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Eugene Onegin The Cold War Monument: How Edmund Wilson Quarreled With Vladimir Nabokov, Tim Conley Jan 2014

Eugene Onegin The Cold War Monument: How Edmund Wilson Quarreled With Vladimir Nabokov, Tim Conley

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

The tale of how Edmund Wilson quarreled with Vladimir Nabokov over the latter’s 1964 translation of Eugene Onegin can be instructively read as a politically charged event, specifically a “high culture” allegory of the Cold War. Dissemination of anti-Communist ideals (often in liberal and literary guises) was the mandate of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, whose funding and editorial initiatives included the publication of both pre-Revolution Russian literature and, more notoriously, the journal Encounter (1953-1990), where Nabokov’s fiery “Reply” to Wilson appeared. This essay outlines the propaganda value of the Onegin debate within and to Cold War mythology.


The Mirror In Art: Vanitas, Veritas, And Vision, Helena Goscilo Jun 2010

The Mirror In Art: Vanitas, Veritas, And Vision, Helena Goscilo

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Humankind’s venerable obsession with the mirror, traceable to the ancient myths of Medusa and Narcissus, is copiously attested in Western art, which historically relied on the mirror as both practical tool and polysemous trope. While the mirror’s reflective capacities encouraged its identification with the vaunted mimetic function of literature and film, its refractive quality enabled artists to explore and comment on perspective, in the process challenging the concept of art’s faithful representation of phenomena. My radically compressed and selective overview of the mirror’s significance in Western iconography focuses primarily on visibility, gaze, and gender, dwelling on ...


No Mere Reflection: Mirrors As Windows On Russian Culture, Julia Chadaga Jun 2010

No Mere Reflection: Mirrors As Windows On Russian Culture, Julia Chadaga

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

This essay traces the development of mirror use in Russia from the medieval period to the modern day with particular attention to the dynamic interplay between the utilitarian and symbolic functions of this object. I examine how the discourse around mirrors in Russia was shaped by a preoccupation with border-crossing and identity that is distinctive to Russian culture as well as by mirror lore from other world traditions; and I demonstrate that the presence of mirrors shaped the production of imaginative literature in profound ways. The essay focuses on several key functions of the Russian mirror: as a site of ...


Mirrors In Russian Women’S Autobiographical Writing: The Self Reflected In Works By Alla Demidova And Vera Luknitskaia, Karin Sarsenov Jun 2010

Mirrors In Russian Women’S Autobiographical Writing: The Self Reflected In Works By Alla Demidova And Vera Luknitskaia, Karin Sarsenov

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

In autobiographical writing, the mirror is not only a privileged metaphor for the genre as a whole; it also functions as a primary administrator of boundaries, demarcating the space of the self from the foreign, the chaotic, and the unknown. The mirror metaphor is not gender neutral: in Western elite culture the mirror has served to reinforce the patriarchal dichotomy between man/mind and woman/body, prompting Luce Irigaray’s view of the mirror as “a male-directed instrument of literal objectification.” This article examines two women-authored texts in which the mirror motif is fundamental to the construction of the autobiographical ...


Mirrors In Russian Decadent And Symbolist Prose: Valery Briusov And Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Kirsten Lodge Jun 2010

Mirrors In Russian Decadent And Symbolist Prose: Valery Briusov And Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Kirsten Lodge

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Examining mirror imagery in the prose works “In the Mirror” by Valery Briusov and The Resurrected Gods: Leonardo da Vinci by Dmitry Merezhkovsky, both published in 1902, this article situates the Russian Decadent and Symbolist associations of the mirror in the pan-European literary and philosophical context. The mirror constitutes the threshold of manifold oppositions, including life and art, life and death, and reality and dream or imagination. It is a realm of alternative reality, magical and seductive, as in Briusov’s story, or potentially both demonic and divine, as in Merezhkovsky’s novel. In accordance with the Romantic tradition as ...


