The Cossack Hero In Russian Literature: A Study in Cultural Mythology

Paperback | November 15, 1992

byJudith Deutsch Kornblatt

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Both wild and familiar, alien and self, the Russian Cossacks came to represent in nineteenth-century literature their nation’s seemingly endless frontier, strongly influencing the self-image of the Russian people. The Cossack Hero in Russian Literature is the first book to study the development of the Cossack hero and to identify him as part of Russian cultural mythology.   Judith Kornblatt explores the power of the myth as a literary image,  providing new and challenging readings of  nineteenth- and twentieth-century works by Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoi, Khlebnikov, Babel, Tsvetaeva, Sholokhov, and a host of lesser-known writers, all of whom were attracted to the Cossack. By comparing the Cossack with the American cowboy, she reveals what is both unique and universal about the Russian self-image.
    Grappling with the phenomenon of myth-formation, Kornblatt places the Cossack hero in historical and sociopolitical context, chronicling the growth of the Cossack myth of unbounded wholeness and life, its gradually increasing influence on the Russian national consciousness during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and its eventual demise under the strictures of Stalinist socialist realism. Kornblatt’s eclectic methodology draws upon Barthes, White, Turner, and other Western theorists as well as such leading Russian critics and philosophers of language as Bakhtin, Lotman, and Uspensky.

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    Both wild and familiar, alien and self, the Russian Cossacks came to represent in nineteenth-century literature their nation’s seemingly endless frontier, strongly influencing the self-image of the Russian people. The Cossack Hero in Russian Literature is the first book to study the development of the Cossack hero and to identify h...

Judith Deutsch Kornblatt is assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:244 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:November 15, 1992Publisher:University Of Wisconsin Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299135241

ISBN - 13:9780299135249

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 “There are no equivalent books on the topic. Familiar works become more interesting through its lens, unknown works take on a relevance they would not otherwise have, and Kornblatt’s approach to the general problem of literary influence within the Cossack Myth is both original and very well-informed. Slavists and other readers will find it provocative:  a topic that we knew randomly and work by work suddenly emerges as one of those important and organic literary traditions that Russian culture seems to generate so effortlessly.”—Caryl Emerson, Princeton University