Olesha, and Konstantin Paustovsky.
Vol. 5 (2014) through current issue
Islamic Africa is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, academic journal published by Northwestern University Press in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA), based at Northwestern University, Evanston. The journal incorporates Sudanic Africa, retaining its focus on historical sources, bibliographies, and methodologies. Islamic Africa promotes interaction between scholars of Islam and Africa across all continents and across historical periods.
From the Shtetl Fair to the Petersburg Bookshop
Studies of Eastern European literature have largely confined themselves to a single language, culture, or nationality. In this highly original book, Glaser shows how writers working in Russian, Ukrainian, and Yiddish during much of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century were in intense conversation with one another. The marketplace was both the literal locale at which members of these different societies and cultures interacted with one another and a rich subject for representation in their art. It is commonplace to note the influence of Gogol on Russian literature, but Glaser shows him to have been a profound influence on Ukrainian and Yiddish literature as well. And she shows how Gogol must be understood not only within the context of his adopted city of St. Petersburg but also that of his native Ukraine. As Ukrainian and Yiddish literatures developed over this period, they were shaped by their geographical and cultural position on the margins of the Russian Empire. As distinctive as these writers may seem from one another, they are further illuminated by an appreciation of their common relationship to Russia. Glaser’s book paints a far more complicated portrait than scholars have traditionally allowed of Jewish (particularly Yiddish) literature in the context of Eastern European and Russian culture.
The Culture of Terrorism in Russia
Just Assassins examines terrorism as it’s manifested in Russian culture past and present, with essays devoted to Russian literature, film, and theater; historical narrative; and even amateur memoir, songs, and poetry posted on the Internet. Along with editor Anthony Anemone’s introduction, these essays chart the evolution of modern political terrorism in Russia, from the Decembrist uprising to the horrific school siege in Beslan in 2004, showing how Russia’s cultural engagement with its legacy of terrorism speaks to the wider world.
Derrida and the Philosophy of Religion
Kantian Transpositions presents an important new reading of Jacques Derrida’s writings on religion and ethics. Eddis Miller argues that Derrida’s late texts on religion constitute an interrogation of the meaning and possibility of a “philosophy of religion.” It is the first book to fully engage Derrida’s claim, in “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone” to be transposing the Kantian gesture of thinking religion “within the limits of reason alone.”
Miller outlines the terms of this “transposition” and reads Derrida’s work as an attempt to enact such a transposition. Along the way, he stakes out new ground in the debate over deconstruction and ethics, showing—against recent interpretations of Derrida’s work—that there is an ethical moment in Derrida’s writings that cannot be understood properly without accounting for the decisive role played by Kant’s ethics. The result is the most sustained demonstration yet offered of Kant’s indispensible contribution to Derrida’s thought.
Toward Education for Freedom
Although he was involved in the education debates of his time, it is widely held that in his mature philosophical writings Immanuel Kant is silent on the subject. In her groundbreaking Kant’s Conception of Pedagogy, G. Felicitas Munzel finds extant in Kant’s writings the so-called missing critical treatise on education; it appears in the Doctrines of Method with which he concludes each of his major works. Here Kant identifies the fundamental principles for the cultivation of reason’s judgment when it comes to cognition, beauty, nature, and the exercise of morality while subject to the passions and inclinations that characterize the human experience. From her analysis, Munzel extrapolates principles for a cosmopolitan education that parallels the structure of Kant’s republican constitution for perpetual peace. With the formal principles in place, the argument concludes with a query of the material principles that would fulfill the formal conditions required for an education for freedom.
Kierkegaard has undoubtedly been an influence on phenomenological thinking, but he has rarely if ever been read as a phenomenologist himself. Recent developments in phenomenology have expanded our conception of the discipline itself and the varieties of experience it can address.
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.