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For Humanity's Sake: The Bildungsroman in Russian Culture [Hardcover]

Lina Steiner

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Book Description

Nov. 19 2011

For Humanity's Sake is the first study in English to trace the genealogy of the classic Russian novel, from Pushkin to Tolstoy to Dostoevsky. Lina Steiner demonstrates how these writers' shared concern for individual and national education played a major role in forging a Russian cultural identity.

For Humanity's Sake highlights the role of the critic Apollon Grigor'ev, who was first to formulate the difference between West European and Russian conceptions of national education or Bildung — which he attributed to Russia's special sociopolitical conditions, geographic breadth, and cultural heterogeneity. Steiner also shows how Grigor'ev's cultural vision served as the catalyst for the creative explosion that produced Russia's most famous novels of the 1860s and 1870s.

Positing the classic Russian novel as an inheritor of the Enlightenment's key values — including humanity, self-perfection, and cross-cultural communication — For Humanity's Sake offers a unique view of Russian intellectual history and literature.


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Review

‘Steiner’s extended grasp of ‘dialogism’ on the cultural and psychological level is quite welcome…The overview of the emergence of modern Russian literature and intellectual debate is excellent in its clarity and coherence.’ (Virgil Nemoianu The Review of Metaphysics; vol 65:04:2012 )

Review

‘A work of assiduous scholarship, For Humanity’s Sake makes a significant, original argument about a key aspect of the Russian novelistic tradition that has been very little addressed. Carefully argued and based on a prodigious amount of research, this book demonstrates Lina Steiner’s deeply impressive knowledge of an immense critical literature.’ (Anne Lounsbery, Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University )

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