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Kathryn L. Ambrose

Kathryn Ambrose offers a new approach to the Woman Question in mid- to late-nineteenth-century English, German and Russian literature. Using a methodological framework based on feminist theory and post-structuralism, she provides a re-vision of canonical texts (such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Middlemarch, Effi Briest, Fathers and Children and Anna Karenina) alongside lesser-known works by Emily and Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Theodor Storm, Theodor Fontane, Ivan Turgenev and Leo Tolstoy. Her exploration of the semiotics of barriers – as opposed to the established approach of the semiotics of space – makes for a rewarding reading of this period of literature and establishes new cross-cultural and literary connections between the three countries.

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Kamila Pawlikowska

Anti-Portraits: Poetics of the Face in Modern English, Polish and Russian Literature (1835-1965) is a study of a-physiognomic descriptions of the face. It demonstrates that writers such as George Eliot, Leo Tolstoy, Edgar Allan Poe, Nicolay Gogol, Virginia Woolf and Witold Gombrowicz vigorously resisted the belief that facial features reflect character.

While other studies tend to focus on descriptions which affirm physiognomy, this book examines portraits which question popular face-reading systems and contravene their common premise – the surface-depth principle. Such portraits reveal that physiognomic formula is a cultural construct, invented to abridge, organise and regulate legibility of the human face. Most importantly, strange and ‘unreadable’ fictional faces frequently expose the connection between physiognomic judgement and stereotyping, prejudice and racism.

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Edited by Joe Andrew and Robert Reid

One of the most famous quotations in the history of Russian literature is Fedor Dostoevskii’s alleged assertion that ‘We have all come out from underneath Gogol’s Overcoat’. Even if Dostoevskii never said this, there is a great deal of truth in the comment. Gogol certainly was a profound influence on his work, as were many others. Part of this book’s project is to locate Dostoevskii in relationship to his predecessors and contemporaries. However, the primary aim is to turn the oft-quoted apocryphal comment on its head, to see the profound influence Dostoevskii had on the lives, work and thought of his contemporaries and successors. This influence extends far beyond Russia and beyond literature. Dostoevskii may be seen as the single greatest influence on the sensibilities of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. To a greater or lesser extent those concerned with the creative arts in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have all come out from under Dostoevskii’s ‘Overcoat’.

Aspects of Dostoevskii

Art, Ethics and Faith

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Edited by Robert Reid and Joe Andrew

Perhaps more than any other nineteenth-century Russian writer, Dostoevskii’s continuing popularity rests on his contemporary relevance. The prophetic streak in his creativity gives him the same lasting appeal as dystopian novelists such as Zamiatin and Orwell whom he influenced and whose ethical concerns he anticipated. Religious themes are prominent in his work, too, and, though he was a believer, his interest seems to lie in the tension between faith and unbelief, which was felt as keenly in the Russia of his time as in our own. The nature of Dostoevskii’s art also continues to be debated. The older tendency to disparage his literary method has given way to a recognition of the originality of his techniques, without which his ideological concerns would not have emerged with such thought-provoking clarity. The chapters which comprise this volume address these issues in a range of Dostoevskii’s works, from shorter classics, such as House of the Dead and Notes from Underground to great novels such as Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. This work will be of use to scholars and students of Dostoevskii at all levels as well as to those with an interest in nineteenth-century literature more generally.

Yet Another Europe after 1984

Rethinking Milan Kundera and the Idea of Central Europe

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Edited by Leonidas Donskis

Much of the debates in this book revolves around Milan Kundera and his 1984 essay “The Tragedy of Central Europe.” Kundera wrote his polemical text when the world was pregnant with imminent social and political change, yet that world was still far from realizing that we would enter the last decade of the twentieth century with the Soviet empire and its network of satellite states missing from the political map. Kundera was challenged by Joseph Brodsky and György Konrád for allegedly excluding Russia from the symbolic space of Europe, something the great author deeply believes he never did.
To what extent was Kundera right in assuming that, if to exist means to be present in the eyes of those we love, then Central Europe does not exist anymore, just as Western Europe as we knew it has stopped existing? What were the mental, cultural, and intellectual realities that lay beneath or behind his beautiful and graceful metaphors? Are we justified in rehabilitating political optimism at the beginning of the twenty-first century? Are we able to reconcile the divided memories of Eastern or Central Europe and Western Europe regarding what happened to the world in 1968? And where is Central Europe now?

