Of Blizzards, Pistol Shots and Fair Smugglers: Russian Fiction and Middlebrow Strategies in the "Strand Magazine"
Claiming that that the history of the London-based Strand Magazine started with Russian literature would be understandably far-fetched but not extravagantly misleading: the episode with the notorious short novel The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy infamously led to the rift between the enfant terrible W.T. Stead and the future founder of the Strand George Newnes. The deal-breaking disapproval of Tolstoy’s scandalous opus did not, however, result in Newnes’ utter rejection of Russian literature. His new magazine, established shortly after the conflict, was neither straightforwardly Russophile nor openly or implicitly Russophobic unlike many of the periodicals enchafed by the turbulent “Tournament of Shadows”. At the early stages of its existence, the newly founded magazine demonstrated an explicit predilection towards translated rather than domestic fiction, with translations from Russian occupying an important niche among other national literatures. While favouring the renowned, canon-approved authors, such as Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov, the early Strand also displayed a tendency to select the works which could be read as adventure or “healthfully” sensational stories thus conforming to the magazine’s genre policies (predominantly gothic Queen of Spades, multigenred Belkin Tales, nocturne-flavoured Tamagne from A Hero of Our Time). The texts were prefaced by introductory notes, enticing yet unconcerned with factual accuracy (e.g., Lermontov was described as a “fair-haired” man with “large blue eyes”). The notes attempted to both “domesticate” the selected authors and retain the international couleur locale while finding suitable English counterparts for the writers of choice (“Russian Othello”, “Byron of North”). The paper will trace the ever-evolving role of Russian fiction in the magazine’s history, from the aforementioned early instances to the peculiar Edwardian and post-Edwardian cases when the translations became more eclectic in nature, ranging from Ivan Turgenev’s ghost story and Tolstoy’s moralistic pieces to the middlebrow stories by Vasily Nemirovich-Danchenko and a modernist oeuvre by Leonid(as) Andreev. The paper intends to outline the strategies of selecting the “Russian material” for the lower middle class readers not only in the context of the Strand’s editorial policies but also as a part of the “middlebrow” Anglo-Russian cultural transfer mechanisms.
The article deals with one storyline of the novel Anna Karenina that stands as the key for the re-search into the significance of Anglomania in the novel. The 1850-1870s in Russian culture is the time of a most intensive formation of the image of the UK as a highly complex combination of real and mythological elements. The novel Anna Karenina, which Tolstoy himself called the novel about modern life, sets forth the fashion for everything ‘English’ in Russian high society in the 1870s with almost documentary precision. The episode the article deals with is Anna Karenina's reading of an English novel. The article looks at different theories of the origin of the novel and suggests a particular novel as the source for the English novel in Anna Karenina. Article argues that the knowledge of the particular English novel contributes not only to the re-search of Anglomania in Anna Karenina and other Tolstoy's works but also gives a significant in-sight into the study of the characters in the novel.
How and for whom pisalis "Conduit" and "Shvambraniya"
The novel Doctor Zhivago, first published in 1957, immediately provoked critical debates that continue to this day, and has been the subject of numerous scholarly studies (C. Barnes, B. Gasparov, P. A. Jensen, A. Lavrov. M. Aucouturier, O. Raevsky-Hughes, I. Smirnov, L. Fleishman, Iu. Shcheglov, A. Khan, and many others). On one hand, Boris Pasternak’s positions (founded on his religious historiosophy) with regard to the events, people and situation that he depicts have formed one of the central topics of critical and scholarly contention. On the other hand, it is the specificity of the novel’s poetics and most centrally of its generic identity, the laws of its organization of novelistic time and problems of the prototypes of its central characters, that have served as objects of debate. It is our contention, however, that the choice of genre (that we have defined as being that of “a historical novel of a new type”) was fundamental for Pasternak and determined the entirety of the novel’s poetics. As we will demonstrate, the author was continuing the tradition of Walter Scott, which had been rejected by other contemporary Soviet authors who described the history of the twentieth century. In taking up work on the novel, Pasternak emphasized many times that he desired to present an image of the course of history of the first half of the twentieth century—the “forty- five-year era,” as he named this period several times in his letters. This dissertation describes the author’s search for a means for the artistic embodiment of contemporary events and his final choice of the “Walter Scott tradition” of historical novel for Doctor Zhivago. In this connection the work includes marked reflections of C. Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, Pushkin’s The Captain’s Daughter and Dubrovsky, and L. Tolstoi’s War and Peace, as well as sharp polemics with historical works of prose fiction by Pasternak’s contemporaries and with the highly ideologically charged Soviet historiography. Separate consideration will be given to the specific events, situations and names that Pasternak considered it necessary to include in his narrative, presenting in this way his own version of a hierarchy of characteristic phenomena of these decades. The dissertation demonstrates that in Doctor Zhivago history is presented simultaneously as a force, organizing the actions of people and forming their characters and world-views, and also as a chain of events to be understood and made meaningful by the protagonists, and finally as an ineluctable law of human existence that has been reestablished by the force of artistic creation—by the poetry of Iurii Zhivago. At the very foundation of the Zhivago’s poetry lay the ideas of his uncle—the philosopher Vedeniapin, who defines history as an element of the Christian comprehension of the world. The central place of these characters in the novel defines the nature of Pasternak’s techniques with prototypes, by which he embeds into his characters the views, characteristics and fates of various of his contemporaries (A. Bely, A. Blok, D. Samarin, the author himself, and others). We also propose explanation of the work’s many anachronisms, which become a means for communication of the laws of the post-revolutionary period (1917-1943)—a period that “fell” out of history. At the same time we will show how historical time is reestablished in the Epilogue that completes the novel and in the “Poems of Doctor Zhivago.” This dissertation may be characterized as interdisciplinary. In it, the methods of literary- historical and intertextual analysis are applied. The text is examined in relation to social, cultural and historical phenomena of Russia during the first half of the twentieth century.
