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Russian Literature and Its Demons

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Volume 6

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)

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"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.

Subject: General Cultural Studies
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Russian Literature and its Demons: Introductory Essay
Pamela Davidson


Chapter 1. Nostalgia for Hell: Russian Literary Demonism and Orthodox Tradition
Simon Franklin

Chapter 2. The Russian Folk Devil and His Literary Reflections
Faith Wigzell

Chapter 3. Antichrist Enthroned: Demonic Visions of Russian Rulers
Kevin Platt

Chapter 4. Divine Service or Idol Worship? Russian Views of Art as Demonic
Pamela Davidson


Chapter 5. The Muse and the Demon in the Poetry of Pushkin, Lermontov and Blok
Pamela Davidson

Chapter 6. Lermontov's The Demon: Identity and Axiology
Robert Reid

Chapter 7. The Devil is in the Detail: Demonic Features of Gogol's Petersburg
Julian Graffy

Chapter 8. The Devils' Vaudeville: "Decoding" the Demonic in Dostoevsky's The Devils
W. J. Leatherbarrow

Chapter 9. Rozanov and His Literary Demons
Liza Dimbleby

Chapter 10. The Demon. The Mythopoetic World Model in the Art of Lermontov, Vrubel, Blok
Avril Pyman

Chapter 11. The Demonomania of Sorcerers: Satanism in the Russian Symbolist Novel
Adam Weiner

Chapter 12. Symbolist Devils and Acmeist Transformation: Gumilev, Demonism, and the Absent Hero in Akhmatova's Poem Without a Hero
Michael Basker

Chapter 13. Playing Devil's Advocate: Paradox and Parody in Zamiatin's "The Miracle of Ash Wednesday"
Philip Cavendish

Chapter 14. Literary Representations of Stalin and Stalinism as Demonic
Rosalind Marsh


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