Marcus C. Levitt And Tatyana Novikov, Eds. Times Of Trouble: Violence In Russian Literature And Culture, Walter F. Kolonosky Jan 2010

Marcus C. Levitt And Tatyana Novikov, Eds. Times Of Trouble: Violence In Russian Literature And Culture, Walter F. Kolonosky

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

While violence is a given in Russian literature and culture, its presence does not suggest that Russian civilization is characterized by a bloody monochromatic hue…


Toward A Meta Understanding Of Reality: The Problem Of Reference In Russian Metarealist Poetry , Albena Lutzkanova-Vassileva Jun 2005

Toward A Meta Understanding Of Reality: The Problem Of Reference In Russian Metarealist Poetry , Albena Lutzkanova-Vassileva

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Through an in-depth analysis of Russian metarealist poetry, the paper seeks to undermine the increasingly popular belief in the self-referential nature of postmodern literature and deconstructive writing. To challenge the conviction that postmodern texts have cut off literary discourse from reality, the author focuses on the writing of Olga Sedakova and Elena Shvarts. Her analysis of Sedakova's Vrata, Okna, Arki attempts to draw a parallel between the schools of Russian symbolism and metarealism, and demonstrate the increased referential potential of metarealist writing. While symbolism juxtaposes the mundane reality here to the eternal spiritual world beyond, she argues in the ...


Nabokov, Dostoevski, Proust: Despair , Timothy L. Parrish Jun 2004

Nabokov, Dostoevski, Proust: Despair , Timothy L. Parrish

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Although Nabokov criticism has long identified Despair with Dostoevski, critics have for the most part addressed Despair in terms of how it either attacks or validates Dostoevski and thus have understood Nabokov to be speaking primarily about Dostoevski's achievement as a novelist. As I argue, Despair revises Dostoevski as a sly assertion of Nabokov's paradoxical aesthetic independence, and does so through the medium of Marcel Proust. It predicts the more obvious Proustian influence that critics have noticed in Nabokov's later works. In Despair Proust gives Nabokov the fundamental modernist narrative that makes an artist's coming to ...


Recollecting Wondrous Moments: Father Pushkin, Mother Russia, And Intertextual Memory In Tatyana Tolstaya's "Night" And "Limpopo", Karen R. Smith Jun 2004

Recollecting Wondrous Moments: Father Pushkin, Mother Russia, And Intertextual Memory In Tatyana Tolstaya's "Night" And "Limpopo", Karen R. Smith

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

With their references to Alexander Pushkin, Tolstaya's "Night" and "Limpopo" respond to the cultural crisis of 1980s Russia, where literary language, bent for so long into the service of totalitarianism, suffers the scars of amnesia. Recycling Pushkin's tropes, particularly his images of feminine inspiration derived from the cultural archetype of Mother Russia, Tolstaya's stories appear nostalgically to rescue Russia's literary memory, but they also accentuate the crisis of the present, the gap between the apparel of literary language and that which it purports to clothe. "Night," an ironic reworking of Pushkin's "Queen of Spades," dismantles ...


"Playing A Game Of Worlds": Postmodern Time And The Search For Individual Autonomy In Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire , Jill Leroy-Frazier Jun 2003

"Playing A Game Of Worlds": Postmodern Time And The Search For Individual Autonomy In Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire , Jill Leroy-Frazier

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

This article enters the ongoing critical debate surrounding Pale Fire, as to whether the apparent structure of the novel can be taken at face value. Do the central characters, John Shade and Charles Kinbote, constitute separate voices within the novel, as poet and commentator respectively, or is one in fact the fictional creation of the other? Arguing that the dispute arises out of a set of critical assumptions that negate at least some of the possible implications of Nabokov's own views of art's purpose and function, the essay asserts that Nabokov's disbelief in objective reality renders the ...


The "Incongruous Stranger" As Structural Element In The Novels Of Elsa Triolet, Lorene M. Birden Jun 2001

The "Incongruous Stranger" As Structural Element In The Novels Of Elsa Triolet, Lorene M. Birden

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

In Language in Literature, Roman Jakobson underlines the presence of a certain device, which he calls he superfluous passerby, in Russian realist literature. This element has traveled into French literature with a Russian-born expatriate novelist. Several works by Eisa Triolet present this type of character, and extend the device structurally. In this device a character can provoke a new development in plot or character relations. Such a character has no direct relationship to the characters or events portrayed. Therefore, as opposed to classic novelistic perspective, this incongruous and unknown character shifts and blurs characterial hierarchy. The superfluous passerby displaces the ...


