Theses Doctoral

Authorial Cameos in Post-Romantic Russian Literature

Dvigubski, Anna

This dissertation examines representations of authorship in Russian literature from a number of perspectives, including the specific Russian cultural context as well as the broader discourses of romanticism, autobiography, and narrative theory. My main focus is a narrative device I call "the figured author," that is, a background character in whom the reader may recognize the author of the work. I analyze the significance of the figured author in the works of several Russian nineteenth- and twentieth- century authors in an attempt to understand the influence of culture and literary tradition on the way Russian writers view and portray authorship and the self. The four chapters of my dissertation analyze the significance of the figured author in the following works: 1) Pushkin's Eugene Onegin and Gogol's Dead Souls; 2) Chekhov's "Ariadna"; 3) Bulgakov's "Morphine"; 4) Nabokov's The Gift. In the Conclusion, I offer brief readings of Kharms's "The Old Woman" and "A Fairy Tale" and Zoshchenko's Youth Restored. One feature in particular stands out when examining these works in the Russian context: from Pushkin to Nabokov and Kharms, the "I" of the figured author gradually recedes further into the margins of narrative, until this figure becomes a third-person presence, a "he." Such a deflation of the authorial "I" can be seen as symptomatic of the heightened self-consciousness of Russian culture, and its literature in particular. By examining figured authors across these works, I explore authorship in Russia as a self-questioning, and potentially self-erasing, practice.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Slavic Languages and Literatures
Thesis Advisors
Reyfman , Irina
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 8, 2012