Radical Sentimentalism or Sentimental Radicalism? A Feminist Approach to Eighteenth-Century Russian Literature

  • Joe Andrew

Abstract

Since its re-emergence as an important cultural and political force in the late 1960s, feminism has presented ‘incontestably the most important challenge’1 in recent years to accepted academic approaches to literary studies. In the course of the last two decades several ‘feminisms’, indeed, have emerged, but each in its own way may be said to have the aim of radically reinterpreting established literary practices, strategies and analyses. The purpose of this present study fits into this tendency, namely, to reinterpret three influential texts from late eighteenth-century Russian literature from a feminist perspective. Central to this enterprise will be the notion that literary texts have an impact on contemporary and later audiences’ perceptions about the perceived world, including such matters as the roles of women in society. This impact occurs irrespective of the author’s intentions. By re-reading the ‘classics’ in this way we achieve two things: we see the image of women in a particular culture, and we derive a new perspective on the world of the work concerned and, consequently, on the effect it had, and has, on women’s roles, expectations and so on.

Keywords

Sine Cataract Kelly Heroine Metaphor 

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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    K. K. Ruthven, Feminist Literary Studies: An Introduction, Cambridge, 1984, p. 7. See this work passim for a general discussion of the developments in feminist literary criticism.Google Scholar
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    The best analyses of the origins and theory of patriarchal hegemony are probably still those of J. S. Mill and Engels: J. S. Mill, On the Subjugation of Women, London, 1869,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Catriona Helen Moncrieff Kelly, Michael Laurence Makin and David George Shepherd 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joe Andrew

There are no affiliations available

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