The Missing Set: How Landscape Acts In The Cherry Orchard , Ann Leone Jun 2000

The Missing Set: How Landscape Acts In The Cherry Orchard , Ann Leone

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Why is the cherry orchard almost entirely absent from the stage? How does this absent landscape function dramatically? Chekhov's own garden expertise supports a study of the way that landscape in this play—its presence at once pervasive and virtual—both transcends and subverts the functions of setting. Such a reading of the function of landscape leads us to new ways of answering old questions about the play, as well: is the orchard more or other than a symbol? is the play a comedy? I examine the features and conventions of an orchard and garden landscape as they collide ...


Introduction: Centrifuge And Fragmentation, Helena Goscilo Jan 2000

Introduction: Centrifuge And Fragmentation, Helena Goscilo

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

The seismic changes inaugurated by desovietization not only recast the entire framework of Russia's cultural priorities, production, and reception, but ultimately revised fundamental concepts of what constitutes culture…


Literature On The Margins: Russian Fiction In The Nineties, Mark Lipovetsky Jan 2000

Literature On The Margins: Russian Fiction In The Nineties, Mark Lipovetsky

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Despite shrinkage in print runs and readership, canonical Literature during the 1990s developed along three major lines that connected writers of various generations in both aesthetics and philosophy: realism, exemplified in Georgii Vladimov's prize-winning novel, The General and His Army (1994); postmodernism, richly represented in the fiction of Vladimir Sorokin, Viktor Pelevin, and Vladimir Sharov; and neosentimentalism, as derived from the naturalism of early perestroika, most consistently embraced by Liudmila Petrushevskaia, Liudmila Ulitskaia, and, in his paternal profession de foi, one of Russia's chief theorists of postmodernism, Mikhail Epshtein. All three tendencies aspired to the status of mainstream ...


Russian Club Life, Nadezhda Azhgikhina Jan 2000

Russian Club Life, Nadezhda Azhgikhina

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

While the 1990s in Russia witnessed a marked decrease in the officially sponsored clubs that organized Soviet citizens' leisure hours along ideologically approved collective lines, they also ushered in a host of new, diverse clubs closer to Western models. The broad range encompassed political, business, professional, and sports clubs, as well as health clubs, the night clubs that received bemused coverage by the Western press, and the clubs created primarily by and for the New Russians. Among the last, the exclusive English Club, which ruled as Moscow's premier club, combined stylish relaxation amidst lavish surroundings with a more covert ...


The Siberian Museum Games , Mikhail Gnedovsky Jan 2000

The Siberian Museum Games , Mikhail Gnedovsky

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

The wholly unexpected and anomalous award of the prestigious European Council prize to the Krasnoiarsk Museum Center (Siberia) in 1998 for "contributing to the development of European ideas" caused a minor international sensation. A refurbished version of the former Lenin Museum, which opened during glasnost, the Museum Center became an experimental exhibition ground that showed remarkable imagination and resourcefulness in realizing the potential of an excellently equipped building, advantageous location, and enormous open spaces. Collaborating with lively local movements, the Center simultaneously imported traveling exhibits from other museums and arranged expositions that thematized its geographical identity. The two Biennials organized ...


Playing Nabokov: Performances By Himself And Others , Susan Elizabeth Sweeney Jun 1998

Playing Nabokov: Performances By Himself And Others , Susan Elizabeth Sweeney

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

In 1918, in the Crimea, the adolescent Vladimir Nabokov devised a new pastime: "parodizing a biographic approach" by narrating his own actions aloud. In this self-conscious "game," he orchestrated changes in grammatical person, gender, and tense in order to transform his present experiences into a third-person past, as remembered by a female friend in an imaginary future. Staging his own biography in this fashion allowed Nabokov to resolve the inherent conflict between his life and his art. Indeed, he went on to play the game of narrating his own biography throughout his memoir, Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited, and in ...


