The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Literature (Cambridge by Caryl Emerson

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By Caryl Emerson

Russian literature arrived past due at the ecu scene. inside of a number of generations, its nice novelists had surprised - after which conquered - the realm. during this creation to the wealthy and colourful Russian culture, Caryl Emerson weaves a story of ordinary issues and fascinations throughout numerous centuries. starting with conventional Russian narratives (saints' lives, people stories, epic and rogue narratives), the publication strikes via literary heritage chronologically and thematically, juxtaposing literary texts from each one significant interval. distinctive cognizance is given to canonical writers together with Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Bulgakov and Solzhenitsyn, in addition to to a couple present bestsellers from the post-Communist interval. absolutely available to scholars and readers with out wisdom of Russian, the quantity features a thesaurus and pronunciation advisor of key Russian phrases in addition to a listing of worthy secondary works. The ebook may be of serious curiosity to scholars of Russian in addition to of comparative literature.

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Extra info for The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Literature (Cambridge Introductions to Literature)

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5 This is definitely art in the service of life. Overall, however, it was not the “wake-up” function that the Formalists advocated for verbal art as much as a higher degree of autonomy. Literature, they insisted, was a profession and a craft. It could even become a “science” (in Russian, the word for science, nauka, refers not only to empirical hard science but to all scholarship, and to systematic or methodologically consistent thinking in general). Literary creativity – or as the Formalists preferred to call it, “literariness” – had an arsenal of techniques and devices for achieving its effects.

Never before had I broken out from the borders of immense Russia. I rode happily into the sacred river, and my good horse carried me out on the Turkish bank. ”17 Pushkin was never allowed out. This scenario of sealed borders around an immense, unmappable world became another theme, both hair-raising and comic, that lasted right up until the end of the Soviet Union. Russia, so this thesis went, is so big, her borders so impenetrable, her censorship so pervasive, her people so gullible, and her ability to construct whole countries inside herself (with space to spare) so difficult to detect, that the authorities could simply fake the existence of everywhere else.

These are the middle spaces: commercial classes such as merchants, bankers, and Jews; professional classes such as lawyers and professors; and bureaucratic classes of every sort. The compromised heroes here range from the local thieving mayor and his cronies in Gogol’s play The Government Inspector to Anna’s unhappy spouse Aleksei Karenin, government minister made ridiculous by his desire, cruelly satirized by Tolstoy, to improve the plight of human beings through an official commission. If the bureaucrat is modest and oppressed, like the clerk Akaky Akakievich in Gogol’s “The Overcoat,” then we might see (after a fashion) a human face.

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