I thought I would send along this review from Choice of a new book on Russian lit. I haven't read it, but it seems like it should interest VN scholars:
Vinitsky, Ilya. Ghostly Paradoxes: Modern Spiritualism and Russian Culture in the Age of Realism. Toronto, 2009. ISBN 9780802099358. $65.00
For many years, D.S. Mirsky's A History of Russian Literature served as the standard critical study of Russian literature. . . . Vinitsky offers a novel, rich, highly sophisticated, and radically new approach to that literature from the perspective of spiritualism, which Vinitsky contends not only was inherent in realism, but also played a vital "interactive" role in the ideological and social life of the realistic age. He seems to suggest that spiritualism is an integral component of human existence, and he argues that the spiritualist quest was an effort to transcend the tyranny of language and everyday reality. He cites Russian symbolists (Valery Bryusov, Alexandr Blok, Andrey Bely, and V. I. Ivanov, in particular) and even the futurists. Symbolism and prerevolutionary futurism were essentially religious movements. One only has to recall the conclusion to Mayakovsky's poem "War and the World." This fine, imaginative, well-researched study makes a major contribution and has few, if any, rivals. --V. D. Barooshian, emeritus, Wells College
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