From Exile To Affirmation: The Poetry Of Joseph Brodsky, David Patterson Jun 1993

From Exile To Affirmation: The Poetry Of Joseph Brodsky, David Patterson

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

This article examines the relation between the exile of the poet from his homeland and the "exile of the word." The notion of the exile of the word pertains to the poet's problem of re-introducing meaning to the word—an excess of meaning that conveys more than the word can normally convey—through his poetry. Showing how the poet in exile becomes a poet of exile, the article examines what poetry has to do with a larger difficulty of exile and homelessness in human life. Brodsky's poetry, the article argues, addresses this very difficulty. The article concludes that ...


In Search Of A Synthesis: Reflections On Two Interpretations Of Edvard Radzinskii's Lunin Or The Death Of Jacques, Recorded In The Presence Of The Master, Maia Kipp Aug 1989

In Search Of A Synthesis: Reflections On Two Interpretations Of Edvard Radzinskii's Lunin Or The Death Of Jacques, Recorded In The Presence Of The Master, Maia Kipp

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

This article examines the contemporary Soviet dramatist Edward Radzinskii's Lunin, the second play in the author's "historical-philosophical trilogy" [Conversations with Socrates (1969), Lunin (1979), and Theater at the Time of Nero and Seneca (1981)]. All three dramas address the relationship between the intellectual and authority. As a philosophical play and as part of the trilogy, Lunin raises universal ethical questions: the banality of power, the paranoia of ideological dogmatists, the fate of the individual who refuses to compromise in the face of a system which will not tolerate any denial of its authority. As an historical play, Lunin ...


Nabokov's "Torpid Smoke", Leona Toker Jun 1988

Nabokov's "Torpid Smoke", Leona Toker

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Nabokov's short stories are polished self-contained works of art. However, like his novels and poems, they can be profitably read in the light of their place in his general canon. This place is determined by the time when each story was written and by the way in which other works enrich and elucidate the significance of its images.

The short fiction of Nabokov's Berlin period has been regarded largely as akin to studies that a painter makes in preparation for a big picture. In some cases, however, the stories seem to serve as safety valves for the urgent ...


Nabokov's Amphiphorical Gestures , S. E. Sweeney Jan 1987

Nabokov's Amphiphorical Gestures , S. E. Sweeney

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

In addition to using two primary kinds of metaphors (those that clarify descriptions, and those that develop into leitmotifs), Nabokov's fiction demonstrates a third kind that is characterized by extended analogies, baroque, seemingly uncontrolled imagery and rhetoric, and, most importantly, fundamental ambiguity. Although this inherent ambiguity is developed throughout the comparison, it is never resolved. Because of this distinguishing characteristic, I have named such metaphors "amphiphors," after one of Nabokov's own neologisms. Nabokov's comments in Nikolai Gogol and Lectures on Russian Literature, as well as direct allusions to Gogol embedded in a few amphiphors, suggest that this ...


Practicing Nostalgia: Time And Memory In Nabokov's Early Russian Fiction , Philip Sicker Jan 1987

Practicing Nostalgia: Time And Memory In Nabokov's Early Russian Fiction , Philip Sicker

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Nabokov's earliest Russian fiction reveals his lifelong preoccupation with time and his complex strategies for preserving heightened moments of experience. Dissatisfied with the brevity of involuntary (Proustian) recall, his émigré protagonists strive to inhabit their Russian past more fully through a painstaking process of aesthetic re-creation. Beginning with a handful of vivid recollections, the hero of Mary gradually fabricates a past that is more intensely real than the original. Nabokov's most mature characters, however, recognize the solipsistic danger and utility of living in a vanished mental paradise. Turning to the present, they find unexpected beauty in the arrangement ...


Paul Celan's Linguistic Mysticism, Shira Wolosky Jan 1986

Paul Celan's Linguistic Mysticism, Shira Wolosky

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Paul Celan's works often seem to grant to language an autonomy that isolates poetic from extra-poetic concerns, including religious ones. The status of language in Celan, however, should be assessed in the context of its status within Judaic mysticism. While the importance of mysticism for Celan has been recognized, the degree to which Judaic mysticism differs from other mystical traditions has been less so. This is especially true with regard to the place given to language in the Kabbalah, and the structures and assumptions that its conception of language implies. Of importance to Celan, for example, is the Kabbalistic ...


