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A Gothic Realism? Rereading the Classic Russian Novel

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Katherine Bowers’s research examines how two seemingly opposed literary modes – the Gothic and Realism – combine in unexpectedly productive ways in nineteenth-century Russian fiction. In this talk, she explores how writers such as Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov used Gothic devices to create the subtle masterpieces for which they are best known. What is the Gothic doing in these works? And how does its presence change the way we read Russian fiction? Bowers argues that examining how canonical writers make use of a popular genre, the Gothic, leads not only to fresh readings of familiar texts, but also causes us to question existing assumptions about “high” and “low” fiction and how they interact with one another.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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