Theses - Slavonic Studies


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  • ItemOpen Access
    Aside from the norm: artistic sexual/gender dissent and nonnormative formations in Ukraine.
    Dmytryk, Olena; Dmytryk, Olena [0000-0001-8985-5096]
    This thesis is an interdisciplinary contribution to the historical and cultural sociology of (nonnormative) sexuality and gender in Ukraine. It engages with figures and collectives situated what I describe as ‘aside from the norm’ in terms of their transgression of the gender/sex system, and in the sense of their complex relationship with the institutionalized art system. Turning to ‘artistic sexual/gender dissent’ in this regard opens a discussion on what is considered ‘dissenting’ in terms of sexuality and gender, and how such artistic dissent is related to the various nonnormative formations in Ukraine. The first line of inquiry is related to Ukraine’s development as a nation-state, and the influence that political and economic shifts had on the construction of new social formations and subjects considered normative or nonnormative. By analysing artistic works and the nonnormative social formations to which they point, I trace the development of various forms of political activism in Ukraine since 1990s, keeping in touch with concealed or forgotten pasts and radical possibilities. In parallel with the exploration of nonnormative formations in Ukraine (such as specific communities, circles, networks of dissent, existing or imagined), I investigate social formations involved in the production and managing of ‘nonnormativity’ in Ukraine. The second line of inquiry is related to the analysis of artistic works as such. The themes, artistic strategies and aesthetic devices deployed to document or imagine nonnormative experiences and dissenting standpoints are investigated. Exploration of opposition to sexual/bodily shame, figurations of nonnormativity, dis-identification with modernity and ‘traditions’ in artistic works allows a greater understanding of the aesthetic, political, and social specificity of artistic sexual and gender dissent in Ukraine.
  • ItemControlled Access
    The Materiality of Language and Body in Vladimir Sorokin's Twentieth-Century Works
    Pavlidi, Katerina
    This dissertation explores the relationship between language and the body in the literary works of the Russian author Vladimir Sorokin (b. 1955) produced during the late Soviet period and the 1990s. It compares Sorokin’s twentieth-century works with contemporaneous texts and performances by poets, artists and performance groups of Moscow Conceptualist circles in which Sorokin participated actively from the beginning of his career to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This dissertation demonstrates that language and the body in Sorokin’s works form an affective relationship, which is grounded in the materiality of language, on the one hand, and in the body of producers (i.e., speakers or writers) and consumers (i.e., readers, listeners or viewers), on the other. The corporeality of the producers’ and consumers’ bodies — that is their psychosomatic states, registered on the level of their feelings and sensations — affects and is affected by the visual and aural properties of language. What enables this affective relationship is the shared materiality of both language and the body. Overall, Sorokin’s twentieth-century works conceptualise the affective relationship between language and the body as that which generates reality itself. By tracing the evolution in the representation of this relationship across Sorokin’s twentieth-century works, this dissertation calibrates his contribution to the artistic production of Moscow Conceptualist circles. The investigation of the relationship between language and the body in Sorokin’s works opens the possibility for reconstructing how Moscow Conceptualists viewed the role of the body in the process of interpretation and sense-making, the construction of knowledge and identity, and the production and reception of art. Furthermore, this dissertation demonstrates that the affective nature of this relationship, as presented in the works by Sorokin and other Conceptualists, is grounded in historical and cultural genealogies that go back to the modernist art of Russian Avant-garde movements and Socialist Realism. By identifying a continuity between themes and aesthetic devices used in Sorokin’s works, on the one hand, and in representative works of those artistic movements, on the other, this dissertation makes a contribution to the study of Russian postmodernism, and particularly, to its relation to Russian modernism. Sorokin’s twentieth-century works can serve as a postmodernist lens to look back on these movements in relation rather than in contrast to each other on the grounds of their mutual aesthetics of affect.
