Virginia Woolf and the Russian Point of View

Hardcover | September 15, 2009

byRoberta Rubenstein

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In 1919, Virginia Woolf wrote, “The most inconclusive remarks upon modern English fiction can hardly avoid some mention of the Russian influence, and if the Russians are mentioned one runs the risk of feeling that to write of any fiction save theirs is a waste of time.” In Virginia Woolf and the Russian Point of View, Roberta Rubenstein examines Woolf’s responses to Russian literature over two decades and across the range of her fiction, essays, and book reviews. She argues that the Russian writers significantly influenced Woolf’s developing Modernist aesthetic and left lasting marks on her theory and practice of fiction. The book includes transcriptions of forty-eight pages of Woolf’s previously unpublished reading notes on Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Turgenev, and an unpublished review in which Chekhov and the Russians figure centrally.

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In 1919, Virginia Woolf wrote, “The most inconclusive remarks upon modern English fiction can hardly avoid some mention of the Russian influence, and if the Russians are mentioned one runs the risk of feeling that to write of any fiction save theirs is a waste of time.” In Virginia Woolf and the Russian Point of View, Roberta Rubenstei...

Roberta Rubenstein is Professor of Literature at American University. She is the author of The Novelistic Vision of Doris Lessing: Breaking the Forms of Consciousness; Boundaries of the Self: Gender, Culture, Fiction; Home Matters: Longing and Belonging, Nostalgia and Mourning in Women’s Fiction; Reminiscences of Leonard Woolf;  and m...

other books by Roberta Rubenstein

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Hardcover|Feb 24 2001

$136.15 online$149.50list price(save 8%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.31 × 5.71 × 0.8 inPublished:September 15, 2009Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230618731

ISBN - 13:9780230618732

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Russophilia * Dostoevsky: “the dim and populous underworld” * Chekhov: "an astonishing sense of freedom” * Tolstoy: “genius in the raw” * Turgenev: “a passion for art” * Conclusion: “everything is the proper stuff of fiction” * APPENDICES * Dostoevsky's The Possessed--holograph reading notes (1928) * “Tchek[h]ov on Pope”--holograph draft (1925) * “Tchekhov on Pope”--typescript * Anna Karenina (I)--holograph reading notes (1909-1914?) * Anna Karenina (II)--holograph reading notes (1926) * War and Peace--holograph reading notes (1928-1929) * Turgenev’s fiction--holograph reading notes (1933)

Editorial Reviews

"Rare are the scholarly studies that combine timeliness, impressive originality,  and acutely precise and detailed analysis with a gently reassuring sense that we are not so much engaged in 'criticism' as being invited to read over a writer's shoulder and catch the very passions and wonder that they might have felt as they read. What a delight then to come at last upon Roberta Rubenstein's Virginia Woolf and the Russian Point of View." - Woolf Studies Annual   "Rubenstein's readings and the discussions are never other than subtle, perceptive, and persuasive." - Virginia Woolf Bulletin "A scrupulous and illuminating exploration of Virginia Woolf's long and deep engagement with early-twentieth-century 'Russophilia,' Rubenstein's new study examines the impact of such major figures as Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Turgenev on both Woolf's critical theory and her aesthetic practice. The book will be welcomed not only by Woolf scholars but, more generally, by students and theorists of modernism and narrative." - Sandra M. Gilbert, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Davis "In this much needed study of the 'imaginative residue of the Russian writers' in Virginia Woolf's thought and work, Rubenstein convincingly shows how reading and re-reading Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Turgenev at crucial times in her career affected Woolf's development and evolution as a modernist. Thorough consideration of cultural forces, close readings of numerous texts both British and Russian, and meticulous research inform this clearly written argument, and as a bonus, Rubenstein invites us into Woolf's workshop by providing well-footnoted transcriptions of all the available reading notes, drafts, and typescripts on the Russians in the archives. What a valuable contribution to Woolf studies!" - Beth Rigel Daugherty, Otterbein College and co-editor of Approaches to Teaching Woolf's To the Lighthouse "Virginia Woolf and the Russian Point of View is distinguished by its clarity, elegance of prose, lack of jargon, and careful analysis of possible Russian influence on Woolf's fiction. Readers also gain an introduction to individual Russian texts through Rubenstein's eyes as she trains her gaze on these texts as if looking over Woolf's shoulder." - Ruth O. Saxton, Professor of English, Mills College