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Anne Lounsbery
New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)
Life Is Elsewhere: Symbolic Geography in the Russian Novel

I am applying for a grant to complete Life Is Elsewhere: Symbolic Geography in the Russian Novel, a book about how 19th-c. Russian literature represents geographic space. I argue that we can't understand Russia's national identity without understanding how its high culture ascribes meaning (or meaninglessness) to a vast territory outside Moscow and Petersburg known as "the provinces" a reductive label denoting a remarkable but rarely analyzed lack of literary regionalism. Writers from Gogol to Gorky reproduce this aesthetically powerful and blatantly counterfactual trope, imagining provincial places not just as backward or philistine but as little hells on earth. Drawing on European and American comparisons, I examine the roots and consequences of this symbolic geography in authors both canonical (e.g., Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov) and less canonical (e.g., Khvoshchinskaia, Melnikov). A grant from 9/2010 to 9/2011 would allow me to finish the ms., now under advance contract.

Project fields:
Russian Literature

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2010 – 8/31/2011