  • ItemOpen Access
    From Informal Social Capital to Public (Self)-Service: Exploring Digital Civil Society in Post-2013 Ukraine
    Molodyk, Mariia
    Over the past thirty years, Ukraine has seen three public protests that have come to be known as ‘revolutions’. Yet despite these repeated demonstrations of ‘people power’, Ukraine’s civil society has been too often underestimated or dismissed as ‘weak’ in academic literature. This thesis confronts this paradox, tracing the development of civil society in Ukraine and uncovering the roots of its vitality in ‘informal social capital’, a byproduct of statelessness and internal colonialism. Analysing the dataset of the European Social Survey (ESS) conducted in Ukraine biannually between 2002–2012, which illustrated that Ukrainians consistently sustained the ‘networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit’ at the heart of the classic definition of social capital (Putnam 1995, 67), I argue that Ukraine’s particular social capital resides not in strong democratic institutions, but in vibrant cultures of informal mutual self-help in local and professional communities. My discussion suggests that, in the case of Ukraine, neither democratic governance nor the rule of law represents the sine qua non for an impactful civil society. To understand these cultures of informal mutual self-help, I offer four close readings of sustainable grassroots public service initiatives in post-Maidan Ukraine – Hromadske, StopFake, Prometheus and ProZorro – informed by semi-structured interviews with the activists who launched them. These civic entrepreneurs cite an ideational dedication to the common good and a keen understanding of the reform inefficiencies of the state as principal drivers for their emergence as activists. Since 2014, their initiatives have served millions of Ukrainians and cultivated Ukrainian civil society in the face of urgent economic, political and military crises. I explore the central role of social networks in mobilising pro bono professionals to compensate for inadequacies of the state and overcome a dramatic lack of financial resources and in achieving organisational sustainability over the long term.   Ultimately, I show that a motivation for volunteering and extensive social mutual self-help networks of cooperation and trust, coupled with the availability of the unpoliced and highly accessible digital media, have led to the development of a robust ‘digital civil society’ in Ukraine. Digital media affordances allow grassroots civic initiatives to gain scale and institutionalise themselves, retaining the horizontal ethos of co-production. The case of Ukraine thus contributes to a growing body of evidence of the strength of informal digital civic activism in post-Soviet and post-colonial societies, inviting us to revisit the presuppositions of the liberal paradigm in civil society studies, which have dominated the scholarly debate in Western Europe and Northern America since the early 2000s.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Wirydianna Fiszerowa: A Noblewoman’s Perspective on Public and Private Life in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Poland
    Brzezinska, Katarzyna
    The subject of this thesis is the eighteenth-century Polish noblewoman Wirydianna Fiszerowa and her memoirs. Covering the years 1768 to 1815, the memoirs are not only a story of Fiszerowa’s private life, but also a history of the public demise of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the birth of a new Polish identity. By writing her memoirs, Fiszerowa embarks on a process of self-discovery and self-creation that merges with an exploration of the transformations of national identity as the story of her life progresses. The spotlight shifts from the author to the partitioned Commonwealth, from the private to the public, as Fiszerowa ultimately transcends the self to focus on the nation. The main body of the thesis is structured around three key moments in Fiszerowa’s life. Each moment is not only important to her development as an eighteenth-century woman, but also to the evolution of her national consciousness. Within each of these moments, the blending of the public and private is particularly vivid and each occurs at crucial points in Poland’s history. Following the first historiographical chapter, Chapter Two examines Fiszerowa’s ‘becoming’ a woman in both a biological and cultural sense through her childhood and education, against the backdrop of the Bar Confederation (1768-1772) and First Partition (1772). Chapter Three explores the development of Fiszerowa’s social and political identity during the Four-Year Sejm (1788-1792), whilst also considering the wider role of women and fashion in politics. Chapter Four investigates the theme of patriotism and the consolidation of Fiszerowa’s patriotic ideals through her encounter with Tadeusz Kościuszko in the aftermath of the Third Partition (1795). Fiszerowa wrote her memoirs at a time when the idea of the nation was undergoing dynamic development in Poland and abroad. By writing about her own experiences, she too contributes to its construction. Ultimately, this thesis argues that Fiszerowa and her memoirs serve as an example of the contribution of women in the development of Polish national consciousness.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Gender, Body and Parenthood in Muscovite Russia
    Finlinson, Rosemary
