Narrative Space and Gender in Russian Fiction: 1846-1903

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Rodopi, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 195 pages
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The present volume has as its primary aim readings, from a feminist perspective, of a number of works from Russian literature published over the period in which the 'woman question' rose to the fore and reached its peak. All the works considered here were produced in, or hark back to, a fairly narrowly defined period of not quite 20 years (1846-1864) in which issues of gender, of male and female roles were discussed much more keenly than in perhaps any other period in Russian literature. The overall project is summed up by the three key words of this book's title, narrative, space and gender, and, especially, the interconnections between them. That is, what do the way these stories were told tell us about gender identities in mid-nineteenth-century Russia? Which spaces were central to these fictional worlds? Which spaces suggested which gender identities? The discussions therefore focus on issues of narrative and space, and how they acted as 'technologies of gender'. This volume will be of interest to all interested in nineteenth-century Russian literature, as well as students of gender, and of the semiotics of narrative space.

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Page 3 - ... (1) Gender is (a) representation — which is not to say that it does not have concrete or real implications, both social and subjective, for the material life of individuals. On the contrary, (2) The representation of gender is its construction — and in the simplest sense it can be said that all of Western Art and high culture is the engraving of the history of that construction. (3) The construction of gender goes on as busily today as it did in earlier times, say the Victorian era. And it...
Page 10 - the hero must be male regardless of the gender of the text-image, because the obstacle, whatever its personification, is morphologically female and indeed, simply, the woman
Page 4 - The sex-gender system, in short, is both a sociocultural construct and a semiotic apparatus, a system of representation which assigns meaning (identity, value, prestige, location in kinship, status in the social hierarchy, etc.) to individuals within the society.

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