Erotic Utopia: The Decadent Imagination In Russia's Fin De Siecle

Paperback | July 2, 2007

byOlga Matich

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The first generation of Russian modernists experienced a profound sense of anxiety. What made them unique was their utopian prescription for overcoming the inevitability of decline and death. They theorized their defiance of death by suggesting the immortalization of the body through the power of erotic love. Matich suggests that same-sex desire underlay their most radical utopian proposal of abolishing the traditional procreative family in favor of erotically induced abstinence. She shows how a brilliant group of Russian writers—among them the late Tolstoy, Vladimir Solov’ev, Zinaida Gippius, Alexander Blok, and Vasilii Razanov—addressed the pressing concerns of a culture in transition, ranging from physical and psychological health, marriage, sexuality, and gender to anti-Semitism and the meaning of history.


“Richly illustrated and thought provoking, this book resembles no other.”—Choice

“Offers a fresh perspective and a wealth of new information on early Russian modernism. . . . It is required reading for anyone interested in fin-de-siècle Russia and in the history of sexuality in general.”—Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, Slavic and East European Journal

“Thoroughly entertaining.”—Avril Pyman, Slavic Review
 

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The first generation of Russian modernists experienced a profound sense of anxiety. What made them unique was their utopian prescription for overcoming the inevitability of decline and death. They theorized their defiance of death by suggesting the immortalization of the body through the power of erotic love. Matich suggests that same-...

Olga Matich is professor of Russian literature and culture at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:354 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:July 2, 2007Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299208842

ISBN - 13:9780299208844

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Erotic Utopia is a work that combines first-rate (and first-hand) scholarship with a bold and unique theoretical perspective. No historian of literature has looked at turn-of-the-century Russia in the perspective found in Olga Matich’s groundbreaking study."—Yuri Tsivian, University of Chicago