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Libertinage in Russian Culture and Literature

A Bio-History of Sexualities at the Threshold of Modernity

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Alexei Lalo

Much of the previous scholarship on Russia's literary discourses of sexuality and eroticism in the Silver Age was built on applying European theoretical models (from psychoanalysis to feminist theory) to Russia's modernization. This book argues that, at the turn into the twentieth century, Russian popular culture for the first time found itself in direct confrontation with the traditional high cultures of the upper classes and intelligentsia, producing modernized representations of sexuality. This Russian tradition of conflicted representations, heretofore misassessed by literary history, emerges as what Foucault would call a full-blown “bio-history” of Russian culture: a history of indigenous representations of sexuality and the eroticized body capable of innovation on its own terms, not just those derivative from Europe.

Western Crime Fiction Goes East

The Russian Pinkerton Craze 1907-1934

Series:

Boris Dralyuk

This book examines the staggering popularity of early-twentieth-century Russian detective serials. Traditionally maligned as “Pinkertonovshchina,” these appropriations of American and British detective stories featuring Nat Pinkerton, Nick Carter, Sherlock Holmes, Ethel King, and scores of other sleuths swept the Russian reading market in successive waves between 1907 and 1917, and famously experienced a “red” resurgence in the 1920s under the aegis of Nikolai Bukharin. The book presents the first holistic view of “Pinkertonovshchina” as a phenomenon, and produces a working model of cross-cultural appropriation and reception. The “red Pinkerton” emerges as a vital “missing link” between pre- and post-Revolutionary popular literature, and marks the fitful start of a decades-long negotiation between the regime, the author, and the reading masses.

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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.