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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.

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.

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.

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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

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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Edited by Dobrota Pucherova and Robert Gafrik

This collective monograph analyzes post-1989 Central and Eastern Europe through the paradigm of postcoloniality. Based on the assumption that both Western and Soviet imperialism emerged from European modernity, the book is a contribution to the development of a global postcolonial discourse based on a more extensive and nuanced geohistorical comparativism. It suggests that the inclusion of East-Central Europe in European identity might help resolve postcolonialism’s difficulties in coming to terms with both postcolonial and neo-colonial dimensions of contemporary Europe. Analyzing post-communist identity reconstructions under the impact of transformative political, economic and cultural experiences such as changes in perception of time and space (landscapes, cityscapes), migration and displacement, collective memory and trauma, objectifying gaze, cultural self-colonization, and language as a form of power, the book facilitates a mutually productive dialogue between postcolonialism and post-communism. Together the studies map the rich terrain of contemporary East-Central European creative writing and visual art, the latter highlighted through accompanying illustrations.