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Slavic Literature, Culture & Society
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Russian Literature and Its Demons
Edited by Pamela Davidson
548 pages, 18 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-758-7 $179.00/£132.00 Hb Published (November 2000)
ISBN 978-1-84545-757-0 $39.95/£31.95 Pb Published (November 2010)
"On the whole, the volume reads like a cohesive book ... and maintains a high standard of scholarship throughout. Investigators of Russian literary demonism in the future will surely want to consult this excellent work." · The Russian Review
"... this collection displays a degree of mutual collaboration, as well as a consistently high quality, that surpasses that of most collections of essays ... it has much to praise and little to fault." · Slavic Review
"It will become a valuable reference for undergraduates and postgraduates in the Slavic and Comparative Literature fields." · Australian and East European Studies
"The scholarly excellence of individual contributions and the high standard that marks the constituent articles without exception … this volume is well thought out in conception and every effort appears to have been made by the editor to give it methodological cohesion. No doubt will it become a valuable reference for undergraduates and postgraduates in Slavic and Comparative Literature fields." · Australian Slavonic and East European Studies
Merezhkovsky's bold claim that "all Russian literature is, to a certain degree, a struggle with the temptation of demonism" is undoubtedly justified. And yet, despite its evident centrality to Russian culture, the unique and fascinating phenomenon of Russian literary demonism has so far received little critical attention. This substantial collection fills the gap. A comprehensive analytical introduction by the editor is follwed by a series of fourteen essays, written by eminent scholars in their fields. The first part explores the main shaping contexts of literary demonism: the Russian Orthodox and folk tradition, the demonization of historical figures, and views of art as intrinsically demonic. The second part traces the development of a literary tradition of demonism in the works of authors ranging from Pushkin and Lermontov, Gogol and Dostoevsky, through to the poets and prose writers of modernism (including Blok, Akhmatova, Bely, Sologub, Rozanov, Zamiatin), and through to the end of the 20th century.
Pamela Davidson is Professor of Russian Literature at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College, London.