Facets of Russian Irrationalism between Art and Life

Mystery inside Enigma


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Russia is an enigmatic, mysterious country, situated between East and West not only spatially, but also mentally. Or so it is traditionally perceived in Western Europe and the Anglophone world at large. One of the distinctive features of Russian culture is its irrationalism, which revealed itself diversely in Russian life and thought, literature, music and visual arts, and has survived to the present day. Bridging the gap in existing scholarship, the current volume is an attempt at an integral and multifaceted approach to this phenomenon, and launches the study of Russian irrationalism in philosophy, theology, literature and the arts of the last two hundred years, together with its reflections in Russian reality.

Contributors: Tatiana Chumakova, David Gillespie, Arkadii Goldenberg, Kira Gordovich, Rainer Grübel, Elizabeth Harrison, Jeremy Howard, Aleksandr Ivashkin, Elena Kabkova, Sergei Kibalnik, Oleg Kovalov, Alexander McCabe, Barbara Olaszek, Oliver Ready, Oliver Smith, Margarita Odesskaia, Ildikó Mária Rácz, Lyudmila Safronova, Marilyn Schwinn Smith, Henrieke Stahl, Olga Stukalova, Olga Tabachnikova, Christopher John Tooke, and Natalia Vinokurova.

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Olga Tabachnikova is a Lecturer in Russian at the University of Central Lancashire and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bath. There she obtained two PhDs (Mathematics , 1995; Franco-Russian Studies, 2007). She has numerous publications on Russian literature and culture.
Introduction. Olga Tabachnikova, Rationalising Russian Irrationalism

Part I: On the Place of Irrationalism in the Russian History of Ideas

Chapter 1. Barbara Olaszek, The Traditions of Rationalism in Russian Culture of the Pre-Soviet Period
Chapter 2. Tatiana Chumakova, Irrationalism in Ancient Russia
Chapter 3. Oliver Smith, Ethos versus Pathos: The Ontologisation of Knowledge in Russian Philosophy
Chapter 4. Christopher John Tooke, Irrationalism and anti-Semitism in Late-tsarist Literature
Chapter 5. Natalia Vinokurova, Russian Semiotics of Behaviour, or can a Russian Person be Regarded as ‘Homo Economicus’?
Chapter 6. Elizabeth Harrison, ‘Fides et ratio’: Catholicism, Rationalism and Mysticism in Russian Literary Culture of the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Part II: Russian Classics and Their Influence in Space and Time

Chapter 7. Arkadii Goldenberg, The Irrational Basis of Gogol’’s Mythopoetics
Chapter 8. Sergei Kibal’nik, On the Philosophical Sources and Nature of Dostoevskii’s Anti-Rationalism
Chapter 9. Alexander McCabe, Shifting French Perspectives on Dostoevskian Anti-Rationalism
Chapter 10. Margarita Odesskaia, The Concept of Love and Beauty in the Works of Turgenev
Chapter 11. Olga Tabachnikova, Patterns of European Irrationalism, from Source to Estuary: Johann Georg Hamann, Lev Shestov and Anton Chekhov – On Both Sides of Reason
Chapter 12. Rainer Grübel, Lev Tolstoi and Vasilii Rozanov: Two Fundamental(ist) Types of Russian Irrationalism

Part III: The Silver Age

Chapter 13. Henrieke Stahl, From Neo-Kantian Theory of Cognition to Christian Intellectual Mysticism:
Logical Voluntarism in Vladimir Solov’ev and Andrei Belyi
Chapter 14. Marilyn Schwinn Smith, Aleksei Remizov’s Pliashushchii demon – tanets i slovo: Cultural Memory, Dreams and Demons
Chapter 15. Ildikó Mária Rácz, Irrational Elements in Ivan Bunin’s Short Story “The Grammar of Love”
Part IV: Russian Culture into the 20th Century and Beyond
Chapter 16. Jeremy Howard, Viewing Askance: Irrationalist Aspects in Russian Art from Fedotov to Malevich and into the Beyond
Chapter 17. Aleksandr Ivashkin, Symbols, Metaphors and Irrationalities in Twentieth-Century Music
Chapter 18. Oleg Kovalov, The Irrational in Russian Cinema (A Short Course)
Chapter 19. Olga Stukalova and Elena Kabkova, The Rational and Irrational Standard: Russian Architecture as a Facet of Culture
Part V: Soviet and Post-Soviet Literature
Chapter 20. Kira Gordovich, The Irrational in the Perception of Andrey Platonov’s Characters
Chapter 21. Liudmila Safronova, The Metaphysics of Numbers in the Eurasian Artistic Mentality: Viktor Pelevin’s The Dialectics of the Transition Period (From Nowhere to No Place)
Chapter 22. Oliver Ready, “Questions to which Reason has no Answer”: Iurii Mamleev’s Irrationalism in European Context
Chapter 23. David Gillespie, Vladimir Sorokin and the Return of History
Specialists in Russian cultural and intellectual history, arts, philosophy, and particularly Russian literature, plus more general readership of all those interested in Russia, its distinctive cultural features and national identity.
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