This section opens with Frederick H. White’s article “Pauline Tarnowsky and the Russian Influence on Cesare Lombroso’s Criminal Woman”. In 1893, Caesar Lombroso and Guglielmo Ferrero co-authored The Criminal Woman, the Prostitute and the Normal Woman, which was an early attempt to classify female criminality. Yet, it was the research of the Russian physician Praskov’ia Tarnovskaia (1848—1910) that informed Lombroso and Ferrero’s study on female deviance. in several works Tarnovskaia provided detailed studies of Russian criminals and prostitutes suggesting that her work had a greater influence on Lombroso and his theories on female criminality than has previously been asserted.
The fifteenth-century Malleus Maleficarum was a key source for the European witch craze. In the article “The Flying Phallus and the Laughing Inquisitor: Penis Theft in the Malleus Maleficarum” Moira Marsh (Smith) examines one extraordinary narrative in this work. It relates how witches steal penises and keep them alive in birds’ nests. When the victim tried to choose a big penis to replace the one he had lost he was told that it belonged to a village priest. Often derided as a sign of the authors’ mental instability, this story expresses several strands of traditional lore, including penis theft in traditional love magic; representations of penis-as-bird in art, slang, and jokelore; and the stereotype of the oversexed priest in anti-clerical jokes. Although the authors believed that penis theft was a genuine psycho-medical phenomenon, the evidence shows that they recognized this story as a bawdy joke and meant their readers to do the same.
Eroticism, Madness, Perversion: Interpretations of Gleb Uspensky’s Short Story Straightened
The article “Jakobson’s Hypothesis, Gleb / Ivanovich and Perversion: Uspensky’s Madness and His Short Story Straightened” focuses on analysis of discourse of G. Uspensky’s mental disorder. Drawing from R. Jakobson’s hypothesis, according to which the writer’s insanity is connected to his tendency to metonymy, Pavel Uspenskij analyzes G. Uspensky’s hallucinations and delusional ideas. Personality dissociation, observed during the period of disease, is explained by a metonymic cognitive pattern, which “split” the writer’s conception of sexuality in a special manner. Having established that writer’s ambiguous attitude towards sexuality is a semantic core of his delusional discourse, Pavel Uspenskij examines a short story Straightened (1885) and proves that its semantic structure is motivated by the attempts to comprehend sexuality in an uncontradictory way.
The Dmitry Tokarev’s article “‘I Looked at Her for a Long, Long Time’: The Erotic and the Ideological in the Visual Metaphors of Gleb Uspensky’s Short Story Straightened” is less concerned with the literary projections of Gleb Uspensky’s personal characteristics (such as his ideological views and mental health problems), and more so with the space of meaning, within which this individual took shape and narrated. At the center of attention is the story Straightened (1885), which is accumulation of experiences of development a new identity, the negative culmination of which is Dissociative Identity Disorder and writer’s block. At the same time, the system of imagery in the story is not looked as potentially schizophrenic; rather, it is more about the tendency toward metaphorization, which was growing in the writer’s work and which was only indirectly dependent on the processes occurring in his psyche.
Eros and Ideology: Meetings at the Edges of the Artistic
Guest Editor: Natalia Kharitonova
The article “Eros, Ares, and Plutos within the System of Gender Interrelations (Using Elfriede Jelinek’s Novels)” by Aleksandr Belobratov is an attempt to define the functions of erotic images in the novels of the Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek (1946) from the 1970s and 1980s. The relationships between men and women are approached through the perspective of the war of the sexes and the union of the sexual with the economic, as relationships of sexual exploitation. In addition, Jelinek’s position as an author asserts the image of women both as an object and a victim of such relationships. The function of stimulation, characteristic of pornographic literature, is lacking in these texts. The writer purposefully disappoints readers’ expectations, introducing a large number of sexual scenes into her works, but depicting them in a satirical manner.
The article’s “Polyphony of Minority Discourses in Minna Wettstein-Adelt’s Novel Are These Women? A Novel about the Third Sex” primary focus is the polyphony of discourses on homosexuality in the Minna Wettstein-Adelt’s German-language novel (1901), primarily the union of the essentialist and constructivist approaches. Aleksandra Eliseeva also examines the mixture of different genres in the work — a trivial romance novel and a feminist treatise. The interaction of the emancipatory attitude of the text and its repressive poetics is of particular interest. The methodological basis for the analysis is gender and queer theory.
