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On the Fringes of Literature and Digital Media Culture

Perspectives from Eastern and Western Europe

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Edited by Irena Barbara Kalla, Patrycja Poniatowska and Dorota Michułka

On the Fringes of Literature and Digital Media Culture offers a polyphonic account of mutual interpenetrations of literature and new media. Shifting its focus from the personal to the communal and back again, the volume addresses such individual experiences as immersion and emotional reading, offers insights into collective processes of commercialisation and consumption of new media products and explores the experience and mechanisms of interactivity, convergence culture and participatory culture. Crucially, the volume also shows convincingly that, though without doubt global, digital culture and new media have their varied, specifically local facets and manifestations shaped by national contingencies. The interplay of the common subtext and local colour is discussed by the contributors from Eastern Europe and the Western world.

Contributors are: Justyna Fruzińska, Dirk de Geest, Maciej Jakubowiak, Michael Joyce, Kinga Kasperek, Barbara Kaszowska-Wandor, Aleksandra Małecka, Piotr Marecki, Łukasz Mirocha, Aleksandra Mochocka, Emilya Ohar, Mariusz Pisarski, Anna Ślósarz, Dawn Stobbart, Jean Webb, Indrė Žakevičienė, Agata Zarzycka.
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World War II in Andreï Makine’s Historiographic Metafiction

‘No One Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Forgotten’

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Helena Duffy

Can it be ever possible to write about war in a work of fiction? asks a protagonist of one of Makine’s strongly metafictional and intensely historical novels. Helena Duffy’s World War II in Andreï Makine’s Historiographic Metafiction redirects this question at the Franco-Russian author’s fiction itself by investigating its portrayal of Soviet involvement in the struggle against Hitler. To write back into the history of the Great Fatherland War its unmourned victims — invalids, Jews, POWs, women or starving Leningraders — is the self-acknowledged ambition of a novelist committed to the postmodern empowerment of those hitherto silenced by dominant historiographies. Whether Makine succeeds at giving voice to those whose suffering jarred with the triumphalist narrative of the war concocted by Soviet authorities is the central concern of Duffy’s book.
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Old Russian Birchbark Letters

A Pragmatic Approach

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Simeon Dekker

This study is devoted to a corpus of Old Russian letters, written on pieces of birchbark. These unique texts from Novgorod and surroundings give us an exceptional impression of everyday life in medieval Russian society. In this study, the birchbark letters are addressed from a pragmatic angle. Linguistic parameters are identified that shed light on the degree to which literacy had gained ground in communicative processes. It is demonstrated that the birchbark letters occupy an intermediate position between orality and literacy. On the one hand, oral habits of communication persisted, as reflected in how the birchbark letters are phrased; on the other hand, literate modes of expression emerged, as seen in the development of normative conventions and literate formulae.
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Vladimir Nabokov’s Lectures on Literature

Portraits of the Artist as Reader and Teacher

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Edited by Ben Dhooge and Jürgen Pieters

This volume offers insight into Vladimir Nabokov as a reader and a teacher, and sheds new light on the relationship of his views on literary aesthetics to the development of his own oeuvre. The essays included focus on the lectures on European and Russian literature that Nabokov gave at a number of American universities in the years between his arrival in the United States and the publication of Lolita. Nabokov’s treatment of literary masterpieces by Austen, Cervantes, Chekhov, Dickens, Flaubert, Gogol, Kafka, Joyce, Proust and Stevenson is assessed by experts on these authors.

Contributors are: Lara Delage-Toriel, Ben Dhooge, Yannicke Chupin, Roy Groen, Luc Herman, Flora Keersmaekers, Arthur Langeveld, Geert Lernout, Vivian Liska, Ilse Logie, Jürgen Pieters, Gerard de Vries.
Open Access

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Edited by Tanja Malycheva and Isabel Wünsche

Marianne Werefkin and the Women Artists in Her Circle traces the relationships between the modernist artists in Werefkin’s circle, including Erma Bossi, Elisabeth Epstein, Natalia Goncharova, Elizaveta Kruglikova, Else Lasker-Schüler, Marta Liepiņa-Skulme, Elena Luksch-Makowsky, and Maria Marc. The book demonstrates that their interactions were dominated not primarily by national ties, but rather by their artistic ideas, intellectual convictions, and gender roles; it offers an analysis of the various artistic scenes, the places of exchange, and the artists’ sources of inspiration. Specifically focusing on issues of cosmopolitan culture, transcultural dialogue, gender roles, and the building of new artistic networks, the collection of essays re-evaluates the contributions of these artists to the development of modern art.

