The Vortex That Unites Us: Versions of Totality in Russian Literature (Hardcover)

The Vortex That Unites Us: Versions of Totality in Russian Literature By Jacob Emery Cover Image


The Vortex That Unites Us is a study of totality in Russian literature, from the foundation of the modern Russian state to the present day. Considering a diversity of texts that have in common chiefly their prominence in the Russian literary canon, Jacob Emery examines the persistent ambition in Russian literature to gather the whole world into an artwork. Emery reveals how the diversity of totalizing figures in the Russian canon--often in alliance with ideologies like the totalitarian state or enlightenment reason--strive for the frontiers of space and time in order to guarantee the coherence of the globe and the continuity of history. He expores subjects like romantic metaphors of supernatural possession; Tolstoy's conception of art as a vector of emotional contagion; the panoramic ambitions of the avant-garde to grasp the globe in a new poetic medium; efforts of Soviet utopians to harmonize the whole of social life along aesthetic lines; Mandelstam's evocation of writing as a transcendental authority that guarantees a grandiose historical rhythm even when manifested as authoritarian repression; and the mass market of cultural commodities in which the exiled Vladimir Nabokov found success with his novel Lolita. The Vortex That Unites Us reveals a common thread in the disparate works it explores, bringing into a single horizon a variety of typically siloed texts and aesthetic approaches. In all these cases, the medium of totality is the body, inspired by artistic vision and compelled by aesthetic response.

About the Author

Jacob Emery is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Associate Professor of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. He is the author of Alternative Kinships and, together with his sister, the novel A Clockwork River.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781501769382
ISBN-10: 1501769383
Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
Publication Date: May 15th, 2023
Pages: 228
Language: English