Getting Over Europe

The Construction of Europe in Serbian Culture

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Zoran Milutinović

The book examines the discursive construction of the representation of “Europe” in the selected writings of leading Serbian writers and intellectuals in the first half of the twentieth century. In addition to being of particular significance in the process of the genesis of our understanding of Europe across the continent, these several decades were crucial for the discursive construction of “Europe” in Serbian culture: when after the end of the Cold War the debate on Europe became possible again, it was on a discursive level to a large extent determined by the stockpile of images and ideas created between the world wars. The book seeks to answer the following questions: who constructed “Europe”, and with what authority? For whom were these constructions intended? How was this representation validated? What purposes was it meant to serve? Which issues were raised in comparing “Europe” with Serbia, and why? Which textual traditions were the elements of this construction borrowed from? How did the construction of the European other define Serbian self-representation? This volume is of interest for all those working in Slavic or East European studies - especially cultural, intellectual and political history of the Balkans - imagology, and European studies.

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Andrew Hammond

The manner in which south-east Europe is viewed by western cultures has been an increasingly important area of study over the last twenty years. During the 1990s, the wars in the former Yugoslavia reactivated denigratory images of the region that many commentators perceived as a new, virulent strain of intra-European prejudice. British Literature and the Balkans is a wide-ranging and original analysis of balkanist discourse in British fiction and travel writing. Through a study of over 300 texts, the volume explores the discourse’s emergence in the imperial nineteenth century and its extensive transformations during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. There will be a particular focus on the ways in which the most significant currents in western thought – Romanticism, empiricism, imperialism, nationalism, communism – have helped to shape the British concept of the Balkans.
The volume will be of interest to those working in the area of European cross-cultural representation in the disciplines of Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, European Studies, Anthropology and History.

Shoreless Bridges

South East European Writing in Diaspora

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Edited by Elka Agoston-Nikolova

Exiles cross borders, become non-mainstream individuals and break through barriers of thought and experience. Forced or chosen detachment can lead to originality of vision, awareness of simultaneous dimensions – in short a writing that challenges boundaries of genre, monolingualism and national literatures.
The writers of the Balkan (Slavic) diaspora offer narratives of critical reflection, strange fusions and unions, representative of the new cultural identities of contemporary Europe.
This volume presents an interesting combination of original writer’s essays (by Tzveta Sofronieva, Goran Stefanovski, Dubravka Ugresic) and academic discussions on the function of such narratives, seeking answers to a number of academic questions, related to the construction of the Self in processes of cultural translation/transmission.

Turgenev

Art, Ideology and Legacy

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Edited by Robert Reid and Joe Andrew

Turgenev is in many ways the most enigmatic of the great nineteenth-century Russian writers. A realist, he was nevertheless drawn towards symbolism and the supernatural in his later career. Renowned for his authentic depictions of Russian life, he spent long periods in Europe and was more Western in outlook than many of his contemporaries. Though he stood aloof from politics, the major political issues of nineteenth-century Russia are central to his fiction. Interest in Turgenev remains strong in the twenty-first century, sustained by the amenability of his work to contemporary critical approaches and also by a recognition of the continuing relevance of his perspective on the perennial complexities of Russia’s relations with Europe. This volume provides ample evidence of this interest. The chapters which comprise it are written by specialists on the writer and cover many aspects of Turgenev’s creativity from his artistic method to such issues as the Jewish Question and Europe. It also examines his cultural legacy - in film and recent popular re-writes of his novels - as well as his influence on writers as diverse as Rozanov and Robert Dessaix. This work will be of interest to students, postgraduates and specialists in the field of Russian literary culture.

Adopting and Remembering Soviet Reality

Life Stories of Lithuanian Women, 1945 – 1970

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Dalia Leinarte

For millions of people, the Soviet experience meant not only living through the torment of Stalinism and the GULAG, the unbelievable destiny of men and women during the 1917 Revolution, civil war, and the Second World War, or those breathtaking, gigantic Socialist construction projects. Many citizens of the former Soviet Union lived “ordinary lives in ordinary times”, where the fate of men and women depended not on armed coercion, but Soviet ideology and propaganda. Adopting and Remembering Soviet Reality contains the stories of ten women, talking about their lives in Soviet Lithuania, one of the annexed Baltic republics. The book gives a compelling account of how, in the last years of Stalin’s rule, after 1945, during the so-called “Khrushchev Thaw”, and in the beginning of the “Stagnation Era”, Soviet ideology transfused the everyday life of women and dictated just about every major aspect of their lives. Based on interviews, the journalistic press of that era, as well as other material, the book reveals how propaganda shaped women’s understanding of family and work responsibilities, child care, interpersonal relationships, romantic love, and friendship.