Cross-Cultural Reckonings: A Triptych of Russian, American and Canadian Texts

Overview

Blanche H. Gelfant's book Cross-Cultural Reckonings both demonstrates and questions the applicability of postmodern cultural and literary theories to realistic texts - to fiction and autobiographies valued for their truth. Drawing together an unusual combination of Russian, American, and Canadian writers, the various essays of this book provide new and original perspectives upon the puzzling issues of national identity, of historical change and continuity, of gender and the integrity of literary genres, the ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (5) from $22.64   
  • New (4) from $22.64   
  • Used (1) from $58.19   
Sending request ...

Overview

Blanche H. Gelfant's book Cross-Cultural Reckonings both demonstrates and questions the applicability of postmodern cultural and literary theories to realistic texts - to fiction and autobiographies valued for their truth. Drawing together an unusual combination of Russian, American, and Canadian writers, the various essays of this book provide new and original perspectives upon the puzzling issues of national identity, of historical change and continuity, of gender and the integrity of literary genres, the boundaries between text and context, and the underlying if overlooked conflicts between the postmodern critic's skepticism and a writer's belief in the transcendence of art and truth. To avoid the contingencies inherent in binary comparisons, the essays in this book seek a triadic form analogous to the triptych or polyptych of the visual arts. Multi-faceted, non-linear, and open-ended, such a form might allow the academic essay to recover a waywardness that traces back to Montaigne, cited in prefactory notes, and to the etymological meaning of the essay as an exagium or weighing, as an act of reckoning. A study at once elegant, erudite, and personal, Cross-Cultural Reckonings reckons with writers of different backgrounds and reputation in whom Gelfant discovers surprising affinities - among them the Russian writers Lydia Chukovskaya, Natalya Baranskaya, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn; Ethel Wilson, a highly reputed Canadian writer; the famous cross-cultural figure, Emma Goldman; and established as well as new or rediscovered American writers, such as Willa Cather, Saul Bellow, Arlene Heyman, and Meridel Le Sueur. These writers are discussed singly and in comparative essays, each of which is discrete and self-contained, while all interconnect and reflect upon each other as exemplary demonstrations of cross-cultural literary criticism and the deferred final judgment that results from a weighing and reweighing of books.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Gelfant has directed us to see better certain real complexities that face us when we think the truth of a culture is somewhere in the text." Slavic and East European Journal

"...Gelfant's analysis is often exemplary—rich, subtle, and sensitive to the play of ambiguities and the hidden life of texts." American Literature

"Blanche H. Gelfant is a critic, like Susan Sontag or Annie Dillard, who writes about literature in a way that is exciting in itself, whether or not the reader knows or cares about the books she is discussing. She is a consumate stylist, able to fix in a descriptive phrase or two something about a book that says more than any lengthy analysis could achieve." Canadian Review of American Studies

"Expert teacher that she is, Gelfant provokes her readers to go beyond her interpretations and even to challenege and extend them....From her wanderings, reckonings, and alert harkening to voices of multiplicity of cultures, classes, languages, and artistic temperaments, Gelfant renders her account of the rich variety of voices that strike the same profoundly resonant chords: aching desires for love, warmth, and security; torturous yearnings for intellectual stimulation and the aesthetic pleasures of Nature and art; and the unrelenting hope of discovering compassion and charity within global cultures that seem to generate only a cold and barren bottom-line mentality. In this bold and seminal work, she lets us hear how the articulations of many seemingly disparate speakers may be clarified and given new meaning through the voice of a powerful scholar-critic." Emory Elliot, Novel

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: On Waywardness 1
Panel I On Breaking Up 7
Days of Reckoning in Recent Russian and American Novellas: A Cross-Cultural Triptych 11
Hats: Solzhenitsyn and Bellow 14
Newspapers: Chukovskaya and Le Sueur 25
A Missing Dress-Hook: Baranskaya and Heyman 33
Panel II On Transgressions 67
Speaking Her Own Piece: Emma Goldman and the Discursive Skeins of Autobiography 69
Panel III On Mystery 97
The Hidden Mines in Ethel Wilson's Landscape or, An American Cat among Canadian Falcons 100
The Capitalistic Will: Women and Inheritance in My Mortal Enemy and Love and Salt Water 119
Index 183
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)