    In Muscovite Russia, political power was often articulated through the image of the ruler and his family. Ideologies of family were crucial to the cultural envisioning of dynastic legitimacy and social order. Beginning from the sixteenth century, under the cultural influence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, conventions for representing the body and human reproduction in Russian literature underwent a transformation. There was a proliferation of scientific and medical literature, on the one hand, and poetry, on the other hand. As a result, ideologies of family came to be expressed across a new range of textual genres. Focussing on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this thesis explores how ideological constructions of parenthood shape and are shaped by changing forms of conceptualising and representing the gendered body. In so doing, it underscores the need to interrogate modern assumptions about sex to recognise the variable signification and significance of the body in early modern Russian gender ideologies. The first chapter is broadly theoretical. It destabilises the modern relationship between anatomy and gender by looking at the construction of sex in Muscovite medical discourse. In this writing, anatomy is depicted as being in communication with social forces. Correspondingly, visions of bodily difference are formed in the interaction of the body with existing social norms and hierarchies: namely, masculine authority and feminine subservience and responsibility for childrearing. This social gender hierarchy was maintained through the regulation of bodily practices (breastfeeding and growing a beard) rather than by an idea of sex as a fixed anatomical binary. I demonstrate the instability of the body in Muscovite definitions of masculinity and femininity by exploring how breastfeeding was consolidated as a gender marker and the beard was lost in seventeenth-century ecclesiastical debates about gender. The remaining chapters demonstrate the importance of literary factors in shaping the construction of parenthood and the gendered body over this period. The second chapter analyses the sixteenth-century Stepennaia Kniga, a royal genealogical history which utilises depictions of parenthood to embed patriarchal authority in the dynastic and ecclesiastical establishments. The text does not clearly differentiate between mothers and fathers in terms of anatomy or behaviour. Instead, the behaviour of both parents is aligned with that of ruler and priest, and their competence as parents is expressed in how well they embody those patriarchal roles. The mother’s subordinate position is established through her inability to perform regal and ecclesiastical tropes associated with parenthood and as a result mothers do not play a central role in the text’s depiction of parenthood. In the Stepennaia Kniga, parenthood is embodied primarily by fathers. The third chapter examines how parenthood came to be embodied by mothers in seventeenth-century poetry about the family. It posits that the figurative language characteristic of emergent Baroque verse cultivated novel relationships between body and gender. Although the principle of feminine subservience did not change, it was now embedded in the flesh of the mother through the development of a discourse of maternal suffering. Through metaphor, allegory and emblem, ideas of parental love, sacrifice and caregiving were tied to maternal body parts and processes specifically: the utroba, childbirth and breastfeeding. The maternal body thus came to represent both parents, creating a new and distinctly gendered vision of parental love. As the century developed, this gendered vision of love was extended beyond the context of parenthood. The suffering maternal body was cast as an emblem of Christian sacrifice more broadly.
  • ItemEmbargo
    'A Fragment of Wholeness': The Making of the Poetic Subject in Vasyl Stus's Palimpsests
    (2020-04-16) Tokarskyi, Bohdan
    My PhD thesis investigates the exploration of the self and the innovative poetical language in the works of the Ukrainian dissident poet and Gulag prisoner Vasyl Stus (1938-1985). Focusing on Stus’s magnum opus collection Palimpsests (1971-1979), where the poet casts the inhuman conditions of his incarceration to the periphery and instead engages in radical introspection, I show how Stus’s poetry foregrounds the very making of the subject as the constant pursuit of the authentic self. Through my examination of unpublished archival materials, analysis of Stus’s underexplored poems, and the contextualisation of the poet’s works within the tradition of the philosophy of becoming, I propose a new reading of Palimpsests, one that redirects scholarly attention from the historical and political to the psychological and philosophical. This new perspective allows me to explore the writer’s complex concept of authenticity, which oscillates between ‘recollection’ and ‘repetition’, the desire for sameness and the temporal non-coincidence of the self. It affords the opportunity to analyse Stus’s unique poetical language, which captures the very coming-to-be of the subject before it reaches any stable identity. Palimpsests enacts repetition-as-difference on the level of words, poems, and the collection as a whole. I scrutinise the permeating self-doubling in Stus’s poetry and show that the central poetic persona in Palimpsests is, unusually, not ‘I’ but ‘you’ – the specular double of the speaker. This self-address positions ‘oneself as another’ and leads me to assert that Stus’s Palimpsests opens up new avenues for the study of lyric address as such. I contend that the process of the making of the self surpasses the poet’s text and his own historical circumstances and involves the reader in the process of self-writing. My thesis reshapes our understanding of Stus’s verse and contributes to the study of subjectivity and authenticity in Soviet dissident literature and in the Ukrainian tradition of metaphysical poetry.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Media and Identity in Wartime Donbas, 2014-2017
