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Russian Writers and the Fin de Siècle

The Twilight of Realism

edited by: Katherine Bowers, Ani Kokobobo
publish by: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107073210

Book's frontpage

Russian literature has a reputation for gloomy texts, especially during the late nineteenth century. This volume argues that a 'fin-de-siècle' mood informed Russian literature long before the chronological end of the nineteenth century, in ways that had significant impact on the development of Russian realism. Some chapters consider ideas more readily associated with fin-de-siècle Europe such as degeneration theory, biodeterminism, Freudian psychoanalysis or apocalypticism alongside earlier Russian realist texts by writers such as Turgenev, Dostoevsky or Tolstoy. Other chapters explore the changes that realism underwent as modernism emerged, examining later nineteenth-century or early twentieth-century texts in the context of the earlier realist tradition or their own cultural moment. Overall, a team of emerging and established scholars of Russian literature and culture present a wide range of creative and insightful readings that shed new light on later realism in all its manifestations.


Table of contents

Introduction: the fin-de-siècle mood in Russian literature Ani Kokobobo and Katherine Bowers
1. The Russian Rougon-Macquart: degeneration and biological determinism in The Golovlev Family Kate Holland
2. The hiding places of the self in Dostoevsky's Adolescent Yuri Corrigan
3. A childhood's garden of despair: Dostoevsky and 'The Boy at Christ's Christmas Party' Robin Feuer Miller
4. The railway and the elemental force: Slavophilism, Pan-Slavism, and apocalyptic anxieties in Anna Karenina Alexander Burry and S. Ceilidh Orr
5. 'Mister Russian Beast': civilization's discontents in Turgenev Emma Lieber
6. Masculine degeneration in Dostoevsky's Demons Connor Doak
7. The burden of superfluity: reconsidering female heroism in Chekhov's The Seagull Jenny Kaminer
8. The fall of the house: Gothic narrative and the decline of the Russian family Katherine Bowers
9. Corpses of desire and convention: Tolstoy's and Artsybashev's grotesque realism Ani Kokobobo
10. The little man in the overcoat: Gogol and Krzhizhanovsky Muireann Maguire
11. Icons, eclipses and stepping off the train: Vladimir Korolenko and the Ocherk Jane Costlow
12. Decadent ecosystems in Uncle Vanya: a chorographic meditation Thomas Newlin
13. The mute body: Leonid Andreev's abject realism Edith W. Clowes
14. The thinking oyster: Turgenev's 'Drama of Dying' as the decay of Russian realism Ilya Vinitsky
15. An afterword on the potential of ends Caryl Emerson

About the Authors


Katherine Bowers, University of British Columbia
Katherine Bowers is a Research Associate in the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge and holds a Research Fellowship at Darwin College, Cambridge.

Ani Kokobobo, University of Kansas
Ani Kokobobo is an Assistant Professor in the Slavic Department at the University of Kansas, where she received a Hall Center for the Humanities fellowship.


Ani Kokobobo, Katherine Bowers, Kate Holland, Yuri Corrigan, Robin Feuer Miller, Alexander Burry, S. Ceilidh Orr, Emma Lieber, Connor Doak, Jenny Kaminer, Muireann Maguire, Jane Costlow, Thomas Newlin, Edith W. Clowes, Ilya Vinitsky, Caryl Emerson


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