Russia has fascinated outsiders for centuries, and according to Alicia Chudo, it is high time this borscht stopped. In this hilarious send up of Russian literature and history, Chudo takes no prisoners as she examines Russia's great tradition of unreadable geniuses, revolutionaries who can't hit the broad side of a tsar, and Soviets who like their vodka but love their tractors.
Written in the tradition of 1066and All That, The Pooh Perplex, and The Classics Redefined, And Quiet Flows the Vodka will, with any luck, be the final word on the ghastly first two millennia of Russian literature, history, and culture.
Using Dostoevsky's Diary of a Writer as a springboard, Gary Saul Morson examines a number of key topics in contemporary literary theory, including the nature of literary genres and their relation to interpretation. He convincingly argues that genre is not a property of texts alone but arises from the interaction between texts and readers.
There have been signs now, for some time, that poststructuralist hegemony is declining. This book helps us to understand the theoretical flaws that make this decline inevitable.
The essays in this volume represent a collective questioning of the poststructuralist ascendancy, and of the assumptions involved therin, by a group of our most prominent scholars. These scholars were charged with examining the truth-value, methodology, practice, and humanistic status of poststructuralist theories and with speculating on what their conclusions portend for the future of theory. They provide cogent evidence that the poststructuralist heyday has passed.
Will the future be one of economic expansion, greater tolerance, liberating inventions, and longer, happier lives? Or do we face economic stagnation, declining quality of life, and a technologically enhanced totalitarianism worse than any yet seen? The Fabulous Future? America and the World in 2040 draws its inspiration from a more optimistic time, and tome, The Fabulous Future: America in 1980, in which Fortune magazine celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary by publishing the predictions of thought leaders of its time.
In the present volume, the world’s leading specialists from diverse fields project developments in their areas of expertise, from religion and the media to the environment and nanotechnology. Will we be happier, and what exactly does happiness have to do with our economic future? Where is higher education heading and how should it develop? And what is the future of prediction itself? These exciting essays provoke sharper questions, reflect unexpectedly on one another, and testify to our present anxieties about the surprising world to come.
Robert Louis Jackson has long been recognized on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the foremost Dostoevsky scholars in the world. Freedom and Responsibility in Russian Literature collects twenty essays by distinguished scholars (many former students of Jackson's) and admiring colleagues on some of the foremost questions in Russian studies. Whatever the specific topic, these essays manifest a determination to exercise the critical independence and integrity exemplified by Jackson throughout his long career.
Longlist finalist, 2015 Historia Nova Prize for Best Book on Russian Intellectual and Cultural History
Julia Bekman Chadaga’s ambitious study posits that glass—in its uses as a material and as captured in culture—is a key to understanding the evolution of Russian identity from the eighteenth century onward. From the contemporary perspective, it is easy to overlook how glass has profoundly transformed vision. Chadaga shows the far-reaching effects of this phenomenon.
Her book examines the similarities between glass and language, the ideological uses of glass, and the material’s associations with modernity, while illuminating the work of Lomonosov, Dostoevsky, Zamyatin, and Eisenstein, among others. In particular, Chadaga explores the prominent role of glass in the discourse around Russia’s contentious relationship with the West—by turns admiring and antagonistic—as the nation crafted a vision for its own future. Chadaga returns throughout to the spectacular aspect of glass and shows how both the tendentious capacity and the playfulness of this material have shaped Russian culture.
The essays in Rethinking Bakhtin: Extensions and Challenges extend Bakhtin's concepts in important new directions and challenge Bakhtin's own use of his most cherished ideas. Four sets of paired essays explore the theory of parody, the relation of de Man's poetics to Bakhtin's dialogics, Bakhtin's approach to Tolstoy and ideological literature generally, and the dangers of dialogue, not only in practice but also as an ideal.
How are our memories, our narratives, and our intelligence interrelated? What can artificial intelligence and narratology say to each other? In this pathbreaking study by an expert on learning and computers, Roger C. Schank argues that artificial intelligence must be based on real human intelligence, which consists largely of applying old situations, and our narratives of them, to new situations in less than obvious ways.
2016 AATSEEL Prize for Best Book in Literary/Cultural Studies
Vasilii Aksenov, Andrei Bitov, and Venedikt Erofeev were among the most acclaimed authors of samizdat, the literature that was self-published in the former Soviet Union in order to evade censorship and prosecution. In Uncensored, Ann Komaromi uses their work to argue for a far more sophisticated understanding of the phenomenon of samizdat, showing how the material circumstances of its creation and dissemination exercised a profound influence on the very idea of dissidence, reconfiguring the relationship between author and reader.
Using archival research to fully illustrate samizdat’s social and historical context, Komaromi arrives at a more nuanced theoretical position that breaks down the opposition between the autonomous work of art and direct political engagement. The similarities between samizdat and digital culture have particular relevance for contemporary discourses of dissident subjectivity.
Ilya Vinitsky's Vasily Zhukovsky's Romanticism and the Emotional History of Russia is the first major study in English of Vasily Zhukovsky (1783–1852)—a poet, translator of German romantic verse, and, crucially, mentor of Pushkin. It focuses overdue attention to an important figure in Russian literary and cultural history.
Vinitsky’s "psychological biography" argues that Zhukovsky very consciously set out to create for himself an emotional life that reflected his unique brand of romanticism, different from what we associate with Pushkin or poets such as Byron or Wordsworth. For Zhukovsky, ideal love was harmonious, built on a mystical foundation of spiritual kinship. Vinitsky shows how Zhukovksy played a pivotal role in the evolution of ideas central to Russia’s literary and cultural identity from the end of the eighteenth century into the decades following the Napoleonic Wars.