    Roozenbeek, Jon; Roozenbeek, Jon [0000-0002-8150-9305]
    This dissertation examines the discourses of local print and internet media in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” (DNR and LNR) in eastern Ukraine, paying particular attention to the role of these discourses in the construction of group identity. Drawing on nationalism studies, identity studies and social psychology, I trace how authorities and media actors in these two unrecognised territories sought to build legal legitimacy and public support, and to shape collective identity between 2014 and 2017. To do so, I analyse both primary and secondary source material, including speeches, statements and writings by local officials, legislative documents, internal communications, and a large corpus of news articles published in local newspapers and internet media. After tracing the development of the DNR and LNR’s political and media landscapes, as well as the legislation passed by the authorities to regulate the mass media, I use Natural Language Processing methods to examine what narratives predominated in DNR and LNR newspaper and internet media coverage, with an abiding focus on attempts to shape and develop group identity. I demonstrate that DNR and LNR authorities prioritised building and projecting internal and external legitimacy from the beginning by controlling the information space through media capture and by passing restrictive legislation. Despite the fact that this legislation created conditions for the pursuit of an ideological identity project, I argue that this project remained unrealised and incoherent, founded more on representations of the ‘they’ of the outgroup rather than the ‘we’ of the ingroup. Understanding the semiotic impoverishment of this project can offer insight into the nature and future of Europe’s “forgotten war”.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Voices of the War in Donbas: Exploring Identities in the Affected Communities Through the Prism of War Songs
    (2020-07-17) Shuvalova, Iryna; Shuvalova, Iryna [0000-0001-7506-0858]
    This thesis examines identity work in the ongoing war in the Donbas region of Ukraine. It takes as its object of study a corpus of songs about the conflict representative of the key political and military actors involved: Ukraine, Russia and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Songs are examined using multimodal discourse analysis, with both their visual and musical elements considered, but with a special emphasis placed on the song lyrics. In the thesis, I begin with examining the songs at the level of ‘syntax’ – paying particular attention to how identity work is mobilized through history, language, and different approaches to constructing the image of the enemy – before tracing the coming together of these individual syntaxes into the prevalent ‘grammars’ of othering. I posit that two competing strategies or grammars are actively shaping identities of groups and individuals in the War in Donbas: circumstantialist othering, which distinguishes between friends and enemies on the basis of the specific conditions that prompted the division, and essentialist othering, which implies the existence of an inherent trait that unavoidably pits one group against the other. I contend that these two grammars of othering reflect two different world-view paradigms persisting in the communities that circulate the songs. I argue that the circumstantialist approach – as of early 2019, most commonly found in Ukrainian war songs – is aligned with a vision of complete disengagement as the desired outcome of the war. By contrast, the essentialist approach – now most commonly found in songs from Russia and the self-proclaimed republics – is associated with a messianic vision of the war, aiming for cultural and territorial expansion as a means of fulfilling a historical mission.
  • ItemOpen Access
    ʻIdle, Drunk and Good-for-Nothingʼ: The Rank-and-File Perpetrators of 1932-1933 Famine in Ukraine and Their Representation in Cultural Memory
    (2019-03-05) Mattingly, Daria
    This dissertation examines identifiable traces of the perpetrators of the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine, known as the Holodomor, and their representation in cultural memory. It shows that the men and women who facilitated the famine on the ground were predominantly ordinary people largely incongruous with the dominant image of the perpetrator in Ukrainian cultural memory. I organise this interdisciplinary study, which draws on a wide range of primary sources, including archival research at all levels – republican, oblast’, district, village and private, published and unpublished memoirs and, on one occasion, an interview with a perpetrator; major corpora of oral memory, post-memory and cultural texts – into two parts. The first part employs a microhistorical analysis of the perpetrators and their actions through. Chapter One, ʻThe Mechanism of the Famine on the Groundʼ, outlines the Soviet policies that led to mass starvation and identifies various groups of people involved in the famine’s facilitation. It offers an analysis of events on