Beyond Metafiction: Self-Consciousness in Soviet Literature

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Overview


Although metafiction has been the subject of much critical and theoretical writing, this is the first full-length study of its place in Soviet literature. Focusing on metafictional works by Leonid Leonov, Marietta Shaginyan, Konstantin Vaginov, and Veniamin Kaverin, it examines, within a broadly Bakhtinian theoretical framework, the relationship between their self-consciousness and their cultural and political context. The texts are shown to challenge notions about the nature and function of literature fundamental to both Soviet and Anglo-American criticism. In particular, although metafictional strategies may seem designed to confirm assumptions about the aesthetic autonomy of the literary text, their effect is to reveal the shortcomings of such assumptions. The texts discussed take us beyond conventional understandings of metafiction by highlighting the need for a theoretically informed account of the history and reception of Soviet literature in which the inescapability of politics and ideology is no longer acknowledged grudgingly, but celebrated.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Neatly transgresses the pitfalls of a professional academic jargon and in simple terms discusses four Russian writers...as the Soviet counterpart of the Western nouveaux romanciers....Introduces to Western criticism a group of writers and their works hitherto hardly ever mentioned by critics and scholars in non-Russian studies."--World Literature Today

"Shepherd's book should be attractive not only to literary scholars but also to anyone interested in the interaction of culture with sociopolitical life in the Soviet period. As such, this superb study deserves consideration along with other major recent works that are challenging stereotyped views of Soviet culture."--Russian Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198156666
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/1994
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.69 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Manchester
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Table of Contents

Transliteration and Translation
1 Introduction: Metafiction and Soviet Literature 1
2 Reflecting on Fiction: Leonid Leonov 29
3 Facts versus Figures: Marietta Shaginyan 64
4 Discrowning the Writer: Konstantin Vaginov 90
5 Knowing the Artist: Veniamin Kaverin 122
6 Re Reading, Rewriting 161
7 Conclusion: Rewriting Literary History 191
Bibliography 204
Index 251
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