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Scenarios of Power in Turgenev’s “First Love”: Russian Realism and the Allegory of the State • Ilya Kliger (NYU)

February 7, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

This talk attempts a reading of Ivan Turgenev’s First Love (1860) as a case study within a broader inquiry into the social imaginary of Russian realist fiction.  One way to formulate the central question of the talk is to ask what happens, when on some deep-structural level, an ostensibly realist text turns out to be oriented not to the problematics of civil society (contractarian) aggregation but rather, like tragic drama, to the coercive logics of the state?  Put another way, what happens when a realist narrative, with all of its inherited civil-society paraphernalia (as an ostensible tale of competitive and desiring socialization), enters the force field of a state-oriented social imaginary and becomes warped within it?  With this in mind, Dr.Kliger takes up First Love and reads it as a political allegorization of an ostensibly straightforward coming of age story.


Ilya Kliger is Associate Professor in the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University. He specializes in 19th-century Russian and French novel, theory of the novel, literary theory, and the relationship between philosophy and literature. He is the author of The Narrative Shape of Truth: Veridiction in Modern European Literature (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011).


Copresented by the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures


February 7, 2017
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
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