village and district level, which reveals previously understudied groups, and employs a criminological approach to advance a new typology of the perpetrator. Chapter Two, ʻThe Case Studiesʼ, focuses on perpetrators in two villages: Toporyshche in the Zhytomyr oblast’ and Popivka in the Poltava oblast’. The second part explores the representation of the perpetrator in cultural memory, with a particular focus on Ukrainian novel, poetry, drama, film and museum practice, and examines how different cultural narratives frame the question of the agency of the perpetrator. While Soviet-era Ukrainian texts characterise the perpetrators as purely ideological participants, post-Soviet and diaspora artists cast them as the Other, while dissident authors disperse agency altogether. In order to support these claims I bring together archival evidence and works of cultural memory. In this dissertation I show that people who facilitated the famine on the ground were predominantly ordinary people as the participants in other cases of mass violence, thus rendering the image of the Other, aberrant or exclusively ideological participant in cultural memory inefficient to explain how this devastating famine was possible. By bringing together archival evidence and works of cultural memory, I foreground a central discrepancy between the identity and representation of the perpetrators of one of the most catastrophic events of the twentieth century.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The literary works of A.V. Lunačarskij (1875-1933)
    (1971-12-03) Tait, Archibald Linton
  • ItemControlled Access
    Marriage and Brotherhood in Muscovite Russia
    (2018-07-01) Mayhew, Nick
    In Russia today, conservative views about gender are often promoted through reference to the past, to show that supposedly ‘traditional’ gender roles are intrinsic to Russian history. Frequently, this idea is upheld in scholarship. My work explores the historicity of commonly held assumptions about gender. This dissertation focusses on gender and sexuality in Russia from the sixteenth to early eighteenth centuries. It shows that ideas about what constituted a virtuous marriage were established by reference to ideas about brotherhood. Brotherhood here refers not to biological siblings, but to a church rite of ‘spiritual brotherhood’ known in Russian as bratotvorenie. This rite has not been studied in any depth before. Based on archival work, this dissertation offers a detailed account of the tradition in Russia until its ban in 1650, when it was prohibited by leading ecclesiastical figures for being too like marriage. One churchman complained: ‘The priest, joining together these two men, unites them in matrimony’. The dissertation shows that bratotvorenie was conceived of in premodern Russia as a form of same-sex union, and that it was through banning this tradition that churchmen came to express in a coherent way which kinds of partnership were legitimate and why. The first chapter challenges the idea that marriage was always a monogamous union between a man and a woman for the creation of children, an idea that is often encountered in academic literature on Russian marriage history. It shows that the church rite of marriage was edited in Russia during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when ideas about the sacramental nature of marriage changed. The second chapter builds on these observations, suggesting that marriage and ‘spiritual brotherhood’ were understood as analogous in the premodern period. The final two chapters look at depictions of marriage and brotherhood in hagiography and iconography respectively. They focus on Petr and Fevroniia, the first married couple to be canonised in Russia in 1547. In 2008, their feast day was reworked into a state festival called the ‘Day of Family, Love and Fidelity’, now widely celebrated across Russia. Petr and Fevroniia have been cast as the patron saints of so-called ‘traditional moral-spiritual values’. This view is generally upheld in existent scholarship on the saints. This dissertation responds to the way the saints are being represented today, arguing that they were initially venerated for subverting normative ideas about gender and sexuality—that they were queer. What is more, their veneration paralleled the veneration of holy brothers. Their hagiography seems to have been based on the Life of a monastic brotherhood, and icons depicting Petr and Fevroniia standardly showed them in monastic robes. Focussing on marriage and brotherhood in premodern Russia, each chapter of this dissertation challenges a preconceived idea about the immutability of supposedly ‘traditional’ gender roles in Russian history.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Latin Christians in the Literary Landscape of Early Rus, c. 988-1330
    (2018-04-28) Sykes, Catherine Philippa
