Contemporary Russian Myths

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This book is an expedition through Russian Literature and history of the 19th and 20th centuries in search of the myths that all Russians take for granted from childhood. The author's iconoclastic, irreverent approach to common sense combined with his wry paradoxical wit make this work an important contribution for American scholars and students to understand Russian culture.


"Druzhnikov (Univ. of California, Davis) seemingly rises to the challenge of Victor Terras ("Puskin's Prose Fiction in a Historical Context," Puskin Today, ed. by David Bethea, 1993) to establish how much of the reputation of Pushkin's prose relies on the enormous attention of his ingenious readers and his total stature. Druzhnikov takes as his point of departure philosophical skepticism, not literary criticism per se, pointed deliberately at the aftershock of Stalinism. He introduces doubt in the power of truth in the face of many forms of persuasion, and he echoes the skepticism of Nietzsche in The Will to Power: "What is needed above all is an absolute skepticism toward all inherited concepts." Druzhnikov balances this with the modern realization that concepts are not only inherited but manufactured, manipulated and, sometimes, made into weapons for the profiteers or icons for the ideologues. Also (as in Nietzsche) the idea that one true exegesis will obtain is not upheld. Druzhnikov nonetheless vigorously introduces the benefit of doubting disembodied myths and perpetuating hero-worship, using a wealth of absolutely specific details, successfully conjuring embodied personae in a material world. While rerolling the camera of history, he maintains a whimsy appropriate to the task of questioning the moot. Upper-division undergraduates and above." - CHOICE

Table of Contents


A Word to the Reader

Pushkin, Stalin, and Other Poets

"Hitting It Off With Pushkin"

The Poets 113th Love

A Divorce for Pushkin's Tatuana, née Larina

Pushkin's Hallowed Nurse

The Dangerous Jests of Albert Robida

The Overt and Covert Lives of Konstantin Ventzel

Alexander Kuprin: From Midden to Mantlepiece

Visiting Stalin's, Univited

The Ruchyi Churchyard Mystery

Trifonov's Fate: or A Good Writer in a Bad Time




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