Winner, 2015 International Research Society in Children's Literature (IRSCL) Book Award
Voiceless Vanguard: The Infantilist Aesthetic of the Russian Avant-Garde offers a new approach to the Russian avant-garde. It argues that central writers, artists, and theorists of the avant-garde self-consciously used an infantile aesthetic, as inspired by children’s art, language, perspective, and logic, to accomplish the artistic renewal they were seeking in literature, theory, and art. It treats the influence of children’s drawings on the Neo-Primitivist art of Mikhail Larionov, the role of children’s language in the Cubo-Futurist poetics of Aleksei Kruchenykh, the role of the naive perspective in the Formalist theory of Viktor Shklovsky, and the place of children’s logic and lore in Daniil Kharms’s absurdist writings for children and adults. This interdisciplinary and cultural study not only illuminates a rich period in Russian culture but also offers implications for modernism in a wider Western context, where similar principles apply.
Winter Notes on Summer Impressions (Зимние заметки о летних впечатлениях) is an early book-length essay by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky which he composed while traveling in western Europe. Many commentators believe that in the themes it explores, the essay anticipates his later work Notes from the Underground.
In June 1862, Dostoevsky left Petersburg on his first excursion to Western Europe. Ostensibly making the trip to consult Western specialists about his epilepsy, he also wished to see firsthand the source of the Western ideas he believed were corrupting Russia. Over the course of his journey he visited a number of major cities, including Berlin, Paris, London, Florence, Milan, and Vienna. He recorded his impressions in Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, which were first published in the February 1863 issue of Vremya (Time), the periodical of which he was the editor.
Among other themes, Dostoevsky reveals his Pan-Slavism, rejecting European culture as corrupt and exhorting Russians to resist the temptation to emulate or adopt European ways of life.
A noted literary scholar traverses the Russian canon, exploring how realists, idealists, and revolutionaries debated good and evil, moral responsibility, and freedom.
Since the age of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, Russian literature has posed questions about good and evil, moral responsibility, and human freedom with a clarity and intensity found nowhere else. In this wide-ranging meditation, Gary Saul Morson delineates intellectual debates that have coursed through two centuries of Russian writing, as the greatest thinkers of the empire and then the Soviet Union enchanted readers with their idealism, philosophical insight, and revolutionary fervor.
Morson describes the Russian literary tradition as an argument between a radical intelligentsia that uncompromisingly followed ideology down the paths of revolution and violence, and writers who probed ever more deeply into the human condition. The debate concerned what Russians called “the accursed questions”: If there is no God, are good and evil merely human constructs? Should we look for life’s essence in ordinary or extreme conditions? Are individual minds best understood in terms of an overarching theory or, as Tolstoy thought, by tracing the “tiny alternations of consciousness”? Exploring apologia for bloodshed, Morson adapts Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the non-alibi—the idea that one cannot escape or displace responsibility for one’s actions. And, throughout, Morson isolates a characteristic theme of Russian culture: how the aspiration to relieve profound suffering can lead to either heartfelt empathy or bloodthirsty tyranny.
What emerges is a contest between unyielding dogmatism and open-minded dialogue, between heady certainty and a humble sense of wonder at the world’s elusive complexity—a thought-provoking journey into inescapable questions.
A Writer's Diary
Fydor Dostoevsky Northwestern University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PG3326.A16M67 2009 | Dewey Decimal 891.78307
The essential entries from Dostoevsky's complete Diary, called his boldest experiment in literary form, are now available in this abridged edition; it is a uniquely encyclopedic forum of fictional and nonfictional genres. A Writer's Diary began as a column in a literary journal, but by 1876 Dostoevsky was able to bring it out as a complete monthly publication with himself as an editor, publisher, and sole contributor, suspending work on The Brothers Karamazov to do so.
The Diary's radical format was matched by the extreme range of its contents. In a single frame it incorporated an astonishing variety of material: short stories; humorous sketches; reports on sensational crimes; historical predictions; portraits of famous people; autobiographical pieces; and plans for stories, some of which were never written while others appeared later in the Diary itself. A range of authorial and narrative voices and stances and an elaborate scheme of allusions and cross-references preserve and present Dostoevsky's conception of his work as a literary whole.
Selected from the two-volume set, this abridged edition of A Writer's Diary appears in a single paperback volume, along with a new condensed introduction by editor Gary Saul Morson.
Winner of the AATSEEL Outstanding Translation Award
This is the first paperback edition of the complete collection of writings that has been called Dostoevsky's boldest experiment with literary form; it is a uniquely encyclopedic forum of fictional and nonfictional genres. The Diary's radical format was matched by the extreme range of its contents. In a single frame it incorporated an astonishing variety of material: short stories; humorous sketches; reports on sensational crimes; historical predictions; portraits of famous people; autobiographical pieces; and plans for stories, some of which were never written while others appeared in the Diary itself.
"Sometimes it takes a poet to read a poet. In this inspired, idiosyncratic study, Ilya Kutik offers exemplary interpretations of three Russian writers, of the lessons of fatalism, and of the complexities of reading." —from the Introduction
A remarkable literary performance in its own right, this interpretive essay brings a highly original poetic sensibility to bear on the lives and works of three major Russian writers. It is Ilya Kutik's contention that many writers are tormented by secret fears and desires that only writing—in particular, the use of certain words and images—can exorcise. Making this biographical approach peculiarly his own—and susceptible to the nuances of comedy, tragedy, and critical equanimity—Kutik reads works of Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, and Nikolai Gogol, three Russian writers who were demonstrably subject to the whims, superstitions, and talismans that Kutik identifies. Exposing the conjunction of literary effort and private act in writings such as "The Queen of Spades," Dead Souls, and A Hero of Our Time, Kutik's work gives us a new way of understanding these masterpieces of Russian literature and their authors, and a new way of reading the mysteries of life and literature as mutually enriching.