    In the wake of the recent wave of interest in the ties between Early Rus and the Latin world, this dissertation investigates conceptions and depictions of Latin Christians in Early Rusian texts. Unlike previous smaller-scale studies, the present study takes into consideration all indigenous Early Rusian narrative sources which make reference to Latins or the Latin world. Its contribution is twofold. Firstly, it overturns the still prevalent assumption that Early Rusian writers tended to portray Latins as religious Others. There was certainly a place in Early Rusian writing for religious polemic against the Latin faith, but as I show, this place was very restricted. Secondly, having established the considerable diversity and complexity of rhetorical approaches to Latins, this study analyses and explains rhetorical patterns in Early Rusian portrayals of Latins and Latin Christendom. Scholars have tended to interpret these patterns as primarily influenced by extra-textual factors (most often, a text’s time of composition). This study, however, establishes that textual factors—specifically genre and theme—are the best predictors of a text’s portrayal of Latins, and explains the appearance and evolution of particular generic and thematic representations. It also demonstrates that a text’s place of composition tends to have a greater influence on its depictions of Latins than its time of composition. Through close engagement with the subtleties and ambiguities of Early Rusian depictions of Latins, this study furthers contemporary debate on questions of narrative, identity and difference in Rus and the medieval world.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Physical Culture and the Embodied Soviet Subject, 1921-1939: Surveillance, Aesthetics, Spectatorship
    Goff, Samuel Alec
    My thesis examines visual and written culture of the interwar Soviet Union dealing with the body as an object of public observation, appreciation, and critique. It explores how the need to construct new Soviet subjectivities was realised through the figure of the body. I explore the representation of ‘physical culture’ (fizkul’tura), with reference to newspapers, specialist fizkul’tura and medical journals, and Party debates. This textual discourse is considered alongside visual primary sources – documentary and non-fiction film and photography, painting and sculpture, and feature films. In my analysis of these visual primary sources I identify three ‘categories of looking’ – surveillance, aesthetics, and spectatorship – that I claim structure representations of the embodied Soviet subject. My introduction incorporates a brief history of early Soviet social psychological conceptualisations of the body, outlining the coercive renovative project of Soviet subjectification and introducing the notion of surveillance. My first and second chapters explore bodily aesthetics. The first focuses on non-fiction media from the mid- to late-1920s that capture the sporting body in action; this chapter introduces the notion of spectatorship and begins to unpack the ideological function of how bodies are observed. The second further explores questions of bodily aesthetics, now in relation to fizkul’tura painting and Abram Room’s 1936 film, Strogii iunosha. My third chapter looks at fizkul’tura feature films from the mid- 1930s to explore how bodies were related to social questions of gender and sexuality, including marriage and pregnancy. My final chapter focuses on cinematic representations of football from the late 1930s and the relationship between bodies on display and onlooking crowds. These two chapters together indicate how the dynamic between the body and its spectator (whether individual or in a group) was reimagined in the late interwar years; the body’s aesthetic appeal is now of little importance compared to its ability to constitute a public subjectivity through the manipulation of emotion, trauma, and pathos.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Ritualisation of Political Power in Early Rus (10th-12th centuries)
    (2015-09-04) Vukovic, Alexandra
    This dissertation examines the ceremonies and rituals involving the princes of early Rus’ and their entourage, how these ceremonies and rituals are represented in the literature and artefacts of early Rus’, the possible cultural influences on ceremony and ritual in this emergent society, and the role of ceremony and ritual as representative of political structures and in shaping the political culture of the principalities of early Rus’. The process begins by introducing key concepts and historiographic considerations for the study of ceremony and ritual and their application to the medieval world. The textological survey that follows focusses on the chronicles of Rus’, due to their compilatory nature, and discusses the philological, linguistic, and contextual factors governing the use of chronicles in this study. This examination of the ceremonies and rituals of early Rus’, the first comprehensive study of its kind for this region in the early period, engages with other studies of ceremony and ritual for the medieval period to inform our understanding of the political culture of early Rus’ and its influences. The structure of this dissertation is dictated by the chronology of ceremonies and rituals that structure the reigns of Rus’ princes in literary sources. The first chapter investigates—both comparatively and locally—the development of enthronement rituals depicted in textual sources and on coins. The second chapter focusses on rituals of association that are represented as mediating relations between princes in a non-central functioning dynastic culture. Oath-taking (and breaking) and association through commensality—dining and gift-giving—are examined in terms of historical context and the internal categorisation of associative acts in textual sources from Rus’. The final chapter builds on recent studies of ritualised warfare in early Rus’ and examines the ritualisation of princely movement—the most common action associated with the princes of Rus’ in textual sources—in times of war. The celebration of triumph and princely entry along with ritualised invocations for intercession in war are acts examined—both in textual sources and iconographic artefacts—as rituals of triumphal rulership reflecting both Byzantine and wider medieval culture. This study concludes with a discussion of the themes explored in its three chapters and offers further considerations about the influence of the Church and monastic culture inherited from Byzantium (and developed in Rus’) on the preservation, creation, and promulgation of ritualised political power.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Snow and window: archetypes of imagination