Contributors: Shulamith Behr, Marina Dmitrieva, Simone Ewald, Bernd Fäthke, Olga Furman, Petra Lanfermann, Tanja Malycheva, Galina Mardilovich, Antonia Napp, Carla Pellegrini Rocca, Dorothy Price, Hildegard Reinhardt, Kornelia Röder, Kimberly A. Smith, Laima Laučkaitė-Surgailienė, Baiba Vanaga, and Isabel Wünsche
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Edited by Tomas Balkelis and Violeta Davoliūtė

Population Displacement in Lithuania in the XXth Century: Experiences, Identities and Legacies is an edited volume written by historians from several countries offering a series of ground-breaking case studies on forced migration in Lithuania during and between the two World Wars. Starting with the premise that the mass movement of peoples during and after the Second World War needs to be understood in relation to the population displacement of the First World War, the authors draw on theoretical perspectives ranging from entangled histories, cultural theory and studies of nationalism to trace the ethnic, social and cultural transformation of Lithuanian society caused by the displacement of Lithuanians, Poles, Jews and Germans.

Contributors are: Tomas Balkelis, Daiva Dapkutė, Violeta Davoliūtė, Andrea Griffante, Ruth Leiserowitz, Klaus Richter, Vasilijus Safronovas, Vitalija Stravinskienė, Arūnas Streikus and Theodore R. Weeks.
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Between Past Orthodoxies and the Future of Globalization

Contemporary Philosophical Problems

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Edited by Alexander N. Chumakov and William C. Gay

For over a quarter century Russian scholars have operated apart from past ideological constraints and have been discussing in new ways the most acute problems of Russia and of the world community as a whole. Between Past Orthodoxies and the Future of Globalization makes available in English current research by leading thinkers in Russia in philosophy, political theory, and related fields. At the international level, one group of essays articulates Russian perspectives on key global issues. At the national level, another group of essays delivers analyses of the global dimensions in a variety of current issues in Russia. Taken together, the fourteen chapters of this book demonstrate the relevance and vitality of contemporary Russian philosophy to the study of globalization.

Contributors are:
Akop P. Nazaretyan, Alexander N. Chumakov, Alexander V. Katsura, Anastasia V. Mitrofanova, Ilia V. Ilyin, Ivan A. Aleshkovskiy, Leonid E. Grinin, Olga G. Leonova, Pavel S. Seleznev, Sergey A. Nikolsky, Tatiana A. Alekseeva, Valentina G. Fedotova, Vladimir N. Porus, Vladimir V. Mironov, William C. Gay, Yakov A. Plyais
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Arts and a Nation

The Role of Visual Arts and Artists in the Making of the Latvian Identity, 1905-1940

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Suzanne Pourchier-Plasseraud

Focusing on the role of arts in the construction of national identity, Suzanne Pourchier-Plasseraud has chosen to study the case of a country lacking an ancient state history of its own, Latvia. This book analyses the part played by the visual arts in transmuting the cultural concept of a nation, advocated by a small intelligentsia, into a widespread claim for independence. By the end of the 19th century, fretting under Russian political domination and German economic and cultural supremacy, the Latvians turned back to their own language, culture and folklore, with a special interest for their dainas, their timeless common heritage rooted into a mythical golden age. Latvian artists thus found themselves entrusted with the mission of creating a national iconographic representation and a specifically Latvian art, freed from Russian and German influences. The author shows how the links between the cultural and political spheres evolved between 1905 and 1940, including during the period of authoritarian government preceding WWII. An enlightening contribution to understanding how art and history can be turned into social and political instruments, this book reaches far beyond the Latvian case to a European and even global scope.

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Theory of Religious Cycles

Tradition, Modernity, and the Bahá’í Faith

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Mikhail Sergeev

In Theory of Religious Cycles: Tradition, Modernity and the Bahá’í Faith Mikhail Sergeev offers a new interpretation of the Soviet period of Russian history as a phase within the religious evolution of humankind by developing a theory of religious cycles, which he applies to modernity and to all the major world faiths of Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

Sergeev argues that in the course of its evolution religion passes through six common phases—formative, orthodox, classical, reformist, critical, and post-critical. Modernity, which was started by the European Enlightenment, represents the critical phase of Christianity, a systemic crisis that could be overcome with the appearance of new religious movements such as the Bahá’í Faith, which offers a spiritual extension of the modern worldview.
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Irena Veisaitė

Tolerance and involvement

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Yves Plasseraud

Irena Veisaitė is held in deep esteem throughout her country. This volume is an attempt to relate the difficult journey of her remarkable life against the backdrop of the complex history of Lithuania and its Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews).
After being rescued by Christian Lithuanian families and having survived the Holocaust Irena Veisaitė devoted herself to study and creative work. She was a memorable lecturer, respected theatre critic, associate film director, and also founder and chairman of the Open Society Fund (Soros Foundation) which made an invaluable contribution to the process of democratisation in Lithuania.
Irena Veisaitė made it her life’s work to speak up for dialogue and mutual understanding and believes that even in the most difficult circumstances it is possible to preserve one’s humanity. Having lived through some of the major atrocities of the twentieth century, her insistence on the need for tolerance has inspired many.