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Jan IJ. van der Meer

The present book for the first time links the thoughts of modern Western sociologists of literature with an overall description of the literary activities, attitudes, and views in late eighteenth-century Poland. Inspired by the studies of Bourdieu on literary fields and, more particular, S.J. Schmidt's study of the history of the rise and development of the social system 'literature' in Germany in the eighteenth-century (cf. Schmidt 1989), the author tries to establish whether Poland witnessed the rise of a more complex and (relatively) autonomous literary field or, as Schmidt calls it, a functionally differentiated literary system in the age of the reign of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski (1764-1795).
Functionally differentiated literary systems - systems in which an increased number of literary agents and institutions produce, sell, buy, and criticize literary works according to capitalist principles - are the literary systems of today. As most scholars believe, their origins are to be found in most European nations in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Did such a modern literary system, albeit with certain limitations, rise in Poland in the years of the rule of Stanislaw A. Poniatowski? - this is the question the author of the present volume will attempt to answer. This volume is of interest to theoreticians and empirical researchers approaching literature from a sociological point of view, historians, and, of course, slavists interested in eighteenth-century literary developments in Poland.

The Society Tale in Russian Literature

From Odoevskii to Tolstoi

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Edited by Neil Cornwell

This collection of essays is the first book to appear on the society tale in nineteenth-century Russian fiction. Written by a team of British and American scholars, the volume is based on a symposium on the society tale held at the University of Bristol in 1996. The essays examine the development of the society tale in Russian fiction, from its beginnings in the 1820s until its subsumption into the realist novel, later in the century. The contributions presented vary in approach from the text or author based study to the generic or the sociological. Power, gender and discourse theory all feature strongly and the volume should be of considerable interest to students and scholars of nineteenth-century Russian literature. There are essays covering Pushkin, Lermontov, Odoevsky and Tolstoi, as well as more minor writers, and more general and theoretical approaches.

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Edited by Olga Tabachnikova

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.

The Conscience of Humankind

Literature and Traumatic Experiences

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Edited by Elrud Ibsch, Douwe Fokkema and Joachim von der Thüsen

The traumatic experiences of persecution and genocide have changed traditional views of literature. The discussion of historical truth versus aesthetic autonomy takes an unexpected turn when confronted with the experiences of the victims of the Holocaust, the Gulag Archipelago, the Cultural Revolution, Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. The question is whether - and, if so, to what extent - literary imagination may depart from historical truth. In general, the first reactions to traumatic historical experiences are autobiographical statements, written by witnesses of the events. However, the second and third generations, the sons and daughters of the victims as well as of the victimizers, tend to free themselves from this generic restriction and claim their own way of remembering the history of their parents and grandparents. They explore their own limits of representation, and feel free to use a variety of genres; they turn to either realist or postmodernist, ironic or grotesque modes of writing.

Transitions of Lithuanian Postmodernism

Lithuanian Literature in the Post-Soviet Period

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Edited by Mindaugas Kvietkauskas

In 1990, Lithuania was the first of fifteen Soviet Republics to proclaim its independence from the USSR and, in doing so, dealt a fatal blow to this superpower. Overnight, this small country, whose very existence had been erased from the world map for 50 years, became Post-Soviet and proclaimed its return to a multicultural Europe. So, what happened then in the lives of Lithuanians? How did they survive the collapse of a planned economy and the crisis of values? How does Lithuania, together with the other Baltic countries, which had once been the most prosperous Republics in the USSR, come to terms with the fact that they are now among the poorest member nations in another transnational configuration – the European Union? These issues are actively addressed in the works of contemporary Lithuanian writers, whose texts are analyzed in the collection of articles, Transitions of Lithuanian Postmodernism: Lithuanian Literature in the Post-Soviet Period. Utilizing various perspectives, leading Lithuanian literary scholars discuss identity transformations and the discourse of reinterpretations of the past in contemporary Lithuanian prose, poetry, essay writing, and memoir. This book reveals both existentially universal dramas and specific experiences that arise from this unique double-post (Post-Soviet and postmodern) condition.