Andrei Bitov: The Ecology of Inspiration by Ellen Chances (Princeton University, New Jersey)
This is the first book on Andrei Bitov, one of contemporary Russia's most original writers. It plots his evolution from his early publications of the post-Stalin years to his mature masterpieces of the glasnost era. Ellen Chances assesses his place both in the Russian literary tradition from Pushkin onwards, and as part of a broader, international cultural heritage including Dickens, Fellini, and Proust. She explores his themes, from the psychological effects of Stalin on Soviet society to universal questions such as the human being's relationship with nature, history and culture, and discovers in his deeply philosophical and intensely psychological writings an innovative methodology, 'ecological prose', that goes beyond modernist and post-modernist fragmentation in search of the wholeness of life.