    (2002-07-16) Klujber, Anita Rita; Reynolds, Andrew; Thompson, Diane
    Within the field of comparative literature, this dissertation investigates how the paired symbols of snow and window illuminate certain imaginative processes such as the threshold experience of creative and receptive acts. This work is an intertextual analysis and synthesis of self-allusive poems by Boris Pasternak, Ted Hughes, Gyula Illyes, and Gennady Aygi. Poems by other authors are also discussed briefly, or linked to the main texts through epigraphs. Contemplation of snow through a window is the central theme of the focused texts. Snowflakes falling on the window pane allegorically represent words on the page, and the observation of this process is a metaphor for the ongoing creative and receptive acts. Meditative contemplation of nature and of the processes of writing and reading are portrayed as means for an introspective self-discovery of imagination. The threshold experience of observing the creative mind as it is externalised in nature and embodied in the poetic text involves a deconstructive reversal and overlapping of the external and the internal worlds, and other opposites. The complex mental process of watching the internal in what is external is comparable to the fusion of the optical effects of transparency and reflection on a window. The works analysed reveal that poems can function both as 'windows' displaying external phenomena, and as symbolic 'mirrors' in which one can catch a glimpse of the working of imagination at the very act of simultaneously outward and inward contemplation. The methodological scope of this work is primarily concerned with the intertextual connective function of recurring poetic images (symbols). The metaphorical symbol is a central embodiment of imagination. By focusing on recurring symbols, one can establish links between literary texts and between various imaginative systems (such as literature, mythology, music and visual arts) on a primarily aesthetic basis, without recourse to extraliterary criteria. Northrop Frye's Theory of Symbols, Jungian archetypal criticism, Iurii Lotman's models of communication, and more recent theoretical works by Harold Bloom, Michael Riffaterre, Owen Miller, Roland Barthes, Jonathan Culler, Jacques Derrida, and other scholars serve as the conceptual framework for this approach. Five main intertextual relations are explored. The recurring metaphorical image is shown to be (1) a semantic link between works of the same author, (2) a manifestation of transpersonal features of imagination, (3) a trace of one author's text in the work of another, (4) a means for establishing hypothetical dialogues between texts which are not related by their authors, and (5) a potential connective between literature and other imaginative systems, such as mythology and visual art. These comparative analyses reveal that intertextual approaches are not only tools for uncovering and enriching the meanings of literary texts; they are also means for constructing order in one's otherwise chaotic corpus of reading, and they enable one to gain knowledge about the nature of imagination. The thematic and methodological aspects of the dissertation thus complement and support each other.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Turgenev and the question of the Russian artist
    (2010-11-16) Sundkvist, Luis; Thompson, Diane
    This thesis is concerned with the thoughts of the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev (1818-83) on the development of the arts in his native country and the specific problems facing the Russian artist. It starts by considering the state of the creative arts in Russia in the early nineteenth century and suggests why even towards the end of his life Turgenev still had some misgivings as to whether painting and music had become a real necessity for Russian society in the same way that literature clearly had. A re-appraisal of "On the Eve" (1860) then follows, indicating how the young sculptor Shubin in this novel acts as the author's alter ego in a number of respects, in particular by reflecting Turgenev's views on heroism and tragedy. The change in Shubin's attitude towards Insarov, whom the sculptor at first tries to belittle before eventually comparing him to the noble Brutus in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", can be said to anticipate Turgenev's own feelings about Bazarov in "Fathers and Children" (1862) and the way that this 'nihilist' attained the stature of a true tragic hero. In this chapter, too, the clichéd notion of Turgenev's alleged affinity with Schopenhauer is firmly challenged — an issue that is taken up again later on in the discussion of "Phantoms" (1864) and "Enough!" (1865). Other aspects of Turgenev's portrayal of Shubin are used to introduce the remaining chapters, where the problems of dilettantism, originality, nationalism and Slavophilism — among the most acute problems which Russian artists had to contend with in Turgenev's eyes — are explored through various works of his, especially the novel "Smoke" (1867), as well as by reference to his observations of such contemporaries as Glinka, the painter Ivanov, Tolstoi, and the composers of the 'Mighty Handful'. The springboard for the final chapter on the tragic fate befalling so many Russian artists is once again Shubin, whose voluntary exile in Rome at the end of the novel allows for certain parallels to be drawn with Gogol'. Despite Turgenev's own 'absenteeism' from Russia, for which he was much reproached, it is emphasized in the conclusion that he always remained devoted to the cause of Russia's civic and cultural development, especially in the realm of the arts, whose national, and at the same time universal, value he upheld so compellingly in his Pushkin speech of 1880.