The Prose of Life: Russian Women Writers from Khrushchev to Putin

Paperback | February 6, 2009

byBenjamin M. Sutcliffe

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Both before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, everyday life and the domestic sphere served as an ideological battleground, simultaneously threatening Stalinist control and challenging traditional Russian gender norms that had been shaken by the Second World War. The Prose of Life examines how six female authors employed images of daily life to depict women’s experience in Russian culture from the 1960s to the present. Byt, a term connoting both the everyday and its many petty problems, is an enduring yet neglected theme in Russian literature: its very ordinariness causes many critics to ignore it. Benjamin Sutcliffe’s study is the first sustained examination of how and why everyday life as a literary and philosophical category catalyzed the development of post-Stalinist Russian women’s prose, particularly since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    A focus on the representation of everyday life in women’s prose reveals that a first generation of female writers (Natal’ia Baranskaia, Irina Grekova) both legitimated and limited their successors (Liudmila Petrushevskaia, Tat’iana Tolstaia, Liudmila Ulitskaia, and Svetlana Vasilenko) in their choice of literary topics. The Prose of Life traces the development, and intriguing ruptures, of recent Russian women’s prose, becoming a must-read for readers interested in Russian literature and gender studies.

2009 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

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From the Publisher

Both before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, everyday life and the domestic sphere served as an ideological battleground, simultaneously threatening Stalinist control and challenging traditional Russian gender norms that had been shaken by the Second World War. The Prose of Life examines how six female authors employed image...

Benjamin M. Sutcliffe is assistant professor of Russian at Miami University, Ohio.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:February 6, 2009Publisher:University of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299232042

ISBN - 13:9780299232047

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       

Introduction: Engendering Byt in Soviet Culture       
1. Documenting Women's Byt During the Thaw and Stagnation: Natal'ia Baranskaia and I. Grekova       
2. Perestroika and the Emergence of Women's Prose: Liudmila Petrushevskaia, Tat'iana Tolstaia, and Women's Anthologies       
3. The Artistry of Everyday Life: Liudmila Ulitskaia, Svetlana Vasilenko, and Post-Soviet Women's Anthologies       
Conclusion: Cultural Divides and the Future of Women's Prose       

Notes       
Bibliography       
Index       

Editorial Reviews

“A significant contribution to Slavic women’s studies. Sutcliffe’s nuanced chronological overview is unmatched for this topic, and his excellent close readings yield many valuable insights.”—Natasha Kolchevska, University of New Mexico