The Order Of Bourgeois Protest, Geoffey Waite Jan 1986

The Order Of Bourgeois Protest, Geoffey Waite

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Relatively little theoretical work is currently being produced by Western "Leftists" on committed protest culture. Simultaneously and not by chance, Western Marxism has drifted increasingly away from solidarity with the concept and practice of the vanguard party and toward a more or less easy compact with the problematic of poststructuralism and postmodernity. This relative paucity of discussion of commitment and protest stands in significant relationship to two critical moments: first, a powerful, overtheorized tradition of Western Marxist debate about commitment and protest (Benjamin, Sartre, Barthes, Marcuse, Adorno, among others); second, a wide-spread, undertheorized work-a-day practice of "traditional" liberal ...


Besmirching "Bezhin Meadow": Ivan Bunin's "Night Conversation.", Thomas Gaiton Marullo Jan 1985

Besmirching "Bezhin Meadow": Ivan Bunin's "Night Conversation.", Thomas Gaiton Marullo

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Bunin's "Night Conversation" (1912) counters two conceptions of Russian cultural life that he considered erroneous: the intelligentsia's idealization of the narod or "folk" and their reputed adherence to the realist tradition of Russian literature. Bunin does this by fashioning "Night Conversation" as a polemic with Turgenev's "Bezhin Meadow" and by carrying his argument into three facets of his work: portrait, conversation, and setting. "Night Conversation" can thus be seen as marking a crucial transition in the portrayal of the folk in Russian literature as well as in Bunin's own evolution as a writer. It signals a ...


Introduction, Michael Holquist Sep 1984

Introduction, Michael Holquist

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Introduction to the special issue on Mikhail Bakhtin


Bakhtin And Buber: Problems Of Dialogic Imagination, Nina Perlina Sep 1984

Bakhtin And Buber: Problems Of Dialogic Imagination, Nina Perlina

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Recent publications of biographical materials on Mikhail Bakhtin demonstrate that he was familiar with the writings of Martin Buber. The philosophical and aesthetic verbal expression of Buber's ideas within the time-spatial universe of Bakhtin's own awareness allows us to discuss this obvious biographical evidence in a wider cultural context. The central opposition of Buber's and Bakhtin's systems is the dialogic dichotomous pair: "Ich und Du" (I and Thou), or "myself and another." Bakhtin's dialogic imagination is rooted in the binaries of the subject-object relations which he initially formulated as "responsibility" and "addressivity," that is to ...


Bakhtin's "Theory" Of Genre, Clive Thomson Sep 1984

Bakhtin's "Theory" Of Genre, Clive Thomson

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

The originality of Bakhtin's fragmentary and partial theory of literary genre is underlined in this article. Bakhtin's reflexion on genre is very different from that of his Formalist contemporaries. Instead of proposing elaborate typologies or generic categories, Bakhtin more often devotes his attention to showing that a meaningful approach to the topic must be diachronic. From an epistemological point of view, the possibility of exact duplication or repetition of the same generic device from text to text is denied. Each text (or reading of a text) is a new performance in which generic material is reworked and re-presented ...


Characters In Bakhtin's Theory, Anthony Wall Sep 1984

Characters In Bakhtin's Theory, Anthony Wall

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

A common focus in many modern theories of literature is a reassessment of the traditional view of the character in a narrative text. The position that this article defends is that a revised conception is necessary for an understanding of the means by which dialogism is said to function in novelistic discourse. Revising the notion does not, however, involve discarding it outright as recent theories of the subject would have us do. Nor can we simply void it of all "psychological" content as suggested by many structuralist proposals. To retain Bakhtin's concept of the notion of character, we must ...


Bakhtin And Tolstoy, Ann Shukman Sep 1984

Bakhtin And Tolstoy, Ann Shukman

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

This article is a study of the way Bakhtin compared and contrasted Dostoevsky and Tolstoy throughout his career. Special attention is given to Bakhtin's two "Prefaces" of 1929 and 1930 to Resurrection and to the dramas in the Collected Literary Works edition of Tolstoy. Bakhtin's view of Tolstoy is not as narrow as is generally thought. Tolstoy is seen as one of many figures of European literature that make up Bakhtin's literary consciousness. He serves as a point of contrast with Dostoevsky and is described as belonging to an older, more rigid, monologic tradition. Bakhtin's prefaces ...