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Soviet Gothic-fantastic: a study of Gothic and supernatural themes in early Soviet literature
    (2009-03-10) Maguire, Muireann; Etkind, Aleksandr
    This thesis analyses the persistence of Gothic-fantastic themes and motifs in the literature of Soviet Russia between 1920 and 1940. Nineteenth-century Russian literature was characterized by the almost universal assimilation of Gothic-fantastic themes and motifs, adapted from the fiction of Western writers such as E.T.A. Hoffmann, Ann Radcliffe and Edgar Allen Poe. Writers from Pushkin to Dostoevskii, including the major Symbolists, wrote fiction combining the real with the macabre and supernatural. However, following the inauguration of the Soviet regime and the imposition of Socialist Realism as the official literary style in 1934, most critics assumed that the Gothic-fantastic had been expunged from Russian literature. In Konstantin Fedin’s words, the Russian fantastic novel had ‘“умер и закопан в могилу”’. This thesis argues that Fedin’s dismissal was premature, and presents evidence that Gothic-fantastic themes and motifs continued to play a significant role in several genres of Soviet fiction, including science fiction, satire, comedy, adventure novels (prikliuchenskie romany), and seminal Socialist Realist classics. My dissertation identifies five categories of Gothic-fantastic themes, derived jointly from analysis of canonical Gothic novels from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and from innovative approaches to the genre made by contemporary critics such as Fred Botting, Kelly Hurley, Diane Hoeveler, Elaine Showalter and Eric Naiman (whose book Sex in Public coined the phrase ‘NEP Gothic’). Each chapter analyses one of these five Gothic themes or tropes in the context of selected Soviet Russian literary texts. The chronotope of Gothic space, epitomized in the genre as the haunted castle or house, is readdressed by Mikhail Bulgakov as the ‘nekhoroshaia kvartira’ of Master i Margarita and by Evgenii Zamiatin as the ‘drevnyi dom’ of his dystopian fantasy My. Gothic gender issues, including the subgenre of Female Gothic, arise in Nikolai Ognev’s novels and Aleksandra Kollontai’s stories. The Gothic obsession with dying, corpses and the afterlife re-emerges in fictions such as Daniil Kharms’ “Starukha” (whose hero is threatened by an animated corpse) and Nikolai Erdman’s banned play Samoubiitsa (the story of a failed suicide). Gothic bodies (deformed or regressive human bodies) are contrasted with Stalinist cultural aspirations to somatic perfection within a utopian society. Typically Gothic monsters – vampires, ghosts, and demon lovers – are evaluated in a separate chapter. Each Gothic trope is integrated with my analysis of the relevant Soviet discourse, including early Communist attitudes to gender and the body and the philosopher Nikolai Federov’s utopian belief in the possibility of universal resurrection. As my focus is thematic rather than author-centred, my field of research ranges from well-known writers (Fedor Gladkov, Bulgakov, Zamiatin) to virtual unknowns (Grigorii Grebnev and Vsevolod Valiusinskii, both early 1930s novelists), and recently rediscovered writers (Sigizmund Krzhizhanovskii, Vladimir Zazubrin). Three Soviet authors who explicitly emulated the nineteenth-century Gothic-fantastic tradition in their fiction were Mikhail Bulgakov, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovskii and A.V. Chaianov. Many mainstream Soviet writers also exploited Gothic-fantastic motifs in their work. Fedor Gladkov’s Socialist Realist production novel, Tsement, uses the trope of the Gothic castle to dramatise the reclamation of a derelict cement factory by the workers. Nikolai Ognev’s Dnevnik Kosti Riabtseva, the diary of an imaginary Communist schoolboy, relies on ghost stories to sustain suspense. Aleksandr Beliaev, the popular science fiction writer, inserted subversive clichés from the Gothic narrative tradition in his deceptively optimistic novels. Gothic-fantastic tropes and motifs were used polemically by dissident writers to subvert the monologic message of Socialist Realism; other writers, such as Gladkov and Marietta Shaginian, exploited the same material to support Communism and attack Russia’s enemies. The visceral resonance of Gothic fear lends its metaphors unique political impact. This dissertation aims at an overall survey of Gothic-fantastic narrative elements in early Soviet literature rather than a conclusive analysis of their political significance. However, in conclusion, I speculate that the survival of the Gothic-fantastic genre in the hostile soil of the Stalinist literary apparatus proves that early Soviet literature was more varied, contradictory and self-interrogative than previously assumed.