Slavic Sins of the Flesh: Food, Sex, and Carnal Appetite in Nineteenth-Century Russian Fiction

Slavic Sins of the Flesh: Food, Sex, and Carnal Appetite in Nineteenth-Century Russian Fiction

by Ronald D. LeBlanc
     
 

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This remarkable work by Ronald D. LeBlanc is the first study to appraise the representation of food and sexuality in the nineteenth-century Russian novel. Meticulously researched and elegantly and accessibly written, Slavic Sins of the Flesh sheds new light on classic literary creations as it examines how authors Nikolay Gogol, Ivan Goncharov, Grigorii

Overview

This remarkable work by Ronald D. LeBlanc is the first study to appraise the representation of food and sexuality in the nineteenth-century Russian novel. Meticulously researched and elegantly and accessibly written, Slavic Sins of the Flesh sheds new light on classic literary creations as it examines how authors Nikolay Gogol, Ivan Goncharov, Grigorii Kvitka-Osnovyanenko, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy used eating in their works as a trope for male sexual desire. The treatment of carnal desire in these renowned works of fiction stimulated a generation of young writers to challenge Russian culture’s anti-eroticism, supreme spirituality, and utter disregard for the life of the body, so firmly rooted in centuries of ideological domination by the Orthodox Church.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In this interesting study, LeBlanc explores the role of food as a symbol of pleasure and power in the works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and other 19th century Russian writers . . . Evidencing LeBlanc’s impressive knowledge of French literature, this superbly researched, well-written study deserves a wide audience . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

“Thorough and fascinating. . . . LeBlanc skillfully weaves together the repressive influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, the views of the Slavophiles and Westernizers, and the impact of the Russian revolutionary thinkers on the Russian mentality and on the depiction of food and sex in their national literature. . . . An invaluable resource.”
Gastronomica

“Well-written, lively, and provocative, the volume satisfies a third kind of appetite, the intellectual.”—Slavic and East European Journal

“With this book Ronald LeBlanc gives us a careful consideration of the languages of appetite in Russian writing, moving elegantly from particular texts to broader political and cultural implications. While the book begins with nostalgically-rendered scenes of abundance in early nineteenth century writing, its scope broadens considerably, moving through texts by Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and their fin-de-siecle inheritors, on into the early Soviet and post-Soviet periods.”—Russian Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781584658245
Publisher:
University of New Hampshire Press
Publication date:
07/03/2012
Series:
Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
356
File size:
798 KB

What People are saying about this

Eric Naiman
“Ronald LeBlanc has written a marvelous study of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy from the perspective of ‘gastro-criticism.’ His comparison of the alimentary and psycho-sexual dynamics in their works leads to an intriguing analysis of their influences on early twentieth-century Russian and Soviet literature. A book to be both tasted and devoured by all readers interested in the Russian novel and early Soviet fiction.”
Darra Goldstein
“Slavic Sins of the Flesh offers a magisterial new reading of the Russian classics. It not only illuminates the great works of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy but also tackles larger, underlying questions of Russian culture. By analyzing representations of power and pleasure in texts both familiar and obscure, LeBlanc explores the ideals that shaped Russian society. This book is a triumph of scholarship and innovation.”

Meet the Author

RONALD D. LEBLANC is Professor of Russian and Humanities at the University of New Hampshire and Research Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of The Russianization of Gil Blas: A Study in Literary Appropriation and many scholarly book chapters, articles, and book reviews.

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