A Fallen Idol Is Still a God: Lermontov and the Quandaries of Cultural Transition

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Stanford University Press, Oct 26, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 304 pages
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A Fallen Idol Is Still a God elucidates the historical distinctiveness and significance of the seminal nineteenth-century Russian poet, playwright, and novelist Mikhail Iurevich Lermontov (1814-1841). It does so by demonstrating that Lermontov's works illustrate the condition of living in an epoch of transition. Lermontov's particular epoch was that of post-Romanticism, a time when the twilight of Romanticism was dimming but the dawn of Realism had yet to appear. Through close and comparative readings, the book explores the singular metaphysical, psychological, ethical, and aesthetic ambiguities and ambivalences that mark Lermontov's works, and tellingly reflect the transition out of Romanticism and the nature of post-Romanticism. Overall, the book reveals that, although confined to his transitional epoch, Lermontov did not succumb to it; instead, he probed its character and evoked its historical import. And the book concludes that Lermontov's works have resonance for our transitional era in the early twenty-first century as well.


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About the author (2006)

Elizabeth Cheresh Allen is Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at Bryn Mawr College; she is also Chair of the Department of Russian and Co-chair of the Bryn Mawr-Haverford Program in Comparative Literature. She is author of Beyond Realism: Turgenev's Poetics of Secular Salvation (1992), editor of The Essential Turgenev (1994), and coeditor of Freedom and Responsibility in Russian Literature (1995).

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