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On Psychological Prose
     

On Psychological Prose

by Lydia Ginzburg, Judson Rosengrant
 

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Comparable in importance to Mikhail Bakhtin, Lydia Ginzburg distinguished herself among Soviet literary critics through her investigation of the social and historical elements that relate verbal art to life in a particular culture. Her work speaks directly to those Western critics who may find that deconstructionist and psychoanalytical strategies by themselves are

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Comparable in importance to Mikhail Bakhtin, Lydia Ginzburg distinguished herself among Soviet literary critics through her investigation of the social and historical elements that relate verbal art to life in a particular culture. Her work speaks directly to those Western critics who may find that deconstructionist and psychoanalytical strategies by themselves are incapable of addressing the full meaning of literature. Here, in her first book to be translated into English, Ginzburg examines the reciprocal relationship between literature and life by exploring the development of the image of personality as both an aesthetic and social phenomenon. Showing that the boundary between traditional literary genres and other kinds of writing is a historically variable one, Ginzburg discusses a wide range of Western texts from the eighteenth century onward--including familiar letters and other historical and social documents, autobiographies such as the Memoires of Saint-Simon, Rousseau's Confessions, and Herzen's My Past and Thoughts, and the novels of Stendhal, Flaubert, Turgenev, and Tolstoi. A major portion of the study is devoted to Tolstoi's contribution to the literary investigation of personality, especially in his epic panorama of Russian life, War and Peace, and in Anna Karenina.

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Winner of the 1993 Book Prize, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages

"This important work . . . by Russian critic Ginzburg (1902-1977) presents a rigorous, historically informed alternative to outworn theories that treat literary texts as hermetically sealed units. Ginzburg traces developing ideas of personality through French and Russian documentary prose written from the 17th to the 19th centuries. . . . Rosengrant's magnificent translation matches Ginzburg's elegant, jargon-free prose."--Library Journal

Library Journal
This important work (first published in 1971, revised in 1977) by Russian critic Ginzburg (1902-90) presents a rigorous, historically informed alternative to outworn theories that treat literary texts as hermetically sealed units. Ginzburg traces developing ideas of personality through French and Russian documentary prose written from the 17th to the 19th centuries. She thereby clarifies the work of Russian activists and critics who embodied the transition from romanticism to realism. The last chapters deal with elements (social ``conditionality,'' ethical value) and formal devices (direct discourse) that underpin character definition in the ``sociopsychological'' novel, which reached its apogee with Tolstoy. Rosengrant's magnificent translation matches Ginzburg's elegant, jargon-free prose.--Mary F. Zirin, Altadena, Cal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691068497
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/30/1991
Pages:
426
Product dimensions:
6.56(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.09(d)

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