During the Spanish Civil War, Luis Cernuda, a friend of García Lorca and a homosexual poet, was on the Republican side. In 1937, the Second International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture was held. A poetic anthology, Poets in Loyalist Spain, which was a display of Republican ideology, was published for the participants. The article “Eros on the Battlefield: Luis Cernuda’s Poems of the Spanish Civil War” by Natalia Kharitonova offers an analysis of two of Cernuda’s antiwar poems included in the anthology by its publishers. “Elegía Española” corresponds to the tradition of “political poetry”, but “Elegía a la luna de España” shows how the homoerotic images characteristic of Cernuda’s poetry lie at the basis of his pacifist and mythopoetic thoughts on eternity.
The article “‘My Tongue is Restless...’ Erotic Songs of Akyn Dzhambul Dzhabayev” by Yulia Kozitskaya is dedicated to erotic works written under the name of Dzhambul Dzhabayev, who was the main akyn (folk poet) of the Soviet Union and a symbol of Stalinist culture. In Dzhambul’s archival documents, a Russian-language song about Voroshilov and Stalin sits alongside relatively frivolous texts. This article looks at all of Dzhambul’s Russian songs containing erotic subtext. The main goal is to find out what a text had to contain in order to be published. The article also traces the history of attitudes toward these texts in Soviet and post-Soviet times.
The Culture of Memory and Cinematography
The Sergey Toymentsev’s article “Authoritarianism with a Human Face: The Soviet Hero in the Post-Soviet Biopic” discusses post-Soviet biopic as a genre with a complex genealogy developed in TV and blockbuster formats. Whereas television series recount the private lives of Soviet politicians, blockbuster biopics focus on the heroism of famous figures from culture, sport, and science in service of a patriotic mission. By humanizing the official portraits of Soviet politicians and celebrating the self-sacrifice of cultural figures in blockbusters, the new Russian biopic attempts to convince the viewer of the effectiveness of the neoliberalfeudal model of power relations, represented by the kind and sensitive autocrat on the one hand and the highly skilled and fully dedicated vassal on the other. This article “Trophy Films Revival: The Actualization of Post-war Experience in Memoirs from the 1980s Through the 2000s” by Kristina Tanis is devoted to the retrospective perception of the phenomenon of “trophy films” in the USSR and post-Soviet Russia. Based upon an analysis of memoirs, fiction, non-fiction, articles in the press, this research aims to answer the question of why there was such an intense interest in the phenomenon of trophy films from the 1980s through the 2000s. The structure of the text follows two main directions, based upon remembrances about two key trophy films: Tarzan and The Woman of My Dreams. As a result, the research analyzes the discourse and interpretations brought to the cultural landscape of the 1980s through the 2000s.
Examining in the detail the internal structure of the first chapters of Lev Tolstoy’s War and Peace (the composition, number and types of characters, “point of view,” the prevailing type of movement, etc.), Viatcheslav Kuritsyn in the article “‘War and Peace’, the Beginning of the Book” comes to the conclusion that changes from chapter to chapter occur in accordance with a complex but strict scheme, and raises the question of what the ideology is behind this development of the structure.
The Pavel Glushakov’s article “Dialogues and Duplications in the Space of the Major Text (Pushkin, Gogol and others)” is about classic works of Russian literature: Eugene Onegin, Dead Souls, The Government Inspector, and Viy. These texts are not examined in isolation, but rather in a wider dialogue with Russian and world literature. Thus, for example, several common lines can be traced that allow to bring together Pushkin’s and Cervantes’s explorations of poetry and ideas. The potential possibility of reading Chichikov’s meeting with Manilov against the backdrop of a description of a meeting between Napoleon and Alexander I given by Denis Davydov in the essay “Tilsit in 1807” is outlined in a note about Gogol’s poem Dead Souls. Drawing up a fragment of The Inspector General, the poetic function of the Khlestakov’s fantasies is shown, and in Stanislavsky’s directors’ notes, a layer of Gogol’s ideas, motifs, and images can be observed.