The Fantastic in France and Russia in the Nineteenth Century
In Pursuit of Hesitation

Claire Whitehead

Studies In Comparative Literature 10

Legenda

24 May 2006  •  184pp

ISBN: 978-1-904350-56-9 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-351196-27-7 (Taylor & Francis ebook)

ModernFrenchRussianFiction


Hesitation between a natural or supernatural interpretation of fictional events is the life-blood of the fantastic; but just how is this hesitation provoked? In this detailed and insightful study, Claire Whitehead uses examples from nineteenth-century French and Russian literature to provide a range of narrative and syntactic answers to this question. A close reading of eight key works by Alexander Pushkin, Vladimir Odoevskii, Nikolai Gogol, Fedor Dostoevskii, Théophile Gautier, Prosper Mérimée and Guy de Maupassant illustrates how ambiguity is provoked by such factors as point of view, multiple voice and narrative authority. The analysis of hesitation experienced in works depicting madness or ironic self-consciousness advocates the inclusion in the genre of previously marginalized texts. The close comparison of works from these two national traditions shows that the fundamental discursive features of the fantastic do not belong to any one language.

Claire Whitehead is Lecturer in Russian at the University of St Andrews.

Reviews:

  • ‘This recent volume from the Legenda imprint maintains the high standards of production and academic excellence in the field of comparative literature that readers have come to expect from the marque.’ — Leon Burnett, Slavonic and East European Review 86.4, 2008, 707-09 (full text online)
  • ‘Most of all benefits through its comparative analyses of chosen texts; this not only makes obvious the "pan-European" context in which the fantastic flourished during the nineteenth century but will, it is to be hoped, inspire others to tinker further with some of the concepts applied here to the fantastic, especially in relation to other examples of Gothic fiction.’ — Slobodan Sugur, Modern Language Review 104.3, 2009, 824-25 (full text online)
  • ‘This is a very readable work, which constitutes a valuable complement to Todorov's 1970 "Introduction à la littérature fantastique."’Forum for Modern Language Studies 235)
  • ‘Essential reading for scholars of the fantastic; I also recommend it to instructors, who can use Whitehead's readings of these classic texts to astound their students by revealing the way that language works to produce the thrills of the genre.’ — Lynn Patyk, Russian Review 68.1, May 2009, 129-30

Bibliography entry:

Whitehead, Claire, The Fantastic in France and Russia in the Nineteenth Century: In Pursuit of Hesitation, Studies In Comparative Literature, 10 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2006)

First footnote reference: 35 Claire Whitehead, The Fantastic in France and Russia in the Nineteenth Century: In Pursuit of Hesitation, Studies In Comparative Literature, 10 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2006), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Whitehead, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Whitehead, Claire. 2006. The Fantastic in France and Russia in the Nineteenth Century: In Pursuit of Hesitation, Studies In Comparative Literature, 10 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Whitehead 2006: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Whitehead 2006: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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