After the Seraph: The Nonhuman in Twenty-First Century Russian Literature
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CitationVassileva, Maria. 2019. After the Seraph: The Nonhuman in Twenty-First Century Russian Literature. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation looks at works from the 2000s and 2010s by three Russian authors: Maria Stepanova, Fyodor Svarovsky, and Linor Goralik. The work of these three authors often stages encounters and transformations between human and nonhuman beings––animals, robots, supernatural creatures¬¬––whose presence in the text leads both to an examination of the uses of language and a deep consideration of how the social body can include otherness. The main inquiry of this dissertation is how the nonhuman allows these writers to frame their thinking about the present moment as a historical period with complex social and literary challenges. As Russian-speaking writers who were born before the fall of the Soviet Union and who started publishing in its aftermath, the three of them are attentive to how historical myth and narrative functions in multiple areas of speech: literary-poetic, political, everyday. The compounded historical traumas of the twentieth century (its wars, the dissolution of one world order, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the subsequent revival of its more oppressive rules and beliefs) and their continued presence in contemporary life are reflected in their writing. In their work, the nonhuman embodies an unresolved past as well as the potential for a future built around new ethical and affective communities. The difference of the language and body of the nonhuman serves as an occasion to imagine an alternative social, political, and emotional life.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42013096
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