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Valeria Sobol
Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
Visions of Empire in Russian Gothic Literature, 1790-1850

Haunted Empire: The Russian Literary Gothic and the Imperial Uncanny, 1790-1850, argues that in Russian literature the empire's peripheries are consistently depicted as dangerous, ambiguous places that destabilize the characters' imperial identities. They become sites of the imperial uncanny, a fictional space into which the empire projected its colonial fantasies and anxieties and where, through Gothic tropes, it produced the doubles and monsters that continue to haunt Russia's historical imagination. Haunted Empire focuses on two spaces of internal otherness that figure prominently in the Russian Gothic: the Baltic/Scandinavian "North" and the Ukrainian "South." Bringing together theories of empire and colonialism, canonical and less-studied literary texts, and 19th-century publications on ethnography and imperial geography, I show that Russian Gothic literature enacts deep historical and cultural tensions, exposing the vulnerability of the empire through a popular narrative form.

[Grant products][Prizes]

Project fields:
Russian Literature

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2015 – 7/31/2016