This book is the second volume of the international book series New Perspectives in Reading 19th-Century Russian Literature. The series in 2008 set for purpose to investigate into the historical, theoretical and methodological aspects of the possibilities for new approaches to reading 19th-century Russian literature in various contexts of world literature, literary theory and semiotics of culture. The essays of the first volume were dedicated to the theme Russian Text of the 19th Century and Antiquity. The authors of the present collection of essays – from Austria, Estonia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Russia, and the USA – put in center stage important issues of cultural dynamics, seen in various contexts of intertextuality, intermediality and the interdiscoursive practice of aesthetic communication. Special attention is made to the poetics and semiotics of textual, medial and cultural frontiers involving both conceptual reelaboration of relevant theoretical issues and concrete literary and cultural case studies.
The idea of nafs (literally arab. soul; self) is on the list of the key Sufi concepts; the term assumed importance both in doctrine and in the stories of the saints or the “God’s friends” (awliyā), who were always in struggle with their carnal souls and never persevered in attempts to tame the recalcitrant nafs. The first part of the paper gives a brief overview of the meaning of the term nafs (from the Quran to Sufi teachings) and traces the stage by stage development of the “carnal soul” connotation; the variety of the translations is also under discussion. The second part centres around the uses of the term in ʻAttar’s compendium Taẕkirat al awliyā (Memorial of God’s Friends). The narrative there is permeated with episodes of self-restraint; the descriptions of a Saint’s struggle with his own self (nafs) or his carnal soul (nafs) constitute a specific theme cluster of the hagiographic narration. ʻAttar mostly translated the stories from the Arab sources, however he arranged them following the Iranian didactic tradition. Under his pen nafs has become a narrative personage, a devious and perfidious character more powerful than Iblis himself.
Abulkasim Lahuti entered the history of Iranian literature as a poet-revolutionary, who made a significant contribution to the “renewal” of Persian poetry and the development of Iranian poetic modernity. He began his career with Sufi ghazals, wrote civil poems imbued with the ideas of Constitutional Revolution of 1905–1911, and in the USSR became the founder of modern Tajik poetry. He dedicated a lot of Persian lines to the victory of October Revolution, and building of socialism. Almost all his poems follow the classical norm, both in form, and in their narrative techniques. This article focuses on Lahuti’s poem The Story of a Rose, created in 1938 as a private letter to Josef Stalin to convey a private message to the ruler asking to help Solomon Michoels and his Jewish Theater (GOSET). We preface our publication with the story behind the poem; shedding some light on the poem’s goal and the subsequent fate of its author. Dāstān-e gol is published in Persian, with Russian prosaic translation and Banu Lahuti’s verse rendition, sent to Stalin along with the original, and conclude this article with an analysis of the poem, focusing mostly on the rhetorical strategy of persuasion chosen by Lahuti in his attempt to influence the ruler by means of poetry.
This article studies the sacral communicative practices of women living in traditional culture as they are depicted in the novel Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes by the contemporary Russian author Guzel Yakhina and the short story The New Year Sacrificeby by the 20th century Chinese writer Lu Xun. We show that these writers use their main female characters to depict the universal problems of the lifeworld of the “little person” in traditional society and examine how religious beliefs, common prejudices and the public opinion they shape control women’s behaviour in traditional society and how sacral notions and images influence the way women perceive their surrounding social and natural worlds. We trace how ethno-cultural values and ethno-psychological attitudes condition sacral communicative practices. A comparative study of the two literary works allows us to identify the main forms of interaction between traditional women and different segments of the sacral space. We examine the types of interaction of traditional women with the world of gods and spirits (religious-spiritual, animist and magical) and the distinctive features of the sacralization of subjects of social communication. The animist beliefs predominating in the worldview of the main female characters Zuleikha and Xiang-Lin are based on ancient mythologies and pagan values that respectively mark traditional Tatar and Chinese ethnic cultures. Sacral and religious beliefs are projections of social relations, while images, myths and symbols of the sacral space are projected onto the sphere of everyday life. The communicative practices of women described by Guzel Yakhina and Lu Xun are studied in their connection with elements of the everyday lifeworld and the sphere of spiritual and religious beliefs.