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Russian Modernism Stephen C. Hutchings (University of Surrey)

Russian Modernism By Stephen C. Hutchings (University of Surrey)

Russian Modernism by Stephen C. Hutchings (University of Surrey)

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This book interprets the complex of meanings attached by Russian culture to the concept of everyday life, or byt, and assesses its impact on Russian modernist narrative. Drawing on modern literary theory and theology, Stephen C. Hutchings offers provocative, yet careful, readings of key narrative texts from the period.

Russian Modernism Summary

Russian Modernism: The Transfiguration of the Everyday by Stephen C. Hutchings (University of Surrey)

This book explores the unique way in which Russian culture constructs the notion of everyday life, or byt, and offers the first unified reading of Silver-age narrative which it repositions at the centre of Russian modernism. Drawing on semiotics and theology, Stephen C. Hutchings argues that byt emerged from a dialogue between two traditions, one reflected in western representational aesthetics for which daily existence figures as neutral and normative, the other encapsulated in the Orthodox emphasis on iconic embodiment. Hutchings identifies early 'Decadent' formulations of byt as a milestone after which writers from Chekhov to Rozanov sought to affirm the iconic potential hidden in Russian realism's critique of representationalism. Provocative, yet careful, textual analyses reveal a consistent urge to redefine art's function as one not of representing life, but of transfiguring the everyday.

Russian Modernism Reviews

"This first study devoted to the subject is welcome for its rich, informed theoretical discussion....A book for graduate students and researchers." Choice
"Russian Modernism will be useful to anyone with an interest in either Silver Age prose fiction or the interaction between Russian religious thought and Russian culture." Steven Cassedy, Slavic Review
"Stephen Hutching's densely written book rewards the diligent reader with a sophisticated, well-illustrated, and convincing analysis of the function of byt (routine life) in twentieth-century Russian literature. Hutching's work...provides fresh, insightful close readings of salient Silver Age texts...Even more important, however, Hutchings convincingly traces how the struggle in Russian literature between are and "real life" achieves its ultimate transposition through Silver Age merits careful attention by any serious scholar of twentieth-century Russian literature and cultural studies." The Russian Review, vol.59

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Introduction; Part I: 1. Narrative and the everyday: myth, image, sign, icon, life; 2. The development of byt in nineteenth-century Russian literature; Part II: 3. Enacting the present: Chekhov, art and the everyday; 4. Fedor Sologub's aesthetics of narrative excess; Part III: 5. The struggle with byt in Belyi's Kotik Letaev and The Christened Chinaman; 6. Breaking the circle of the self: Vasilii Rozanov's discourse of pure intimacy; 7. At the 'I' of the storm: the iconic self in Remizov's Whirlwind Russia; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

Additional information

Russian Modernism: The Transfiguration of the Everyday by Stephen C. Hutchings (University of Surrey)
Cambridge University Press
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